Dear Professor Dawkins,
I am a 19-year-old African-American living in the state of Maryland. I was a Baptist Christian along with my mother and grandmother. My mother, her childhood friend, and I would attend church every Sunday when I was a toddler. My mother hasn't gone ot church since I was approximately 8 years old. but she holds a strong belief in God. When I was 14, I asked my mom why she hasn't gone back to church. She responded, “You don't need to go to church to believe in God.” That stuck with me. In my mind, I was wondering if she had any doubts about her belief (she doesn't; I asked). Well in 2008, I was still in high school and I saw you on Real Time with Bill Maher, my favorite show. Bill promoted your book, “The God Delusion.” On Tuesday, I went ot my library to check out the book, took it to school, and read it between lessons. The students and most of the educators were all staring at me because I was reading soemthing that ewas “not of their culture”. However, one of my teachers (who's Episcopalian), congratulated me on reading it becasue eh thought it was good to get both sides of each story.
By Chapter 6, I started to actually question religion. At one time, the teacher snatched the book out of my hand while I was reading and I never got into the classroom (FYI it was on ly your book that she confiscated. Many times I walked in reading a book; she never took those from me.) At this time, I had to take the book back to the library. I bought the book a year later. (My mother wouldn't purchase it for me. I saved up my own monet to buy it.)
I finished up a chapter of the book at home. At that time, my grandmother came to my room on her wat to the bathroom and asked what I was reading. I told her and she asked why were you reading it. I explained my reasons and told her that I was an atheist. She then told me that I shouldn't be becasue I was brouhg up to believe in God. then she warned me that I sshouldn't tell people about that because people are not giong to like it and I'm likely to be attacked for it. I was teased about it when I was in school, but I wasn't attacked physically. I am not afraid to tell someone that I'm a non-believer. Just the other day, I was with my grandmother at the hospital reading your book, and someone asked me what the book was about. I told her and elderly woman intentionally started a conversation with someone about some holy scriptures. My guess was she was trying to faze me, but I just kept on reading.
I delved myself into research about atheism and freethinking. I also searched for groups for agnostics, atheists, and freethinkers. I was surprized by the nnumber of groups there are for this category. I am currently a memeber fo thr Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Mr. Dawkins, I'm indebted to you for constructing this book. You give hard facts and explanations onto why it's okay to not believe in something that doesn't give evidence of their existance. Thank you very much. I just bought your most recent book, The Greatest Show on earth, and I look forward for more of them.
From Baltimore, Maryland, USA