Dear Professor Dawkins
I, like many people, grew up believing in god. This was not because I had been presented with any sufficient evidence, but because it was what everybody else believed. Up until my grandfather passed away several years ago, I was under the impression that this god I so blindly held faith in was a pretty good guy. That was, of course, before my grandfather died. I prayed and I pleaded, but still his condition deteriorated, to the point where doctors gave up and told us that death was inevitable. From that point on, I considered myself to be an agnostic.
When I first expressed my skepticism to my classmates, I was scrutinized and subjected to unreasonable and irrational criticism. That anger and intolerance I experienced only furthered my thirst for knowledge. No amount of faith could suffice as any testable evidence for an almighty creator.
Last year, I attempted to read and process the Bible. While I did understand it, I found myself in a position of utter confusion and disgust. Confusion because I could not comprehend why any supposedly moral person could have derived their morality from such a misogynistic, outdated and immoral book, and disgusted because people actually thought they were ethical and moral because of a bronze-aged manual.
My honest belief is that people are innately good, and that religion can greatly alter and distort a person`s morality to the point that they truly believe that homosexuality is a disease.
I suppose my rationale for writing all of this pertains to my worries about being frowned upon as an atheist. I know that I`m not harming anyone by having atheistic views, but I feel like people really don`t like me because of my outspoken ways. Is this something I should be worried about as an eighteen year old?