I'm from Eugene originally, and have lived in the Portland area. What does it feel like to be a christian in that neighborhood? Isn't a bit too liberal for you? Just wondering.
Anyway, the first thing you need to understand is that we never get any two christians with the same set of beliefs. So right now one of the things the others are doing is trying to figure out where the heck you're coming from. Are you a fundy, liberal, literal, metaphorical, etc. It usually takes us awhile to put newbies into an appropriate category so that we don't end up arguing about the wrong things. Thirty some posts isn't often enough. So confusion will continue to reign for a little while.
You do seem to be hung up on the nothing thing. Which, to me, means that your sense of incredulity is driving your beliefs. I personally find everything to fantastic that I have no way to believe any of it, except for the part that the scientific explanations, when available, seem to do a pretty decent job of making sense of things. Like evolution, geology, star formation, orbits, etc. And because they have a fairly decent track record, overall, I tend to assume that we will eventually figure out the really big questions, like where the heck did we come from? In the meantime, I do not consider the question answered, and I doubt that it will be in my lifetime. Which, although a bummer, is not enough of a mystery to cause me to go all religious on my neighbors.
Right now, for instance, some physicists are seriously considering the possibility that black holes spawn universes within them. Weird, I know, but the math shows that that is one possibility. Which would mean that we don't spring from nothing, but rather from a whole lot of very compact stuff. That goes out into the new universe, makes new black holes, and perhaps more universes. And we are just in one of them. That of course doesn't explain where the stuff came from originally, but I, for one, have never been in the mood to go to the fallback position of claiming that a god last heard from 2,000 years ago is the logical source.
I would suggest that rather than dwelling on the nothing question, you look around and see how much sense you can make of things that seem to exist. Can you make enough sense of our apparent reality to make a god fit nicely? Can you make enough sense out of your god to make him fit into the reality we have right now? Are the christian claims about him consistent with what you experience? And are you sure about that? Can you be sure about that? Can you be sure about anything?
Science has proven that you can't breed a striped goat by breeding it in front of a striped stick. I consider that more impressive that flood claims, walking on water and/or scary armageddon stories. Subdued flu epidemics, storm forecasts that allow people to evacuate threatened areas, tiny frickin' chips that I can put in my camera that hold 64 gigs of photos: those are all things that people unawed by shepherds stories have accomplished. Yes, some that participated in the discoveries required also believed in a god, but they weren't so astonished by the questions so as to ignore reality and not build on known knowledge.
So if you could figure out why you are what kind of christian you are (in preparation for discussing stuff with us) and then give us an overview of your version of that religion, we could then get into some serious discussions.
Atheism is simple. Beliefs are not. We need your take on your version before meaningful dialogue can take place.