Dear Mr. Dawkins,
The earliest I can recall being skeptical of the Roman Catholic faith I was raised in is around 4 or 5 years of age. It's just one incident I remember fairly distinctly and only in hindsight could I realize what my little mind was actually doing. I was laying in bed thinking myself to sleep when I suddenly got the urge to think, “F*ck Jesus, f*ck Jesus, f*ck Jesus, f*ck Jesus.” (I'm pretty sure f*ck was a recent addition to my vocabulary and it had been made clear to me during a family game of Uno that it was the worst thing to have ever come out of my mouth. “F*ck Jesus” could very well have been my first grammatically correct use of the word.) I didn't say the words out loud, just thought them. Then I proceeded to jump out of bed to go confess to my dad, bawling my eyes out. My dad basically explained to me that nothing happens when you say “f*ck Jesus” over and over in your head. I suppose the fact that I was saying “f*ck Jesus” rather than “f*ck you” suggests I was a skeptic from the get go.
The strange part is I kept “believing” for another 16 years or so, and perhaps even stranger yet what the ease in which that final “click” came. I came during a discussion about God with a friend. It was when he articulately proclaimed “… like Mosses parting the Red Sea, that shit didn't happen. That shit didn't happen. It just didn't.” I thought, 'of course it didn't f*ckin' happen.' And that was it. I'd never heard anyone just say it so frankly and the second I did I realized I had known it my whole life. If I had even just seen a copy of The God Delusion or a book like it on someone's coffee table, or laying around at school, a quick peruse through it would have snapped me out of my religious conformity. In my small town I literally never had someone to say “that didn't happen.”
Thank you for the fantastic books and thank you for helping inspire a community I can be a part of.