Dear Dr Dawkins,
As I write this up, my large and old orange tabby has decided to help (hinder?) my writing to you. I suppose it is only suitable, he being a gem of life and nature and I writing to another such gem. This letter, which I do hope you at least give a cursory glance, is something that has been abstractly bouncing around my mind for a while. All in all, this will be a bit of a conversion story of myself and my circle of friends, as well as a one of praise, awe, and life changing ideas.
I did not grow up in the scarily religious sort of family; my mother didn’t care to think of religion and my father is Catholic, though not of a frightening sort. However, I got a bit of an inside view having gone to a Catholic private school for a few years, thankfully nothing of the traumatizing sort. I was always humanly (and religiously) oblivious to the point I would literally run off with herds of deer or ducks. Despite lacking care for what people thought, I have always had a deep abiding passion for caring for all people and creatures, something that I suppose helped prevent any religious thoughts from sinking in more than superficially.
As I grew up my Catholic trappings fell away and I met some dear friends, all of us having unique but similar issues with religion. Two had gone through Catholic school as well, one as a safety measure against Cleveland’s public school system and one as a serious attempt to indoctrinate her. My last, and dearest, friend was raised to be Baptist, screaming in tongues, white supremacist, anti-tolerant. What with this diverse range of backgrounds, we all have formed a tightly knit group of support and antitheism, of course with many thanks to you and fellows like you (Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley, Bill Maher, etc.)
Very recently I would have considered myself uncaring towards anything religious, following the old ‘live and let live’ way of life. Something that seriously sparked a fire of disgust was after Obama was officially elected (yes!), my choir director dressed all sombre black and she said it was a ‘Funeral for America’. Woah. Besides immediately marking her off as insane, I attributed this madness to her Evangelical Christian ways, and soon after I finally opened my eyes to the fact that my whole choir was predominately Christian. My friend who came from the Baptist family went to their church on invitation twice (I denied any invitation. My own mother, when we had to get something from a girl at the church, told me not to breathe their air lest I become corrupted. I love her.) and found them not to be the self-proclaiming loving and gentle Christians but rather being the anti-homosexuality, anti-science, anti-abortion type.
With this thought weighing heavily in my then agnostic mind, I had my friend create a list of books for me to pursue and your Selfish Gene came up. Beginning with some Sam Harris, I eventually found my way to your book and after every point made I had an ‘a-ha!’ moment. I eagerly read this book cover to cover, describing my absolute adoration of the book and how it opened my mind to anyone who would hear me. I skipped my preset list of books to get to the God Delusion based on my dislike of religion, my falling head over heels for your writing style, and a complete infatuation and curiosity with your mind; a kindred spirit, I dare say.
Through you and those mentioned before my friends and I have all switched to at least incorporate a science based major when we begin college in the fall, even encouraging my stagnating friend to try for astrophysics. You have altered my goals with an unknowing (or perhaps knowing?) hand. I was reminded of the beauty of nature and now I am pursuing biology with a vigorous passion, shooting for the lofty and unearthly goal of Rhodes Scholar. I cannot thank you enough for putting my thoughts to witty and charming and intelligent words, raising my consciousness to the absolute wrong in the world and giving me a deep abiding love of life that will end infinitely with my death. And I feel quite fine with this.
One last thing, though I do apologize for my wordiness as I know you’re a busy and fantastic human, but I deeply and sorrowfully apologize. I apologize on behalf of all thinking individuals of America and beyond. I am sorry for you ever having been touched by Ted Haggard. He is the absolute apex of revolting humanity that I could imagine. If I ever had a personal hell it would be filled with him in every corner. I feel completely embarrassed and disgusted that he had any privilege to see you, speak to you, breathe your air. My dislike for him knows no boundaries, so I apologize once more. I am sorry.
Thank you for being a wonderful example of humanity and all the good in the world. I know I forgot and excluded many points in this letter, but I think you get the gist of it, you’re clever enough. I don’t know what exactly is the procedure for this, but, like many more to write to you, just reading this would be a treat while even a one word reply would send me into fits of extreme bliss. But I digress! Should you ever head out to this area of the planet, please be public about it! A great dream of mine is to meet you and thank you in person, as it should be. But for now…