Dear Professor Dawkins,
It would perhaps sound a bit disingenuous if I were to outright thank you for helping me abandon evangelical Christianity. I have lost quite a bit (perhaps everything) by abandoning it, and I have not really found sense or solace in strict materialism or atheism (I am now an agnostic, albeit a troubled one). However, I owe you a letter of praise and gratitude simply because you were right to write as you wrote. You were right when you proclaimed that Christianity is indefensible, and if it weren’t for you, things might have dragged on until it was too late to emotionally recover from the crisis that would inevitably have happened to me.
I spent all this time thinking that you were an evil, malicious, closed-minded and spiteful man. When I finally watched and read some of your material, however, I discovered that you were actually quite a pleasant and reasonable man. I also quite enjoy your accent.
I am a scientifically-minded person, having studied engineering, and I came to the independent conclusion that evolution was true before reading your work. I was one of those Christians who tried to hold on to the core aspects of the faith while having the luxury of agreeing with the anti-creationist, anti-fundamentalist, anti-dogmatic, anti-authoritarian comments made by people such as yourself. But when you strip a lot of those things away, I think, there is not actually as much left as many Christians would like to think. I am now convinced that there is nothing left at all. People like Francis Collins (I often lamented that “they” got you, and “we” got a far less flashy character), in my opinion, are not defending Christianity, but something rather different.
I distinctly remember picking up “the God Delusion,” thinking that there couldn’t possibly be anything compelling in it. However, it wasn’t your arguments against the existence of God that unsettled me, nor was it the novelty of any of the other statements you made. Rather, it was the simple the fact that I read through a whole book called “the God Delusion” without being able to disagree with much of anything you said about Christianity. It was like seeing my own reflection for the first time. If I agreed with so many things you said, then I probably agreed with a few of your final conclusions as well. This was a turning point–I knew, deep down, that there was no going back.
I used to have nightmares (metaphorically speaking) of falling apart and crossing the line over to “Dawkins and his minions.” But the fact of the matter is that it’s evangelical Christians who make minions. You just make people think for themselves.