I have been a lifelong athiest fortunate enough to have atheist parents. I sincerely feel that my life has been all the richer and my mental health protected because of this. I, however, until recently have held the opinion that relgion and the religious are not inherently bad and have therefore mostly kept silent about my internal beliefs (i.e. I believe what reason tells me to believe). As a result I have felt an alienation to society in general and have a few close friends but mostly aquaintances. This is a trivial negative consequence of religion compared to others, but, to me has resulted in a much less full life than might otherwise be possible. I have vowed to vocalize my non-belief from now on whenever the subject presents itself and I am looking forward to future honest interactions with the people around me. I am happy to see this site and to become a member.