Dear Prof. Dawkins,
I want to express my thanks to you.
Although I was raised Christian, I consider myself lucky that my family was very lax about it. The sermons, the singing, the Sunday School classes… none of it really had a major impact on my mind, I neither believed nor disbelieved. I treated church the same way a bored student does with school, staring out the window and wishing I could be outside playing instead.
In my later teens, I came to the realization that I honestly didn't believe any of what was preached and talked about. Although I still had to provide transportation for my grandmother, I quietly separated myself from the services, choosing instead to stay in an empty classroom and pass the time reading or listening to music.
While I no longer believed, I remained neutral to the entire question of religion and God. In time, whenever someone asked, I would call myself Agnostic, more as way of avoiding any further discussion on an uncomfortable subject. I suppose I continued to kindle a belief in the possibility of God due to my health. Born with a congenital heart defect, and having undergone several major operations in my short lifetime, I have always been more keenly aware of my own fragility and mortality. I can admit now, that it was out of fear of death and pain (a feeling that I am intimately acquainted with) that I did not give up on God entirely.
I have always held an interest in science, helped by the fact that my father switched to being a science teacher. Without much religious interference at home, and with encouragement from intelligent and educated parents, I credit my upbringing with providing the will and desire to learn. When I became aware of the encroachment of religion into politics and science, I took a trip to the bookstore to arm myself with knowledge, and found The God Delusion.
Thanks to your book (as well as Letter to a Christian Nation and The Four Horseman video) I can say without hesitation now that I am an Atheist, and proud of it. Your writing made so much sense, and led me to think in ways, and come to realizations, I had never managed before. I share your passion for reason and science in the face of thought-destroying, blind faith, and will do my best to educate those I come in contact with.
I have now bought The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Unweaving the Rainbow, and The Ancestor's Tale, and look forward to savoring each page.