Dear Richard Dawkins
I would like to start by thanking you for your work thus far and commend you for your bravery in the face of quite vicious opposition.
I have to admit I was once at the forefront of such opposition. I used to attend a small Baptist Church in Dorset ran by American fundamentalists, every Sunday and Wednesday were devoted to worship and Bible study. The further I studied the Bible the more it revealed the nature of God but unlike most Christians this did not make me closer to God, in fact it only made me question his nature, so called compassion and even existence.
At first I felt guilty about my lack of faith but in time I began to accept the fact that I was living a lie and began indulging, in secret, in behaviour condemned by the Bible. Such behaviour made me new, secular friends. I felt the need to keep my church attendance a secret from my new friends and keep my doubts secret from everyone at church. Despite the fact that I was torn between two very different worlds I kept attending church, I found the more I attended the more I doubted the existence of God until eventually I knew in my heart God did not exist.
I remember seeing your book The God Delusion on a friend’s book shelf, the very idea of a book of this kind of nature fascinated me. Later that week I bought the book in secret. From beginning to end I was gripped, it made me confident in my newly found closet atheism. This book not only answered any questions I still had about atheism in absolute clarity but it also gave me the courage and motivation I needed to leave the church and come clean about my lack of faith. I remember reading the chapter about pushing against the Burka of unknowing. I felt so uplifted and excited about my new life as an open atheist, I wept.
Reading The God Delusion was a defining moment in my life and the purpose of this email was to thank you. You are truly inspiring and your work is not just brilliant but necessary.