Dear Mr. Dawkins,
I have just read *The God Delusion* and I would like to congratulate you for this masterpiece. Why did it take me so long to get around to reading it, you might wonder? Well, I’m not sure I have a good answer other than to say it has taken until now to feel truly ready to free myself from my religious upbringing. Your book has provided an avenue of reason and knowledge that has finally clarified my thinking on what has been a 20 year journey from regular church going christian to what I would term as emancipated humanist.
Even as a young boy, I had wondered why my religion in particular (catholicism) was the true and only path to god. Why were hindus and muslims and protestants wrong? The answers I received from my parents, who are by the way well educated and progressive people in most ways, were so unsatisfactory as to be forgettable. Likewise, the rather well-intentioned priests who asked us to pray for the conversion of the less fortunate non-catholics and the success of foreign missionary works, always left me guessing why other religions existed at all.
So it was, until I took a degree in Geology and learnt of Darwinism, evolution, geologic time and so on. It was the power of education and an inquisitive mind that led me down the road to where I am today. Your book has helped to liberate me intellectually and that feels wonderful. My faith, for want of a better word, is now in humanity and reason alone. I have realised that we do not need the lens of religion to enable our more altruistic tendencies.
I live in the United States now and see that this country, and others that have their politics and laws infected with religion, have a frightening potential for harm, exclusion, fanaticism, ignorance, etc… There is no time for complacency when these beliefs are so entrenched and ‘sacred’ to so many. I am glad that you have advanced the debate to a place of reason. I know you have had to endure many slings and arrows along the way and I admire your bravery for it.