Dear Professor Dawkins,
I truly thank you for your book. You saved countless hours, if not days from prayer and worship to my imagination. Now I'm a devout follower of reasoning, and maybe a little bit of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
I began questioning religion from the beginning of High School. I was a devout Christian. I was raised religiously by my parents and went to Christian school, where anything but Christian things happened. I was bullied and treated badly by every student in the school and when my parents complained to the teachers, they began suspending students without asking why they treated me bad. The followed the Good book, which basically told them that Crime deserves punishment. This made problems only worse.
Then when I went to church, I'd be happy and come home and not feel happy anymore. I used to ask God to make me be happy all the time, and I was happy until I performed a sin, such as admiring a beautiful girl in a bikini. Then I'd pray and ask God to help me not look at them, however it never worked. I still admired beautiful women, but I felt a guilt, because God didn't approve of it. And in church, everyone was happy but at the same time were doing the same things the “children of the world” were doing.
This was my life till college. I went to CUNY City College in NY and my friend went to Columbia. Somehow we got in touch with each other again, and he asked me a simple question “How God know everything and still give you free will?” And then he gave me “Letter to a Christian Nation” and told me about “The God Delusion”. I read “Letter to a Christian Nation” but didn't read it seriously, then since he mentioned “The God Delusion”, I downloaded it from Torrents online (sorry, it was illegal, but now I deleted it and have your book in soft cover, and autographed by you when you came to NY on 3.15.08). I listened to it once, and I got some valid points. Then I listened to it again and it all fell into place. God is, at best, a delusion. Then I bought “Letter to a Christian Nation” and it showed me more of the flaws with my religion. When I read “The God Delusion”, I was convinced that there is no God, and with “Letter to a Christian Nation”, I got even more reasons.
I have your book but it is hidden deep inside my clothes drawer along with some other Atheistic books. If my dad sees them, He'd rip them. He's come to beat me a few times due to my “beliefs”. It is funny how the religious are the violent ones, yet most of the atheists are the true pacifists.
I thank you. I truly do. However, I do wish there was a God, and there is an afterlife. That way, I can meet great minds like you and many others like you again. I wish you the best! Once again, I Thank You!
(Another Proud Atheist in NY)