Dear Dr. Dawkins,
This is my story:
I went to catholic school in South America, which i like to believe, pushed me into the atheist i now am, in part, thanks to your God Delusion. I started doubting the catholic teachings at age 11, when my religion teacher forced us to go to church on Sundays and write up a summary of the sermon; or else, our grades would suffer. At age 11, it did not make sense to me that i was being forced to love god and visit god’s house for my grades. After that, it all went downhill.
During my adolescence i called myself an agnostic. Now in my mid 30s and after reading and taking some philosophy of religion classes, i find that for the most part, my beliefs haven’t changed: the gods that all religions describe does not exist. Yet if there is a force or energy or life-giver who at some point had something to do with life and either died, left or is completely powerless or indifferent, why not? Maybe.
This is why i always called myself an agnostic because i cannot say with 100% certainty that there are no gods. Your book, however, helped me define this. You say that complete disbelief in gods takes faith. And that is the leap of faith that i cannot and have never taken. You, however, define or describe different levels of atheism and this helped me so much. I do not believe in the existence of gods as described by all religions. I live my life as if there are no gods. I do not care if other indifferent “gods/nature/forces” exist. I am an atheist.
I bought 3 copies of your God Delusion and gave them all away. I wanted to spread your knowledge because it helped me on what i think, was my last step towards finally declaring myself an atheist.
Thank you Dr. Dawkins. I cannot wait to have the opportunity to see you speak in person. Please come to California again soon.