Dear Professor Dawkins,
A couple of months ago I purchased your book on a whim. I had been curious about it for a while, but didn’t dare purchase it. I’ve never been particularly religious, and live in a liberal collegiate town. However, I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and later went to a Christian high school in Florida. Simply not being an evangelical has always put me in the slim minority. So although I don’t go to church and am rather put off by the sentiments of organized religion, "atheism" still seemed a dirty word.
I guess I’ve been conditioned by the societies I grew up in, despite myself. So when I picked up your book in Borders for the first time, I felt like I was doing something illicit, naughty, sinful. My eyes darted around half expecting shocked onlookers to meet my gaze. Of course no one gave two cents what I was doing. (I suppose most people look for scandal and debauchery someplace other than amongst browsers of the nonfiction section.) Anyway, just skimming through the introduction, I was hooked. I especially related to your discussion on Einsteinian "religion". Your words seemed to crystallize the feelings I’ve always had about the wonder of the physical world, and my distaste for those who take it for granted searching for some beyond and missing the miracle happening in front of their face. Your writing has persuaded me to see the courageousness in atheism, of embracing the awe and wonder of material reality rather than retreating to the dumb comfort of some (rather lame by comparison) fairy tales.
So thank you for encouraging me to stand up for my convictions, and to continue to do my part to understand the scientific story of the world and ourselves, as it unfolds before us. We should all be so enraptured with the search for truth.
(A philosophy & fine arts student doing her part to understand the truth)