Alex here, I was raised catholic but ever since I can remember I always question everything that I was told. As I grew up and learn more about math, science, reason, logic and philosophy I just couldn't keep up with the farce of believe in any sort of deity. I don't hide my Atheism, but I am careful when dealing with my parents, sometimes it's wiser to know when to pick your battles.
I try to respect people who seem to have true faith, even though I don't agree with what they believe, I won't attack their world view unless they insist on trying to change mine. On the other hand, I can't stand the phony believers, the people who use their "faith" to go around judging others, and who constantly make every single conversation about their faith.
Welcome Alex! I was always a bit of a skeptic, but gradually let go of the whole thing in my 20s. Took a while, but I learned to see it as a superstition and to not be afraid.
Now that I'm married to an atheist from a Born Again family, I've been delving into atheist books, lectures, and now, websites! Funny how the fundamentalists don't realize how they push people toward nonbelief!
Like you, I can understand why some people find peace and strength with their beliefs, and respect that, but no longer hide my feelings if asked or confronted.
Welcome! I think you'll find this a friendly, nonjudgmental type of place!
My dad worked hard for the $$$ he paid to send five kids to catholic schools. I never did grasp the heaven story; I saw myself seated somewhere watching what earthlings are doing. My older sister was the first to quit the scam, and before my dad died he knew we had all quit.
Early on I started seeing xians as crippled people who, like folk with sprained ankles, need crutches. And so, I attacked xianity only when its victims attacked my agnosticism (for 50 years) or my atheism (for almost five years now). BTW, I'm out of the "closet" to everyone I know.
However, I have for decades followed church/state news and donated $$$ to separationist organizations (such as ACLU, AU, and FFRF), and yet every day have heard or read of attempts by xians to impose their "crutches" everywhere they can.
I will continue being polite to xians who are polite, but I'm about to go more public in my opposition to what xians have done and are doing in legislative bodies, schools, and more.
Again, Alex, welcome to AN.