Hello, my name is John and I have truly begun to delve into what it means to be an atheist.
I was raised in a somewhat strange family setting where my mom was a science teacher, but we believed in God and the bible. I never went to church as a kid, but was always told god is watching and god is real, etc, along side everything that goes with science. I never really questioned if god existed or not until I left my "nest" and lived on my own at college. There on my own and I dare say with some of my friends views I began to see that my two conflicting upbringings could not co-exist. It was a really odd place to be in and one I kinda felt as if I was betraying my family by going to. I no longer believed in god and the bible, but I did not want to announce it or debate any family member. I was stuck in this pseudo atheistic position with no real outlet or kinship for my new found position. I stayed this way until very recently.
If I could point to a single moment when I decided to strengthen my atheist views it would be somewhat embarrassingly to say when I watched Religulous. It was very bold and brass and I think it was what I needed to initially kick me out of my passive stance. I began to see some of the dangers of not only religious people, but people such and myself who weren't doing anything productive and staying on the sidelines. Then I was somewhat surprised that some people where very open about atheism. In my social circle no one openly debated or disputed god and it was shocking to see not only Bill but Ricky Gervais and others doing so, and doing well I might add. I write this only a week after I picked up god is not Great and the God Delusion. I am about halfway through both, mainly because I stop to look up many of their references and learn more about the theory's and events in the books. I also tend to stay up late at night to watch many of Christopher's debates, along with videos of Richard and Krauss. I am so new to these figureheads of Atheism that I just found only one of my newly found hero's or I should say teachers had passed away about a year ago. Mr. Hitchens had such a way about him in his words and debates that truly inspired me to not only learn more and be more active, but to seek out fellow atheists. That is what I am doing now in writing this email. I am not so much converting, but becoming active. I have heard getting atheists together is like herding cats, and many of us I believe are passive or at least unwilling to "come out".
I would like to help in this and help the movement in anyway possible. I know I live in a tough state to do this is in (Kentucky, yes home of that awesome museum.) But I look forward to finishing the books, reading more, and hopefully meeting Richard Dawkins. Thank you for making this site and I look forward to working with you!