I am an Atheist because I was raised without religion and figured out pretty quick that it was silly all on my own. My parents are both Atheists, but when I was young, they certainly didn’t try and convert me to their beliefs. I believed in God as a child, in a private personal way in that I believed that I had come from “Heaven” and that I had slid down an invisible slide into my mummy’s belly. I discarded God before I even discarded Santa and with much the same calm sense of understanding, like an imaginary friend I had outgrown. My parents were always open to questions and my Father in particular was my favourite bouncing board for all the questions I had about religions, he answered my questions as clearly and accurately he could; needless to say none of it ever made any sense to me. I am 19 and I still have fascinating conversations with my Father, I have questions, he gives me the best answers he can, if I don’t know and he doesn’t know, and it wasn’t a half rhetorical philosophical/sociological question then I do what research I can; it’s that simple. I went to church for a while as an “adult”, so that I could join a choir, and I still don’t understand what all the fuss is about, a lot of frivolous mumbo jumbo really. I am a practicing Atheist; I do celebrate the big Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, except in a secular-almost-pagan way, celebrating the opportunity to be with family more than anything else. I am a third generation, non-theist and a second generation Atheist, no Grandma who tried to guilt me back into the faith, no parents threatening to disown me, I probably had a less stressful childhood than most, no fear of coming out to my parents (BTW I don’t actually intend to tell them as I am as of yet undecided but if I end up being serious enough with a woman to bring her home to meet the parents, I’m pretty sure they would roll with it) no confusion when learning evolution (in high school they had us divide into groups and each group would teach the rest of the class a section from the text book in the evolution unit—the video PZ posted on fish diversification in the Congo made a really good example—I totally rocked it) and most of all no fear of asking questions. Being an Atheist isn’t a bad thing especially when growing up, Atheist children are raised to think critically, to ask questions, to weigh social actions against social reactions as opposed to divine ones; In other words, I believe in thinking, I believe in learning, and I believe in not being a dick. Why do people have a problem with Atheists again?