Hello there everyone, just saying hello and a tell the story of my lack of belief, along with a couple of things about myself.
I am glad to have found such a large scale community of atheists, I have been an atheist roughly since i was about 14 (7 years now) and an atheist that is involved with the atheistic community and reads/researches extensively on the subject of religion for about 4 or 5 years, so it is somewhat surprising that I only now found this website (whilst searching for a forum on PZ Myers blog 'Pharyngula'). Awelcome surprise none the less.
I have previously belonged to one other atheist forum and found myself drifting away from it, the general mood of the forum and its regular posters was not the sort of community I wanted to be a part of. I think the major problem this forum had may have been too small a community size and a small measure of snobbery that I dont think truly represents the atheistic community, I am hopeful for this forum though as I think the large size stops the ability of a few people who are active in commenting to dictate the mood and sound of the forum as a whole.
Now about my atheism: I had what could possibly be described as a near to perfect upbringing when it comes to religious questions that one can have in the world today. Apart from the outside worlds general affect pushing me in the direction of some semblance of a beeif in a higher power my parents were almost completely agnostic when it came to the matter. I distinctly remember when asked by me wether they believed in a god or not they would reply in a couple of ways; they didn't believe in a judeo-christian god but think there is something that is throughout the universe having some affect on our lives (an idea they didn't really discuss much about and an idea they weren't very steadfast on), or that they didn't think you could know wether there was a god or not.
They were never very strong in there opinions on the question of there being a god or not (I don't think they thought about it much really) and so what they said didn';t have a very strong affect on me. They were however very strongly in the opinion that me and my siblings should be able to grow up to find out and decide on our own our beliefs, or lack there of, in a higher power.
So I lived my first year as someone with a pretty watery and weak beleif that there might be 'something out there', just mirroring what my parents believed, as most children do i think, until I gave serious thought to it.
After a week long stint of thinking being a Catholic would be cool (I loved fantasy novels at the time and the idea of demons and angels appealed to that side of me) I started really thinking about and researching the idea of a higher power, the result of atheism was almost instantaneous.
I strive to live in a world where all children are given the same freedom from indoctrination as I was as a child and I thank my parents regularly for being so agnostic in their instruction to me on religious ideas (by the way they both now identify themselves as atheists, discussions with myself I think, rather self agrandisingly, being the catalyst for their throwing off of the last remnants of religiosity they still held).
Finally about myself; I am a 21 year old Australian currently travelling/working in Europe, I plan to continuing my study at university, of wich I am currently on a break from, on my returning to Australia. My area of study is Physics and Mathematics, the former being, along with music, one of my greatest passions in life.
Looking forward to talking with you at length (after some lurking time to get into the groove of this particular site).