Morgan inspired me to share my Moment of Truth story! I hope it resonates with some of you and that you find it interesting and helpful in your own process.
I grew up in an EXTREMELY fundamentalist Christian environment (German Lutheran, Missouri Synod) and was brainwashed from as early as I can remember. At 14, I started asking my mother questions she could only answer with "I don't know but God says it's good/bad/not understandable-by-our-fallible-limited-human-minds", etc. These answers were unacceptable to a thinking and questioning mind, and thus began a long and painful process of debrainwashing,
I had no guidance, support, or examples of how one goes about doing such a thing. For many years, my freedom from religion was so tenuous I could barely stand to be in the same room with a Christian. I studied and dabbled in all kinds of multifarious spiritual practices in an effort to fill the void left by a dogmatic, controlling religion. Fear runs rampant in many Christian minds, and mine was no exception.
I'm over all that now, thankfully, and marvel that I ever believed such nonsensical fairy tales (which never ended well if you happened to be female, incidentally). To be fair, I suppose there was also a time early in my intellectual development when I truly believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and yes, I did put a tooth or two under my pillow as a little girl for the Tooth Fairy. ;)
As I was working towards a degree in Chemistry/Biology (graduated in '99) my intellectual understanding of Life and the Universe evolved and supported me in taking baby steps towards atheism...As in, agnosticism at first (my crutches), then atheism (the Final Frontier...to Boldly Go Where Not Many Have Gone Before...at least not in this country).
That's how I ended up here and honestly, I am a very happy atheist! It has taken a long time for my mind to let go of the story that I need to know why we are here, what happens to us after we die, blah, blah, blah. I am convinced that once I'm dead, I won't care about any of that since I'll be, well, dead! So, I'm enjoying myself and life right now. I highly recommend it! And you all are great! I am really, really loving being here and getting to know you guys. Thanks for being here and for reading my story. <3