No believers in my family, but there is too much secrecy in my family about it. I think it has made my life much, much better because I can think clearly. Yes, I wouldn't trade anything for the free thinking this has allowed me. Almost everyone else I know lives in Wonderland.
Forgive the intrusion as an old fart, and even worse a theist guest here at TA...
I was intrigued by your comment:
When I became and atheist my school grades exploded. I started seeing everything around me with a curiosity to understand it, instead of just standing in awe of "God's creation" and not doing anything afterward.
Can I ask if you're in the American South?
One of the things I find extremely troubling is that the high school completion rates, and even the quality of graduates we see at the university level, is really astonishingly poor in the U.S. south. I mean *really* poor compared to the rest of the country. It's not just race or poverty causing the effect, either. In some ways, when you read that the U.S. isn't doing well on tests of mathematics or science, you really need to ask "which U.S.?"
Anyways, I'd be interested if you or any of the other young people in the group could comment more on your experience, and the extent to which you find Christian/Baptist culture leads to less curiosity and academic engagement in your schools and communities.