Hi -- Just checking in to see what goes on here. My story, short version, goes like this: raised in an strong evangelical family, but the religion never really took hold with me; wrote my folks a letter from college declaring my lack of belief in God, and being a veteran parent myself I now have a greater appreciation for the shock and hurt that must have caused -- but that's life and the risk of parenthood I suppose; I have a career in the arts, and in developing collaborations between artists and scientists; I try to avoid the term atheist (too much baggage) when a discussion of belief comes up, which isn't very often, but my work in the arts is laced with, and perhaps thinly disguised by, an atheistic persuasion; if ever asked, I describe myself as a "naturalist," i.e., a non-supernaturalist, so if someone wanting to cling to the word God were willing to concede him/it as a natural phenomenon instead of a supernatural one, that's fine with me as long as it's understood that science then becomes the way to proceed. I however do not cling to the word God or use it as a metaphor. I think of myself as a spiritual non-believer, defining "spiritual" as a sense of awe and delight at the human capacity to contemplate the cosmos and feel a sensation of profoundity in doing so. I'm wary of the potential there is for any use of "science and spiritualism" to be misconstrued as fuzzy New Age thinking, and of the responsibility one who speaks of such a non-supernatural science-based emotional "spiritualism" has to articulate the distinction clearly. I also think that when it comes to the general public's understanding of a non-religious/non-supernatural view, there is no more important challenge than to expose the emotionally fulfilling side of atheism and scientific inquiry.
Some of my current and past exploits in the arts and sciences can be seen at http://www.williamsongallery.net/google . I look forward to following the forums here and learning a few things from all of you!
Everything that happens, happens somehow.