Basically, I've been creeping on the forums/blogs/everything else here for quite a while. I live in a very strange place. Orlando, FL is definitely part of the south, but there are so many cultures here, either by emigration or vacation, so the variety of people keeps this city from the fate of so many other southern cities. However, 20 miles out and you can bet there's a church on every street corner. It's a weird place for sure. Quietly liberal. I'm very lucky to have called Orlando my home in an otherwise very red region.
Anyways, I grew up in a Christian household. Barely went to church though, that may have helped me ask more questions than the average 9 year old regarding religion. I always wondered why mine was the correct one. What made Christianity more valid than Buddhism? Or paganism? Why did everyone [that I knew] assume the Bible was right when there are facts that are so blatantly wrong? How could I trust a book that said the sun was made for the earth and mentioned talking snakes? No one could ever answer my questions, so I decided to make my own philosophical decisions. Studying international relations and cultures throughout high school and into college, I started to very much dislike the violence that almost always resulted from religion. Why can't my two gay best friends get married? Why must the default position in the US be "we are all children under the same god" (per Romney last night)? I have respect for other people, I have integrity, dignity, therefore I can trust myself with my own moral decisions.
I've come to find it to be very frustrating being an atheist in America these days. My family is mostly hardcore Republican and ANY mention of liberalism makes their heads explode. They seriously believe that Obama is a Muslim and from Africa. They seriously believe that he is evil and hates America. And they seriously believe that atheism automatically means that someone cannot be trusted and has no moral compass. Yet, they tell me all the time how proud they are that I'm the first in the family to graduate with honors from a university and attempt to go Ivy league for graduate school. But, god forbid that I bring up my distaste for religion and all hell breaks loose. Apparently, I've been exposed to too much "liberal propaganda" from college and thus have been brainwashed by the machine. I can't take it.
Just thought I'd share a bit of my back story. I really enjoy reading the discussions here and am very impressed by all this intellectual discourse. Keep it up!
By the way, my name is Jennifer!