A couple of days ago I was lucky enough to StumbleUpon this site. After poking around a bit and reading some of the discussions, I was hooked. It's great to find a community that so closely aligns with what amounts to a large part of my identity, a part that I can't share with many people in my day to day life.
I have been an atheist for about 7 years now, though I generally don't care for that label. As many authors have pointed out, there is no name for folks that no longer believe in santa. I call myself normal, or as Daniel Dennett would say, bright.
I grew up in Madison, WI within a stout Christian family, the church a staple in our weekend activities. I attended a private Christian school until my Jr year (really wanted to play football at the public school) where I had daily Bible study clases and weekly chapel. In school I was always the annoying kid with my hand up, asking a million questions about what they were teaching me. I've always been quite inquisitive, as I suspect most of us here are. It is this trait that invariably led me to question everything.
In college, free on my own for the first time, I began to really search for answers. I still considered myself Christian, but had many doubts. It has never been my nature to blindly accept something by faith. I remember my freshman year I took an Astronomy course, I remember looking through a telescope and seeing Saturn in all her ringed glory. This lit an insatiable curiosity inside of me, I began reading all about the universe and physics in general. This of course led me to discovering the late, great Carl Segan.
Carl's books had a profound effect on my life. His words touched me more than anything I had ever read in the Bible, and made infinitely more sense. From there I discovered all the other great authors and I powered through book after book, each one opening my eyes more and more. I always wanted to keep an un-biased view however, so when I would buy a Dawkins or Harris book, I'd also buy a C.S. Lewis or Lee Strobel book, I'd read them side by side.
Of course, I came out of college a free thinking atheist (much to the chagrin of my parents and siblings). Today I am 28, still reading anything I can get my hands on (currently reading Dr. Shermer's Believing Brain). My parents have learned not to discuss religion with me, and have simply accepted me for who I am, we have a great relationship I am happy to say. My fiance is agnostic, still somewhat on the fence as to who/what set our universe in motion.
I work as a freelance journalist in the watch industry, as well as a digital/social media consultant.
I recently returned from a volunteer trip to Haiti, I wrote about the experience in the blog section.
There you have the condensed story of my journey to atheism.
It is interesting to me how people came to their position on religion, you through study of science, myself it was the study of world religions.
Looking forward to talking more.