Hello, all. I arbitrarily decided a while back that I would do one of these intro threads before I hit 100 posts, and guess what? I just hit triple digits!
So, on with my intro:
I would classify myself as an agnostic atheist at present, but unlike many on this forum I have never been particularly religious, despite the fact that my mother got totally into church and basically made me attend from about age 5 to around 15. I came to the conclusion pretty early on (around 9 or 10, I suppose) that religion didn't make much logical sense to me, and thereafter rejected any and all religious dogma I encountered.
For most of my life, however, I did loosely believe in (a) god. To me, it was religion itself that didn't make sense, not god. I was one of those folks that would refer to themselves as "not religious, but spiritual." My father died when I was 10, and growing up I took a great deal of comfort in the notion that he was in heaven looking out for me, and that I would one day get to see him again. Never mind that, in life, he was at the least nonreligious (he refused to attend church with us, even when mom was at her most fervent), and was most likely an atheist. He was also a pursuer of good times, an abuser of substances, and fearless to fight any man who may have crossed him. My father would not have earned his way into the heaven espoused by most Christian sects, but I didn't believe in religion, so my old man was more than welcome in my own version of heaven.
For decades this is what I believed, that all the religions in the world were nuts, but my own ideas of an afterlife were OK. But I never thought about it in depth, in fact I hardly thought about it at all. It would never have occurred to me to ask a question like "Why won't god heal amputees?" because I was content to go along with my beliefs and not question things much further. Sound familiar?
I began to rethink (or rather, think in greater depth about) my beliefs after the awful Asian tsunami in '04. I watched video of a family, including several small children, being swept away by the waters and it affected me deeply. I wondered how god could allow such a thing to happen, for innocents to be killed by a random act of nature. What little "faith" I had at that point began to slip away. I started to research things and eventually found the WWGHA site. I lurked for quite a while before I finally created a profile and began posting.
I am very grateful to have found a place where rational debate is accepted and expected, and with so many great minds to add to any discussion. You all are an intimidating lot (I've never used spellcheck so much in my life!), but it is great to have a forum where the intellectual capacity of most of the participants is so high, and all are held to the same lofty standards. To that end, my hat's off to the few theists here that stick around and continue to post despite enormous opposition (welcome back, MM!).
My only complaint of this site is how often threads deteriorate to a battle of scriptural interpretation. I appreciate that so many members here are capable of debating scripture so thoroughly, but I am far more concerned with the logical fallacies of religious belief, such as:
1. The problem of evil.
2. The illogical nature of heaven and hell.
3. The illogical nature of any eternal afterlife.
4. The hypocrisy of religion, etc.
In any case, thanks to all for providing a great place to explore such ideas. I am very busy with work and family (hence my anemic posts-per-day rate), but I check in and post as often as I am able, and will be happy to answer any questions anyone may have.
Best - DF.