Hello from Australia.
Hello all. New member here.
I'm a teenager (18 years old) from Adelaide, Australia. It's been a couple years since I finished high school, and I'm starting studying Design this year.
Now for the story (it's long so feel free to skip it):
I grew up in a quite conservative Christian family and attended church weekly from the day I was born. I first "accepted Jesus into my heart" when I was about 5 or 6, and have been quite actively involved in the Christian "scene" attending Youth Group, leading on holiday camps, and going to weekly Bible studies. I started school fairly early, and during high school I was enrolled in a class designed for children to skip year 9. Thanks to being mostly in classes full of highly intelligent people I've been surrounded by atheists since early high school. Yet religion was one of the topics my friends seemed to avoid, at least while they were around me, so I really only heard one side of the story. While I was a child I was fascinated by science, including the big bang theory and evolution, needless to say I was disappointed when I found out it was all just a lie made up by people who don't want to have to follow God's law.
Once I'd finished high school, (wow that was all the way back in 2007), I started a fairly steady relationship with a girl I'd met at a Christian holiday camp we were both leaders on. We fooled around a bit, never getting too serious, but enough for me to worry about going to hell. I came to the conclusion that instead of living the life of a good Christian I'd do what I enjoyed, and then on my death bed I'd ask for forgiveness and I'd get the best of both worlds. Maybe not a very logical position to take, but it made sense at the time. I was however a bit worried that I'd die suddenly in a car crash, and not have the time to repent. I'd pretty much stopped seeing my friends from high school while I was seeing this girl (a big mistake I only started rectifying in the last couple months) so I kept attending church events for the social life, and not out of any desire to learn about a god which I considered completely irrelevant for my life. However I did politely decline whenever I was invited by my youth pastor to pass out WOTM tracts in the city.
Anyway during this period I met another girl I started going out with, we eventually broke up, but while we were going out we spent a lot of time together. I started staying at her house pretty regularly. I dare say my parents got fairly suspicious about this. Her parents weren't religious thankfully, although they were some kind of weirdo new age spiritualists. My parents eventually figured out we were having sex, yeah your underwear draw isn't a good place to stash condoms if you've told your parents you want a new wardrobe for your room, and they're inclined to do the moving while you're at work. I also started drinking and eventually they found out about that too, and I guess they sort of started to realise I wasn't quite what I was pretending to be. At this point I still believed in God, but I was certainly enjoying my more secular lifestyle, and thinking about how much more awesome it would be if there wasn't
I was working a desk job doing 3d animation at that point. The work was pretty routine, and I had long gaps while I was waiting for the work to render, so I spent a lot of time browsing the internet (yeah I wasn't a very good worker, but my manager, supervisor, etc. were all stationed interstate so I got away with it) one of the fantastic sites I started frequenting was TED.com, mostly I was interested in the talks on architecture and design, but I ended up watching a talk by Richard Dawkins on "militant atheism" (link) I then asked my self the question "Why do those people who know the most about biology ie. biologists, all think that creationism is retarded?" now that's not proof that it is, but it was enough for me to look into it myself, and I did some research into the hundreds of lies, quote mines and straw men I'd heard over the years. (Apparently Darwin never said it was impossible for an eye to evolve) I briefly considered theistic evolution, but I applied a bit of Occam's razor and came to the conclusion that I was an atheist. I incorrectly used the term agnostic for a while, because I certainly didn't think it was impossible for a higher being to exist.
So that's pretty much how it stands. My non-christian friends know I'm an atheist, but I haven't yet "come out" to my family. I'm planning to soon though, I was sitting in church this morning listening to the preacher talk about God's purpose for our lives and realised that I'd really rather face the consequences of telling my parents than listen to anymore of this. Also despite the fact that I described them as conservative Christians they're not quite conservative enough to kick me out of home for apostasy.
tl:dr Former christian and regular church attender who is now an atheist and looking forward to telling his parents.
Hobbies include design, photography, debating politics and religion, mild recreational drug use, and playing video games.
And I also think this is the longest introduction post I've ever written.