I've always been an atheist (Sunday school was a crock and I had no problem saying so at the time)... but...
In May of 2009 I fell in love with someone I met at a conference. 3 short days of bliss. I don't fall in love easily. In fact, I was living with my ex-bf at the time. However when you get smacked in the face with the kind of compatibility and attraction that I did, well...
I live in Alberta, Canada. He lives in California. Let's call him Joey.
After much ado (prior to this conference) I finally had the push to break up with my ex I was living with. Turmoil ensued, of course, and I am finally cleaning up loose ends when Joey lets me know (about 2 months in) that he is a devout Catholic and is very disappointed I will not be going to heaven with him.
Me: Buh... you're HOW NUTS, you say?!!
My friend: He totally drank the Kool-Aid.
Excerpt from Joey's email:
"...the ultimate goal is to go to heaven and have eternal life."
I'm shocked, disappointed, and WAY too far into it to turn back.
So I pursue with hestitation. I question him and make him think about his comments on gay people having no rights and anyone who has an abortion is a murderer and everyone should be allowed to own as many guns as they want and carry them wherever... YUCK!! I realize within a couple of months this person is a blind, idiotic follower, without an original thought in his body, and I have NO RESPECT for him.
I give him up, and THANK YOU JEBUS (pun absolutely intended) I have never felt better in my whole life.
So this experience helped to remind me of my strength, my intelligence, and that thankfully my choices in life are based on reasoning. It has helped to remind me of my atheism which started when I was really young and has always been there - but now I feel strength from it because I have been reminded how great it is to not be a follower.
I am a thinker, and proud of it.
And now, quite happily, I am a step away from being engaged to the perfect man for me who is also a thinker. I am proud of him and respect his choices.
I win! Neener!