Dear Professor Dawkins,
I just want to thank you for helping me finally realize that it is most certainly alright to be an atheist. I was actually once a believer (protestant), but for my whole life there has been a small voice in the back of my head saying that maybe the bible is not true and maybe there is no god. Seems I ought to have listened to it earlier on, but fortunately I am quite young, so hopefully there is no harm done.
I haven’t had the pleasure yet to read any of your books, but since I devour books, I think that I will soon. It was actually “The Virus of Faith” and your other documentaries that finally gave me the courage to say out loud: “I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in a god.” But after voicing that thought, I got mad. Mad at the school, society and system, who so decidedly screwed me over and tried to force feed me propaganda and lies. For most of my teachers I have been a true pest. I was the pupil who always asked the question “Why?!”, not being content with the answer “Well, that’s just the way it is.” I think that my inquisitive mind was the only thing that saved me from ever forming a lasting attachment to religion. My religion/psychology teacher in high school could not stand my guts. She hated the fact that I was questioning everything she said, not willing to take to her ideas. On the other hand there was a handful of teachers, who after the initial shock of having a student who actually wanted to know more, bothered to explain why certain things worked as they did. But if I had not read as many books on my own, I think I still would be a Christian, if not by heart, at least by habit. One major turning point for me was reading Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” in junior high, I think that is when I finally started to decently question the concept of religion.
Children, and what religion is doing to their minds, has been a recurring theme in your documentaries. I hope that you will feel glad when I tell you that I, as a most likely candidate to become a mother in a couple of years or so, will not let my children suffer what I went through in school. I will not baptise them, I will not let them partake in the classes we here in Finland simply call “Religion”, and will encourage them to question, think for themselves and use the latest scientific facts as their basis for knowledge, not a corrupt system invented by men. So, you have not only converted me, because I truly hope that I can foster my offspring to not convert to any religion when they turn 18.
Please keep up the good work, people need to know the truth. I think you provide courage, the last puzzle piece for people like me.