I've been a soldier in the US Army for over 20 years now. Working with the young troops keeps me feeling young. I'm raising two daughters that I had baptized and had them receive first communion in the catholic church, which I regret now. About 8 years ago, after my divorce, I started wondering why the church condemned me to a life of abstinence because my wife divorced me. I was a good husband and felt that I did all I could to keep it together. Then my job took me on several trips to the war-torn Balkan countries, and finally to Afghanistan (I'm back in Afghanistan, typing this from my plywood hut). All I can think about these places is how nice they could be if there was no religion-induced war. These people could prosper and live in peace if none of them cared about religion.
I always thought that the world is full of so many religions and all of them claim to be the true faith; I knew that only one or none of them could be right. I also became acutely aware that religion is a powerful tool and probably too powerful for man to resist. Therefore, I figure that all religion is too old and has been handled by too many men to not have been corrupted along the way, so I figured that they were all wrong. But I still feared God.
Then, I bought an iPod and learned about podcasts. I took an online poll that promised to answer what religion I am and it said Humanist. I found podcasts about humanism that really opened my eyes (ears). Then I read Richard Dawkin's The God Dillusion. Wow! That changed my perspective. I thought that I was agnostic, but after reading that book, I knew that I am atheist. Then I read Sam Harris' The End of Faith - brilliant.
I still love to listen to those podcasts when I walk my dog or when I lie in bed in this little bed in my plywood hut.
My two daughters and my new wife are now all non-religious, although my older daughter still likes to think there is some purpose out there for us and doesn't like the idea of no afterlife, but I figure that she'll come around. My wife is apathetic about the whole thing, but my younger daughter is as anti-religious as I am, yet she is about as blunt as a 20 pound sledge hammer.
I'm from New York State, but I call Texas home now. It's funny to be in such a religious state, riding a Harley (loved by many conservatives) working a job filled with religious people, deployed to a country filled with radical fundamentalists, yet not believing a bit of it. I don't feel like I'm above them, but I do pity them for wasting their time. I always want to tell them something that will make them enjoy their lives more by realizing that religion is wrong and a wasteful way to spend the only life they have.
I don't mind gently rocking the boat that I'm riding on. I do want people to think about their irrational beliefs.