Dear Professor Dawkins,
As a child I was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist Christian. After moving across the state, my parents chose not to attend the local churches. It was probably one of the best choices they could have made for my brother and I. I suppose I was also lucky to have been raised SDA, because when talking to my school mates, they could never answer why they worshiped on Sunday instead of Saturday, which was the 7th day of the week, and thus the day that God rested and demanded your worship. So, while in high school, I struggled with my religious thoughts, and I prayed to god and jesus and anyone else that would listen. I also was suffering from what I would later find out to be misdiagnosed bipolar II, and so I was depressed, suicidal, or manic. This, and the thinly veiled bigotry and hatred that I saw in the christian churches, led me away from christianity and into the arms of paganism.
Now, as a pagan, I believed in god. Actually, it meant that I had to believe in a LOT of gods, not only the ones I felt like worshiping, but also any that I didn’t worship, because as a pagan, you need to be super politically correct. If I insult your god, and your god is really just a bastardized version of my god, then I’m insulting my god. And I suppose I’ve been looking for something since I was a young child. I remember having an imaginary friend, but I knew, even while I was talking to it and playing, that it wasn’t real. I couldn’t really see it, and I certainly couldn’t hear it talk back to me. Until I got older.
A few years ago, that misdiagnosed bipolar II flared up, and sent me into some very bad places mentally. I was literally hearing voices and trying to track them down and find where they were coming from. But they were only in my head. After being diagnosed correctly, I did a lot of reading. On biology, on evolution, on religion, anything that could tell me why I am the way I am. And I have come to the conclusion that there is no god, or gods, or ideas, that deserve any type of blind worship. I don’t believe in god the same way I don’t believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, or the easter bunny.
While some people may hear God talking to them, I know for a fact that the voices that I hear are only in MY head. And that’s where I keep them.
I would like to thank you for your books, lectures, and debates. They’ve helped me to overcome the fear of “coming out” as a non-believer, an atheist, as an adult who grew up and left her childhood security blanket behind. Thank you again.