Hello from California
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18-09-2012, 05:11 PM
Hello from California
Greetings posters,

I am a 42 year old male living in southern California since birth. I have 3 kids aged 22, 20 and 11. I am a Software QA Engineer for a chip manufacturer based in the US. I live in the part of southern California known as the Inland Empire.

I have been an atheist (still not 100% comfortable using the term yet) for an indeterminate amount of time. My best estimate is about 5-10 years. Let me explain: my transition from believer to non-believer remains fuzzy in my memory (along with many other things). I was apparently not entirely aware the process was occurring so it's difficult for me to draw a line somewhere.

I was raised by my mother, a moderately practicing Methodist. It's actually difficult for me to clearly recall how much I believed and how much I dismissed of what I was exposed to in my youth religiously. Later, when I attended a private school for "gifted" children (I felt like the stupidest kid ever at that school) I befriended some of the nerdier kids in the school. I wish I knew if I began to identify as atheist at that time because I wanted to fit in with them, or because I genuinely realized I did not believe. I wish I knew for sure, but I can't say with any certainty.

I chose to leave that school in favor of a public high school. Looking back, part of me regrets this decision, but in all honesty, as with many parts of my youth, this was motivated by my gonads. I wanted to meet girls who didn't associate me with geeks. Of course, my plan failed miserably. I was around plenty such girls at this school, but I was still a geek at heart....in 1986...when being a geek was still....well....geeky.

It was around this time my mother decided to start taking me to a church again. I honestly cannot recall what became of my decision that I was an atheist at that time. Again...gonads. I attended this generically evangelical church for a few years and truly recall beginning to feel as though I believed. I have very bad memories of my reactions to this belief. Late nights with no sleep worrying about what god thought of me, whether I would be possessed by demons if a fell asleep, etc. Not fun times. The only explanation I have for staying there and enjoying my time with the youth groups, again, has to be gonads. I recall being *very* attracted to a few of the young women there.

OK, granted the actual explanations are likely more complex, but I cannot deny that sexuality played a significant role. Why do I remember the women more than what I learned in any single sermon, youth retreat, bible study? But, I did make friends there.

Later, I went to a hospital for troubled teens. I have good and bad memories of that place. My good memories are all tied to experiences I shared with some of the other kids there. My bad memories are of feeling trapped, unwanted, broken, etc.

When I was released, I was still a believer. But, I had been exposed to a much broader array of beliefs. It must have got my mind spinning.

After that hospital I met the woman of my dreams. I am married to her still. She was only a moderate believer. At this time I was in what kids today would likely call a "goth" phase (yes mom, it was a phase, you can relax now). We did NOT call it goth back then, but that's another story. I had started attending a new church then. I had been introduced to it by some punk girls who knew I said I was a Christian. This was a church designed to appeal to lost kids. Local punk Christian bands would play there. And, what I didn't know at the time, but was later revealed to me by my later wife, was that the leader of this church was secretly exploiting the young women he was sheltering and also there were drugs being made at his house. I was apparently clueless.

Anyway, my soon-to-be wife and I got married and had our first daughter. This left me with no time for church. This probably represents the point at which my transition began. I began to live the secular life. I still attributed many of my thought processes to external forces for many years to come. It wasn't until a few years ago that I began to seriously consider the origins of the universe and how I fit into it. Apparently having a very long commute and no exposure to church-fed dogma is a healthy recipe for deep thought. But, it took my poor little brain many years, and finally reading books by Sagan, Dawkins, Hitchens and others for me to realize my ideas were changing. Seeing them written and explained so eloquently was inspiring. I saw in increase in the clarity of my understanding.

Only recently have I become comfortable referring to myself as an atheist. I think my mother suspects but she politely doesn't bring it up and I'm fine with that. I worry that if I were to be more open about it I would lose the tenuous bonds I have with family members I know are pretty religious. We already don't see eye to eye politically, why make things worse?

Anyway, that brings me to now. I first learned of this site through the podcast. I find Seth's story of deconversion to be inspiring. I've started posting in these forums for a couple of reasons: 1) to understand the others around me, 2) to (hopefully) make people laugh.

I hope to do one or both with any of you in the near future.

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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18-09-2012, 05:42 PM
RE: Hello from California
Hi there.

Did you take a year off?

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18-09-2012, 05:48 PM
Hello from California
I guess you're referring to how long it's been since last being active here. If so, yes, sir. I'm sorry I was slacking off on the job. It won't happen again.

One problem I have is that I tend to post mostly when I'm at work. Sometimes this happens in waves. Although I guess a year is a bit long. I get distracted easily?

Edit: after installing Tapatalk things may change. It's far more accessible this way. You don't mind that I'm posting from the toilet, right?

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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18-09-2012, 06:01 PM
Hello from California
Hey, I spent many a year living in the 951. Can't say I miss the smog and traffic, but I do miss the weather and Baker's. Thumbsup

(Actually I miss In-n-Out more, but had to go with the Inland Empire chain).

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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18-09-2012, 06:06 PM
Hello from California
(18-09-2012 06:01 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Hey, I spent many a year living in the 951. Can't say I miss the smog and traffic, but I do miss the weather and Baker's. Thumbsup

(Actually I miss In-n-Out more, but had to go with the Inland Empire chain).

Uh oh! What is this Baker's of which you speak and why haven't I been shown this place before?? I'm missing out on good food somewhere? O Travesty!

So, where do you live now? Why did you have to leave? Or did you already write all that in your intro? Perhaps I'll go look for that...

Edit: In-n-Out is hamburger genius is it not? Animal style or go home!

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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18-09-2012, 06:12 PM
Hello from California
Now I wonder if you're a charlatan?
How can you live in the IE and not know Bakers? http://bakersdrivethru.com/

But yeah, Animal style all the way.

I moved back to Seattle. I spent 20 years in Cali and eventually felt the need to move back to where I grew up.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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18-09-2012, 06:20 PM
RE: Hello from California
(18-09-2012 05:48 PM)Cardinal Smurf Wrote:  You don't mind that I'm posting from the toilet, right?

No shit!?!

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18-09-2012, 07:00 PM
RE: Hello from California
Welcome!

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20-09-2012, 01:20 AM
Hello from California
(18-09-2012 06:20 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(18-09-2012 05:48 PM)Cardinal Smurf Wrote:  You don't mind that I'm posting from the toilet, right?

No shit!?!

That hasn't been a problem for me in a while.

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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20-09-2012, 01:25 AM
Hello from California
(18-09-2012 06:12 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Now I wonder if you're a charlatan?
How can you live in the IE and not know Bakers? http://bakersdrivethru.com/

I see why now. The closest one to us is in Corona and they all spread north from there. We live near Lake Elsinore and don't go to McKinley off ramp too often. Usually just to visit Turners Outdoorsman. Next time we are up there I will check it out. Thanks!

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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