Its lovely to find a forum like this and so I guess I should introduce myself. 41yr old Welshman living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A lovely part of the world if somewhat conservative (politically and religiously!). Despite being nominally brought up Anglican (and I was an Altar boy to boot!) I've never really been a Christian. It was more a chore, God was something I never thought of, I just went to Church with my Gran. Then one day (after a sermon where the vicar started bitching about people missing church (I'd missed for the first time in years the weekend before in order to revise for exams)) I just had an epiphany, it was the first time I'd ever really thought about God / Religion, I just remember thinking "Wait a second? I don't believe this crap, what am I wasting Sunday mornings for? I could be playing!" So I told my parents (who never pushed me this way) they said sure, but you have to tell the Vicar and return the Cassock. So as a 13yr old Altar boy I marched up to the Rectory with my little suitcase, knocked on the door, handed over the cassock and surplus, said "Im not coming to Church anymore, I don't believe in God". The Vicar was speechless (good really.. he didn't argue :) ) and that was it.
Wasn't really an Atheist then though, just a small boy who wanted more time to play. I really only started to understand where I fitted after the only chat I had with my Dad about his beliefs. He rarely talked about it, was a very taciturn man. But I remember they aired Carl Sagan's Cosmos on the BBC, it was on well past my bedtime, but Dad let me stay up and watch it with him, its the most precious memory I have of spending time just with him. I remember after the show once he finally shared his beliefs. He told me that when he was at Sea (was a sailor in his youth), at night he would look up at the stars and think about how tiny and inconsequential he was, compared to the immensity of the universe, but still part of it, and that was fine, it was ok, being tiny wasn't a bad thing he still felt he was part of the Universe. Over the years I've come to understand exactly what he meant. The world around us is an incredibly beautiful place, even more so if you see beyond what our senses provide. The Maple in my yard is wonderful, but even more so as I learn and come to understand photosynthesis, or the physics that defines the way its atoms interact, or they way it supports micro ecosystems, and of course the fact that I can sit in its shade when it keeps the garden 2 degrees cooler in Summer.
Man! I wasn't expecting to waffle on so, So I am an Atheist, really rather vociferously anti-religious, not an apologist, terribly sad at the destruction wrought in the name of the fiction called God, and more than a little scared at the world those of whatever faith are trying to make.
So Hello! (sorry to keep burbling on)