I am a 19 year old from Brooklyn, NY but I currently live in Florida and I am now officially converted. I was as a child very religious, and never entertained the idea of becoming atheist. I went to Catholic school for 12 years, but I must admit although I did take religion classes, I was never taught the nonsense that is creationism. I honestly remember the first time I began to doubt. I was 15 years old and I learned of the big bang, which made me wonder about the story of Adam and Eve and the whole “earth was made in six days and god rested on the seventh day”. Then I leaned of evolution which completely blew my mind! How could we have evolved?Did god not create humans?. Almost every single memorable story I knew in the bible had contradictions to scientific facts, after looking further into my religion I realized(due to things like Darwin's law of evolution) that Christianity was probably false.
But I was still a reluctant believer, because I was scared. If god does exist and he sees me doubt my religion I might end up in hell. I was even more worried about my family not respecting me for being an atheist. For me it was safer to believe then to look at fact. That all changed about a year ago as I started to take a big interest into politics. The primaries had just ended and the main elections were starting. (at this point I was unsure what party I wanted to belong to). I knew I disliked bush and his policies, but the worst thing he ever did was use god as a scapegoat for his failures.
Then I realized I cannot stay idle, because although it is safer to stand by and not say anything, I know now that it is my obligation as an intelligent human being to spread truth among ignorance. Religion is dangerous, especially when it is in the hands of idiots, and especially when those idiots are the ones in charge. I know now Richard, thanks to people like you, Bill Maher, Christopher Hitchens, and others that it is not wrong to look at religion in a realistic view and judge it accordingly, although I have not read your book yet it is people like you who give me the strength to be an atheist. Thank you Richard Dawkins, for helping me see the world clearly, Keep fighting the good fight.