Dear Professor Dawkins,
I cannot express in words the profound influence you have had on myself and many others. I was raised Christian conservative and always believed that the word “atheist” was synonymous with “evil.” After taking a few steps back and observing my beliefs from a neutral point of view, I concluded that, actually, the word “faith” is indeed synonymous with “ignorance.” After a year or so I finally decided to inform my devout parents of my loss of ignorance. Currently, I’m constantly being told that I’m the lost one, or I’m the one who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Needless to say, I’ve adopted your policy regarding debates with YEC’s. I’m unable to successfully argue with people who value faith over evidence (or knowledge). Despite my perpetual frustration, I don’t have to hide my beliefs anymore, which is a great weight taken off my shoulders. At first I feared death after I stopped believing in the afterlife. Now, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have this life and certainly wouldn’t insist on having a second. My fear of death was primarily based on dying before I had all the answers. However, I now realize again that science is all about constantly learning and having all the answers would make it incredibly boring. I suppose dying while knowing so little could be classified as almost a beautiful tragedy. I am currently reading all of your books and am absolutely intrigued by your views on evolution. So intrigued, as a matter of fact, that you’ve inspired me to return to college (after a year off) and become a science major (and yes, I’m leaning toward biology). Thank you so very much for everything that you have done and for opening the eyes of myself and many others to the beauty of science and rationality.