I was raised in an extremely religious household. And by religious, I mean laying on hands, speaking in tongues religious. In one denomination or another I have experienced and indeed relished the christian influence on my life. But no longer. For several years, I existed as a fence sitting agnostic. I was happy to debate theology with my father who is a vehement christian but I never stated that most obvious truth; god (and i purposely do not capitalize the name) most probably does not exist. Up until reading your wonderful work upon the subject, and listening to your speeches, I was fearful. Fearful of some omnipresent, jealous, petty, old man in the clouds damning me for my insolence. But when I listened to your wonderful “call to arms” speech at T.E.D., I grew bolder. The day I made the decision to pick up a copy of your exquisite and robust work “The God Delusion” was a markedly uncharacteristic step on my part. Before this time I was content to allow the lunacy of religion pervade my thoughts. Even in my would-be denial of God, flipping through a few pages of your work seemed tantamount to sacrilege. But in the spirit of all that is worth preserving in humanity, I pressed on, even though I felt that somehow I was spitting in the invisible bearded man's eye.
I was introduced to the wonder of natural selection as I have never seen it before. In my previous naivete I perceived natural selection, as I imagine many creationists do, as random chance. I was not intellectually curious enough to probe deeper into Darwin's astounding conclusions to realize that, as Einstein is so often inappropriately quoted by creationists as saying, that “God does not play dice”. By God, Einstein (as you well know) is referring to the physicist conception of god: that inextricable yet (currently) inexplicable part of our world, beyond the material that we do not fully understand. Natural selection is not chance, it is the systematic adoption of the most efficient system, in terms of overall species growth. I used to view evolution as merely a combination of blind luck and genetic efficiency. And though my knowledge on the subject is rather limited, I wish to expand my horizons and knowledge base, rather than keeping my “little god” as Carl Sagan would say.
The specter of “faith” and its so called virtues used to plague my mind with their obvious obsolescence. All of my family is religious (christian) and I had always been indoctrinated to feel some kind of uncanny respect for those who think some brutal sexist watches their every move. After reading your book, I lost my fear. The “sanctity” of religion no longer exists in my mind. I have given up the fallacy of a harmless religion. While I am a vociferous proponent of freedom of speech, I will no longer allow superstitious dogma to be shoved down my throat. I will no longer walk “among these dark satanic mills” in fear of the liberation and vindication that knowledge brings. I write to you, Mr. Dawkins to congrulate you. I congrudaulate you on your bravery. I congradualate you on behalf of we many fence sitters, fearful of reprisals in society. Your bravery in spite of overwhelming oppossition has inspired in me a kind of boldness that no god can obliterate.
A thankful and loving fan,
International Politics and East Asian Studies