I have been an atheist since I was 12; my mom, in a fit of exasperation at yet another adolescent argument about why I had to attend mass, finally said, "Fine, choose for yourself." Of course, she never dreamed I would. I immediately denounced God as non existent and went on my merry way to find evidence of my convictions. Even though I believed to the core there is no divine being, I felt that I better have some proof. Well, I knew of evolution I didn't quite believe that science was enough (oh, to my shame) and sought out the philosopher's point of view. Our local library had Kant and Russell- so for a couple of years I tried to wade through those tomes; only understanding a fraction of what they were saying. Ultimately, I understood the science of biology better. It just made more sense. It made complete sense.
So, fast forward 31 years. I have learned to love science even more and religion even less. While I see the damage done by religion and the belief in supernatural deities, I also see that it can be completely ignored. Now here is the irony. I sent my two daughters to a Catholic elementary school. I happen to live next door to the school. It is convenient and makes my life easier from a logistical standpoint. Very easy. My daughters have no religion and have no belief in a god. Every day, despite 20 minutes of ridiculous catholic teachings, they come home, roll their eyes at it, and I tell them: There is no god.
Our house is filled with books on evolution, science, philosophy and art. Religion forms no part of their of happiness.
Are my daughters confused? Not at all. We have lively intellectual and satisfying discussions about things that matter — and god is not one of them. Instead the confused children are the "catholic" students who are amazed to discover that their good friends - my daughters - who are academically gifted, athletically inclined and socially capable are extremely happy and well adjusted NOT believing in a god.
which...is contrary to what the priests are saying.