I suppose I'll put a little more about myself here in case anyone is interested. I've pretty much summed up why I'm here in my "About Me" section, but that doesn't really capture me and what I'm about. I'm not so much a fan of defining my self by what I'm not; I'd rather define myself by what I am.

I was born and raised in a small town in south Alabama called Opp, a city best known for it's annual rattlesnake rodeo. That is exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of rednecks playing with poisonous snakes with a bunch of other rednecks standing around and watching them. I'm an atypical southerner. I don't hunt, don't fish, don't watch NASCAR, and don't drink Budweiser. The only thing southern about me is my speech and accent. I'm a professional computer geek by day, amateur fun-seeker by night. I've always been interested in science and the natural universe, which is what led me down the road of disbelief so early in life. As young as 7 I had problems with the fundamentalist doctrines I was raised with. At that young age, my mother's suggestion that we pray for a tornado not to hit us was the first thing the really struck me as really wrong with the religion, and things just kept going downhill (uphill?) from there.

After abandoning religion completely in college, graduating and getting a job, I never really thought about beliefs that much. A stint of "gainful unemployment" which landed me back in my parents house for a bit is ultimately responsible for my outspokenness now. I had never realized when I was growing up just how oppressive they were until I was back in there. I was grown at that point and they still expected me to follow certain rules they had. When I finally made it out of there, I had one goal in life: I wanted to live as much life as I could to make up for the life I had lost out on. I didn't really make good on that promise to myself for a long while.

About three months ago, on my birthday, I went out on a limb and put myself in a situation well outside of my comfort zone, where I met the most wonderful woman I have ever met, who helped me find out more about myself in a weekend than I had learned over the rest of my life. The particulars of that situation and the two months that followed are a story for another time, and would most probably be more shocking to the average person that finding out I'm an atheist, but it has enacted such a positive change in my life that I will be eternally grateful and indebted to her. Now I am truly achieving my goal that I set over three years ago and I haven't looked back. My only regret is that I didn't get here sooner.

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Comment by Jeremy on July 31, 2008 at 2:02pm
For the interested, I went into a good bit of detail on the situation I referred to in the last paragraph of this post in a post in the Secular Sexuality group yesterday.

Comment by perry on July 17, 2008 at 3:17pm
I live in Birmingham but was raised in Mobile. I have been to the Rattlesnake rodeo you mentioned and remember it the same way you describe. I think I might have been 10 but it still was just a bunch of ignorant rednecks. Sadly, we southern have to put up with being grouped with these types.



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