I've often heard you say that you don't know quite how many hardcore Christians you've been able to convert with your book. Let me tell you, I'm one of them.
I was a very firm believer, and if you asked me 2 years ago, I would have said that I was “certain” that God existed. However, once in university, things began to change. In the second year of my physics degree I needed to choose an Arts option, and I opted for a course entitled “Science and Religion: Christian Perspectives”, taught by Dr. Denis Lamoureux. I've heard you respond to several of his remarks, but I don't know if you'll recognize him immediately.
The course attempted to reconcile the conflict between science and religion, mainly my encouraging a non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11. Lamoureux presented many elegant arguments, and for the first time in my life, I was applying rational thought to my religious beliefs. Near the end of my course, I realized that although one could do a decent job of making science and religion superficially compatible, it still presented no reason to believe in God in the first place.
Lamoureux mentioned you several times throughout the course, but I took little notice at first. Near the end of the year, I tracked down “The God Delusion” and started reading. By the end of the second chapter, I had acquired a serious scepticism about God's existence. I later came across Sam Harris' “Letter to Christian Nation”, and despite being Canadian, it did the trick. As I finished reading your book, the world began to make so much more sense without God, and I had completely abandoned the idea (much to my parents chagrin) by the end.
I have never been happier. In fact, I no longer need antidepressants, if you need a good case to exemplify the very real unhealthiness of religious belief – and I wasn't even a member of a church with emphasized guilt; I was a Protestant! I am genuinely baffled when I hear people say that they would be hopeless without religion. I've been able to come out of the closet, without fear of retribution from Nazareth, and thoughtfully contemplate social issues, without referencing the instruction manual for misery (still found in every hotel room, mind you).
I will forever be thankful that you wrote “The God Delusion”. In fact, I read a couple of the funnier quotes (ie. the first sentences of chapter 2) to a friend living across the hall from me in my university dormitory, and he had purchased his own copy within a week. I'm glad to say that he is now a recovering Catholic! Your sense of humour really helps – much more than you may know.
Thank you for changing my life forever.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada