Dear Professor Dawkins,
I cannot thank you enough for being the straw that broke my religious faith's back. Your fantastic book, “The God Delusion”, demolished whatever apprehension I had left in identifying myself as an atheist. At the time of purchasing and reading your book, I had already begun entertaining my doubts about Christianity and considered myself agnostic to God's existence. But, I only called myself an agnostic because the word “atheist” seemed to have a negative connotation; criticized by both agnostics and believers–agnostics accusing atheists of being just as irrational as believers, by affirming there is no god, when god's existence can be neither proven nor disproven, and believers with essentially maintaining the same line of argument, but usually adding that atheists were immoral and doomed to hell. Since neither reproof sat well with me, I thought adopting the “fence-sitter” position was more respectable (also, more innocuous and, therefore, more acceptable to my Christian friends).
But your anecdote about being agnostic with respect to fairies living at the bottom of a garden, helped me realize that expressing disbelief in god is no more irrational or unjustified than expressing disbelief in other mythical creatures, such as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and unicorns. It became clear to me; their argument that atheism is just as irrational and based on faith as theism, because god cannot be disproven, is extremely weak, in that it can be used to encompass and defend any imaginative notion to the point of absurdity.
I would also like to thank you immensely for your brilliant, easy-to-understand, Christmas lecture, “Growing Up in the Universe”. I can't tell you how delighted I am to see that you've made it available on DVD. It's this series that helped me understand the theory of Evolution, and how simple it actually is. I'm definitely buying myself a copy and sharing it with my Christian friends. If this doesn't help them understand and accept Evolution, then I'm afraid they might be hopeless.
Although there is much more to my journey from believer to atheist, I thought it better to keep it relevant as to what YOU, Richard Dawkins, did to contribute to my current stance–which was help me embrace the term “atheist, and help me to understand Evolution. I also get into debates with my friends, and use many of the arguments in “The God Delusion” to help drive my points across. So far, I've gotten one friend to de-convert. Unfortunately, my family isn't as open-minded, so I have to keep up the facade for them…at least until I'm out of the house.
Keep up the good work.