Hi everyone! I'm very glad I found this place. Anyways, a little about me and why I joined:
My name is Greg, from the US. For those interested, specifically Wisconsin. Education is in chemistry, but a web developer by trade (not quite sure how that crossover happened, but it did).
My "belief" background: Raised as a Christian, but fortunately not overly religious -- attended church service once a week, though no real family pressure forcing me to do so (but at the time, I was certainly willing). After moving out and starting to really think about things, I've pretty much settled on being agnostic...which I'm not entirely comfortable with. Especially after reading the Agnostic or Atheist article!
I won't get into it here, but a big part of why I decided to register is I think I can probably get some insight here into some of my current thoughts, and whether they're entirely based in logic (my goal), or if some of my thought processes are still being affected by a lingering thread of hope that there really is a guy in the sky with a huge chocolate pie for me when I'm dead (my fear).
Also, I think I can likely contribute to some of the conversations I've seen. I love debate, but far too often during them people tend to go back and forth about things that, in the end, won't help to create a positive resolution of the topic. A simple example of this is debating the meaning of any bible verse with a thiest. There are so many fallacies (was the verse meant to be taken literally or figuratively, was it translated correctly and/or are their multiple versions of the verse, the verse itself was originally scribed by a human, thereby making it subject to any number of imperfections, etc.), that even humoring such a conversation is a huge waste of time, IMHO. I tend to look at these topics from a much higher level. To borrow from the above point, trying to prove the bible right or wrong, or showing that it is contraindicative is useless, for both parties. If god actually exists, I highly doubt disproving a crappily written book written by humans is going to cause him to no longer exist. At the same time, a poetic masterpiece of a bible that is completely sound in its prose has no way of proving god exists either. If it did, I'd also have to believe in Moby Dick.
Based on some of the posts I've read here, I'm confident that there are plenty of level-headed individuals here that I can swap ideas with in a sensible fashion, and with the topic at hand that is normally a very difficult thing to do.