Recently I decided to finally investigate the issue of religion, and my position concerning religious belief as a whole. I was raised in a fundamentalist, bible-thumping home in the south-eastern region of the United States. I am sure you cringed at that last sentence, but you will be happy to know I have delivered myself from the ignorant religious views I was raised to believe. My grandfather was actually a Southern-Baptist minister for 50 years, so Agnostic/Atheist ideals were truly in for an uphill climb when it came to me being convinced that my family and I were all wrong. They were, and I was, and I will be trying to convince them of this fact for the rest of my life I'm sure. I have even put myself at odds with my wife (she cried at the thought of me going to hell when I told her of my enlightenment), and I state all this simply to fortify the decimating strength of being confronted with actual truth. The truth in your book “The God Delusion” was life-altering for me, and I just wanted to say thanks. I have started shoring up my intellectual defenses against what I know will be an onslaught of horror and anger coming from my family and wife, but I am now armed with the truth which is much more reassuring than the armor of lies I had embraced for so long. I think every intelligent adult goes through a point somewhere between 20 and 35 years old when they question their belief system, and my choice became clear. I could either bow my head and live a lie for the rest of my life, or I could accept the challenges that living a truthful, dogma-free, intellectually strong life would demand. In this area of the country especially, one is judged by the church to which he/she belongs. Mr. Dawkins, your work has given me the strength to step out and be who I want to be without being scared of the social persecution I will surely endure. Once again, THANK YOU SIR.
Mark Steven Anderson II