I've been a visitor to the forums for quite a while now, but last night I decided to make the plunge and register. I am an Earth Science nerd, but my knowledge is admittedly small, though I try to learn a little more each day.
I'm an atheist, but I was raised in a Baptist home. Church attendance was never that big of a deal growing up, and we hardly read the Bible. My father has gotten decidedly more religious as he has aged, but I have taken an opposite route. I first started doubting my beliefs not long after I joined the military, and drifted between different sects of Christianity, Buddhism, and pagan religions for a few years. I guess I always had doubts, but I had a hard time voicing and exploring those doubts from the fears of disappointing my family and friends.
When my daughter began to learn about about space in pre-school, I sat down with her and began to explain some basic facts about the planets and stars, and began to do some more research myself. I don't know why, but discovering the recordings of radio waves emitted by the planets (Symphonies of the Planets
, if anyone is interested) made me feel a lot more comfortable about my beliefs, and inspired me to learn as much as I could about Earth and the solar system. I was never scientifically illiterate; I forecast the weather for a living (I am not technically a meteorologist, still working on a degree), but I felt there was much more to be learned.
That is pretty much me in a nutshell. I look forward to participating in discussions with all of you.