I am a 30 something yr old female from australia - I left the church as a teenager in order to study something other than 'gods word'.
i'm so pleased to have stumbled on this site. Its just awesome to find that there exists an actual rational oasis.
My childhood was not miserable as such. It was only when I started asking questions (i.e. how come 'god' forbade killing others but then commands the death of so many?) that things got difficult for me. I discovered that christian 'love' is conditional on ignorance or 'blind faith' as they call it. As far as I'm concerned life began when I could finally explore other faiths and learn something from science.
On the upside what life as a pastor's daughter can do is make one's bullshit scanner highly evolved. My critical thinking skills today are thanks to years of programming and propaganda experience. I also have a somewhat useless skill of being able to do well in a bible quiz lol.
Interestingly, one of the first things i did when i was out from under the control of the church was read every single piece of literature that they proclaimed as evil or blasphemous (athiesm, gay rights, pro-abortion, darwinian literature etc). This provided an infinitely more balanced view almost immediately.
I did the same thing after I left the church. I found Richard Dawkins' series Root of All Evil? on YouTube and watched the whole thing. Then I read The God Delusion to see what all the fuss was about. It really helped shape my new understanding of the world.
Thanks Rosemary - yes I've had a peek at the aus group among others.
I'm kind of indiscriminately reading interesting discussions on this site and not really out to join any group or cause as such, or even meet up with anyone. Right now I'm on my uni holidays and signed up with Nexus for the intellectual stimulation. Next semester I'm studying philosophy and religion in particular so this site is a good way to get me thinking.