My late intro post
Who I am:
I am a married software developer in his early 30s with two young girls. I like to mess around on the computer a bit too much and play a good amount of D&D.
How I found this place:
I like reading at rationalwiki. I first found out about this place when I stumbled upon the Rational Response Squad debate with Way of the Master.
What I (don't) believe:
I'd consider myself an agnostic atheist. Or atheist. Or functional atheist. I've heard a lot of different terms used differently at different places. Basically, I don't believe in any gods, I don't believe belief one way or the other can be proven, but I see no reason not to simply dismiss these random claims that have no evidence.
Why I don't believe:
I was brought up and raised Christian (Lutheran, more specifically). I can't tell you exactly when I started having problems with the belief, but it could have started as early as my early 20s. I mostly tried to not think about any doubts that I had. For quite a while, I was pretty good at coming up with a lot of apologetic excuses to stave off cognitive dissonance. After a while, that stopped being comforting, and started bothering me more and more; like I was just making things up to fix the problem.
About four years ago, I realized I was having some serious issues with my faith. For a while, I tried to ignore the problem and simply tell myself that I believed it. When that didn't work, I tried to make myself believe it. During this time, I would frequently get depressed if I spent any time thinking about it. For the last six months of this period, I finally got to the point where I didn't really believe, but I couldn't admit it to myself. I kept worrying about being wrong and ending up in hell (Pascal's wager, I know). It literally took me six months to be able to admit to myself that I didn't believe it.
Once I got through those annoying two years, I could finally look at it openly. Rather than start with the conclusion of "God is real" and try and work backwards, I was able to just stand back, look at the whole thing, and try to figure out what makes sense. I realized that the all of the problems and contradictions of the Bible, and all of the weird meta-issues you get with modern theology all made more sense if I just viewed it as poorly edited Hebrew mythology.
Where I am now:
So, it's been two years since I was able to admit I'm atheist. My wife is still Christian, which can be a pain point some times, so I often don't talk about it with her. I've been happy to find out how many of my relatives and in-laws of similar age has the same views as me. I've basically formed a handful of support groups this way, which I think is very good for me.
Holy crap, that got long!