Tell us about yourself and perhaps give a little information on your religious background and/or your interest in religious texts.

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Nothing to dramatic here... Was a southern baptist (in California) until about 10. I saw holes that my mom and the rest did not see or just ignored. Studied all the religions I could find (between reading lots of Stephen King) for a couple years. Atheist by 13. Sure I could have stretched it out more, but those are the high points.

I want as much info as I can find on the ancient (read: polytheistic) jews. I recall The Three Amigos doing a show on CoI on some of it. Would love to find more info!
When I was a kid my dad was an associate pastor at a Pentecostal church in central California and later at an Assembly of God church in Kansas. I went to church all day every Sunday and every Wednesday night and I was water baptized at age 8. Divine Healing and speaking in tongues was a regular part of life. I don't remember NOT going to church as a kid, but I don't remember ever believing any of it either. it was just something you went to and did. I finally gave up on Christianity around age 17 after actually READING the bible from cover to cover (as opposed to taking quote out of context).

After leaving the church all together after high school I was under the impression that there must be SOMETHING to fill the place that church had for most of my life. If not God, then maybe godS? I started reading a lot and got fairly heavy into the New Age movement and "Neo-Paganism". Which lead me to managing a "New Age and Metaphysical Gift & Book store" in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as moonlighting as a tarot reader and "spiritual consultant". In retrospect, I am not proud of this period in my life.

After moving away from that spiritual community in Arizona, I started to question why any of that stuff was any more believable than the Christian thing had been? I found myself living in a tiny, tiny town on the coast of Oregon with little to do besides read. I spent the next couple of years reading everything I could get my eyes on about religions and religious movements.

I've come to the conclusion that I just don't have whatever it is that lets people have 'faith'. I simply have to have evidence and proof before I can accept something as real. I now find that where I was once fascinated by religion and it's effect on people and the world. I'm more pissed off and offended by religious texts and those who interpret them and I take great delight in pointing out the flaws, contradictions and flaws in these books and their teachings.
Welcome steve - looking forward to your views and contributions!

As a child I never thought about religion, I just thought it was some big bother that I didn't want to get into so I went along with the crowd. Around the time of conformation classes (I was about 16 I think) my parents told me I had to attend them. They had never before told me I "had" or "must" do anything in regards to religion. I told them I didn't want to attend them because I thought it was a waste of time, I had enough to do as a student anyway and I feared my grades would drop. They let it go because of my dedication to getting into a good college.

 

I got into said college :D. I took liberal arts classes and changed my major a few times till I discovered my passion for Art History. I currently hold a masters and I'm continuing my education. (I'm a sucker for pain.) In the last three or so years I really got to thinking about me and my place in the universe so I wanted to educate myself in philosophy, ethics, and a other various humanities. Taking a religious studies class cemented my atheism, god cannot exist because everyone has a different version of god.

 

I enjoy looking at religious art and figuring out the origins of the style, symbolism, and story (mythology.) Currently I'm doing research for a book about christianity as a myth and discuss my thoughts through art.

 

I really enjoy Academic Earth. I'm watching the lecture series "New Testament and Literature" by Dale Martin of Yale University here. I hope to gain some useful information and insight for my book ;D.

Hello everybody. I'm from the Gladstone region, Queensland, Australia. I've only become aware of the atheist movement quite recently through reading about the atheist billboards making the news in the U.S. It's old news I know but I don't watch TV or read newspapers...

I'm interested in scriptural criticism because it goes hand-in-hand with my interest in Christian apologetics. I enjoy debunking religious beliefs based on scripture. I do this so I can engage Christians in discussion and encourage Bible believers to analyse their Bible critically. If they agree there could at least be some rationally unexplainable problems with the text then I try to encourage Bible believers to analyse their beliefs about religion in the same way. 

I was raised Mormon, minored in Near Eastern Ancient Studies and took 2 years of Hebrew just so I could read the Hebrew Bible in it's original language (didn't quite work out but I still find the Hebrew beneficial).  I started questioning my beliefs when my brother came out as gay and later left the church when he shot himself on the steps of an LDS church one year later because of their strong support of anti gay marriage amendments. 

I still read the Bible religiously but for purely academic reasons (NRSV).  I've also read a lot of books that analyze modern Bible scholarship and find it incredibly interesting.  I think the average fundamentalist would be surprised at the number of Atheists and Agnostics there are in modern Bible scholarship teaching in theology departments of most of the Wests top colleges. 

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