While I go by the screen name kidvelvet (will explain much later), My real name is Steve. I grew up in, for the lack of a better term, a progressive Christian household. My parents were not vocal about religion, went to different churches (from Presbyterian to Unitarian), and pretty much left me to believe what I want. I started off early as a Christian, later considered myself agnostic, but came to the conclusion that I am actually a weak atheist.
I left the idea of Christianity in the mid seventies (4th grade), when my appendix exploded. At that time, a ruptured appendix was a 50/50 live/die proposition. I remember after the surgery and going through recovery hearing how blessed I was that I survived. It was at that point that I asked myself the following:
1. If I was blessed, why did I come so close to death in the first place?
2. Why would any Great Designer put a useless organ in my body with the potential to kill me?
What is ironic is that most people come away with near death experiences with a "closer relationship to God", while I came away with the opposite, even at the age of 8. In fact, I started reading the Bible more after that experience, but found more and more consistencies. As I got older, I started to study logic, engineering, and other religions. And, well, that was about it for God. I ended up getting my degree in Philosophy, but I work as a Network Engineer. Philosophy intrigued me, as it laid the foundation for logic and science. My wife is atheist, but she grew up atheist and has a bit of a different perspective than I do about Christianity and what it can/does do.
I have really enjoyed reading through these forums, and it is nice to find like-minded people (although not too difficult in my hometown outside of Portland, OR). Although after reading some of the forums, I have a strange need to eat toast and waffles.
I don't hide behind my atheism, but I don't readily divulge it unless a person is really curious. If they ask me why, I then explain. If they want to argue, I pretty much ignore because I find (and these forums have certainly confirmed) that it simply becomes an exercise in mental masterbation with no money shot.
Anyway, I am looking forward to reading the forums more and participating at random times.
Dolt:"Evolution is just a theory."
Me:"Yes, so is light and gravity. Pardon me while I flash this strobe while dropping a bowling ball on your head. This shouldn't bother you; after all, these are just theories."