Hello, my fellow godless heathens!
I grew up in a mid-western Baptist church where questions, even from a curious child, were met with harsh criticism. I was tossed from Sunday School on more than one occasion for asking sincere questions about things that just didn't make sense to me. I was told to go upstairs and sit with my parents, for which I always got scolded at home. I was told that to question God's word was to have no faith. My mother once referred to me as Satan's imp. I had nightmares about going to hell, and began to resent a God that would set me up to fail, then punish me when I did. I wondered why He would give me a mind that craved logic and consistent axiomated systems, only to provide no such thing in His inconsistent word. I viewed him as a petulant child stirring up an ant mound and then eagerly waiting with a magnifying glass to burn those who came to investigate the disturbance. I resentfully thought, I would rather go to hell than "play His twisted game."
I turned my attention instead toward mathematics, physics, music, and especially in mathematics, found things which could be proven. To me, a mathematical proof is a thing of beauty, and is completely irrefutable. By the time I was 18, I knew I could never believe something for which there is absolutely no reason to do so, although by the age of 16 the ship had sailed on believing in the Christian God. I realized that if I opened myself to faith, I could believe any nonsense. I am just not capable of blind faith.
I had always considered myself to be agnostic, in that I could neither prove nor disprove the existence of a God. I can't disprove many things, but that doesn't compel me to then resign myself to believing in them. I have always felt that if this universe was created by a higher intelligence, that the creator most likely isn't even aware of our existence, no more than a scientist is aware of every fundamental particle in an experiment, and that this "creator" is not supernatural...just way more advanced than us.
What's funny is that when someone tries to argue with me about the principle of evolution, invariably they say, "I did not come from apes!" I sigh, and tell them to read Darwin, and then come back to me informed. I ask them how they can argue against something they clearly have no understanding of. Then they try to say the big bang theory says that something came from nothing, never mind that these same people have no problem with their God coming from nothing. Again, I tell them to read Einstein, Hawking, Penrose, etc., then come back informed. What's even funnier is that every so-called Christian I have debated knows less about the Bible than I do. It seems those who question the Bible seem to be predominantly those who have actually studied it.
Anyway, glad to be here and look forward to the discussions.