Dear Professor Dawkins,
While I would like to give a wondrous story of my conversion to atheism – to invoke images of miraculous revelation not unlike divine intervention – I cannot. The fact of the matter is that my realization into atheism was a gradual one. Unfortunately, my circumstances and upbringing did create an environment that was not hospitable, and I was quite aware of this. From the age of 10 or 11, I essentially kept my lack of belief a secret as I worked out the specifics for myself. Fortunately, I was never in a situation where there was any amount of oppression or intolerance. I am thankful that my parents, while holding to their religious beliefs, allowed a certain degree of personal investigation and the growth my own intellect.
Fast forward to the present. I am currently in my final year of undergraduate studies. I will soon have degrees in History and Professional Writing, with additional studies in Religious Studies. As I think on my inevitable continued education and plans of future writing and research, I cannot begin to express the profound influence your work has had in my life. It is uplifting and encouraging to see intellectuals such as yourself rise to prominence in society and prove that, in varying degrees, that people actually do listen to us!
I will keep this brief. To be able to read works such as yours in my lifetime has given me a strong desire to do the same in my own disciplines – History, Anthropology, etc. The evidences and arguments are there; someone simply need write it. As I said, this is not so much a letter of conversion insomuch as one of thanks. You, among others, have given me the courage to express my (our) views and to stand up against the theocratic stranglehold on our social, educational and political institutions. You are greatly admired, Mr. Dawkins, and sufficed to say you have encouraged many people to stand up for their lack of belief, even on the other side of the pond. I should consider it a great honor to meet you one day, and will continue to avidly read your work.
North Carolina, USA