First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Ricardo Velásquez, I am currently 18 years old and I just finished highschool and I'm about to begin college.
I was born into the heart of a really catholic family in a little town named Antigua Guatemala, which during the time of the colony used to be the capital of my home country, Guatemala. I was raised under the religious principles of my parents, both of which were raised as roman catholics. I have lived, all my life, sorrounded by a majority of christians, and I believe that part of this is due to having studied since elemantary level in a catholic school, by choice of my parents of course. I was never a deeply religious person like the ones you see praising “the lord” every day, but I sure was certain that there was a loving father and that Jesus had died for us and that he was the only path to salvation. I never actually bothered to question these ideas because I never felt the need to do so. Even when my grandfather died a terribly painful death, which was a tremendous blow to my heart, I never dared question the concept of a loving God.
But as I matured I slowly realized how silly my believes could seem from an outsider's point of view. And this fact was later emphasized to me by one of my greatest english teachers mr. David Kincheloe. So I began to research and to really pay attention to what was supposed to be my faith. I was astonished to see how weak the evidence and arguments to support the idea of god were. It was more than anything, just wishful thinking. I can't deny that I was disappointed at first, but that didn't stop me from taking the first step towards emmancipation from religion, I became an agnostic. It was not that hard, I atribute my convertion towards agnosticism to simple common sense.
I lived with this uncertainty, barely satisfied with it, until last year. That's when I, by accident, happened to find what I would call the most life changing book that I have ever read in my entire life, The God Delusion. I read the first chapter online, and was greatly amused by it, so I bought it. As I read it, all of my uncertainty was being slowly erased and replaced by something better (even better than blind faith ), reason.
Today I can happily say that I'm a full atheist and when I look back at my past in a retrospective manner I laugh at who I used to be. Now my struggle is no longer with myself, but with my family and my friends.
My country, as well as many others, need more atheists, that's one thing I'm certain about.
José Ricardo de Jesús Velásquez Nájera, Guatemala.
P.D.: As you can see, my religoius upbringing reflects even in my name.