Dear Prof Dawkins,
I clearly remember the first time I ever heard of you. It was after school, as I was hanging out in my dad's classroom watching The Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
I had never been very religious; my parents took me to church and all that, but I don't think I ever believed in God, a higher power of any kind, or any belief systems. That episode of the Colbert Report was the one where you were on your tour promoting The God Delusion. I recall being slightly intrigued by what you were arguing, and I definitely remember the shininess of your book (to which I still refer, jokingly, as The Shiny Book). Unfortunately I completely forgot about it.
Luckily, high school seemed to be the time where everyone was rebelling against the conformity of middle school and finding their own identity. I can't remember when it was, but sometime during the summer after freshman year I came across your book at the library, and checked it out. Before reading your book, I wouldn't have described myself as an atheist, but probably because I had no idea what atheists were. I recognized myself as atheist after finishing your book. My parents were, and still are, okay with me being an atheist, but my dad warned me to not tell my disbelief to the wrong people.
I didn't really listen to him. I'm proud of my disbelief, and show it all over my Facebook and other online sites. I also love debating religion and faith. I even helped my friend come out as an atheist. He was brought up in a very religious household, but was talking about being agnostic or not really sure. I loaned him my copy of The God Delusion(or The Shiny Book, to be discreet), and he was able to solidify his belief as an atheist.
I am very thankful for how you helped me and countless others deal with their lack of faith.