Hello Mr. Dawkins, and first of all THANK YOU for the knowledge that you fearlessly give to the world. It is needed.
I was not raised in an overly religious home, though my mom does consider herself a christian, which goads me to no end, because she is a smart and, for the most part, rational woman. When I was very little I remember going to church now and again. I was put in bible school for a time, then attended a program at a local church called Monday Fun-day between the ages of around seven until about 11. I never really thought about a gods existence though, or questioned the pastors. It was boring to study the bible, and I eventually quit attending, but not until after I received my very own bible which I now use for merciless humor and amazement. The first time I realized that people got riled up about religion was when we were studying evolution in a science class when I was a sophomore in high school. Our teacher scheduled a debate where we took the sides of Creation vs. Evolution. I took the stance on evolution, despite my earlier upbringing in pseudo-christianity. At the point of the debate I had soaked up a whole lot of scientific fact versus religious myth and I helped to silence the arguments of young creationists in the debate, which was great, and hopefully eye-opening to some of them. As I got older I toyed with the ideas of alternative religions and beliefs and spiritualities, but it was all just too hokey, with few to no facts.
I labeled myself an agnostic for many of the same reasons your friend Douglas Adams labeled himself one. I just didn’t have enough to go on to swing one way or the other. And so, much like Adams, I thought and I researched and I learned. And one day I went to the book store, maybe about a year and a half ago. I was 23, really just looking for some good reading, when I saw The God Delusion. I had not heard of you or your work, but upon reading the reviews in the front cover, and the back of the book, I bought it instantly. Since then, that one book has helped to bolster me in my own ‘faith’ that this earth is our only ‘creator,’ as well as given me a louder voice to say it with. I have told many, many people about you and your books since then, and I hope that at least one of them has taken the time to open their own eyes through your work. I am a proud, strong and vibrant young athiest. I am also raising my daughter in the same fashion, because I believe letting a youngster fall victim to religion is a terrible thing to do when it is perfectly within my reach to teach her the truth.
Again, thank you.