My name is Shawn, I just turned 19 in March and I am an Atheist.
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado to two Christian parents. I have only been a fully self-acknowledged atheist for about a year or so and I wish the I would have figured it out sooner and not have wasted my life following a fairytale.
My younger years were filled with me being absolutely devoted to Christianity. Going to Sunday School every Sunday, the actual church ceremony, and other church events throughout the week. As I grew older, my enthusiasm lessened but I still kept the "faith".
I would say things like "God, I know people don't pray to you like this but please help me." Well, as expected, nothing happened.
About the time that I was 16 I started to really doubt religion and everything my parents had forced onto me. It took me until I was 18 to "come out" to my parents as an atheist. My dad had the biggest look of disappointed in his eyes after I told him. My mother, was dismissive and wanted to shut me up. Fast forward one year later and we really don't get along much.
Why am I an Atheist? Because i'm interested in science and outer space. I could go on for ages about the certain things but one in particular can be summed up by Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot" writing. Voyager 1 in 1990 took a beautiful picture of what was a tiny barely recognizable Earth 3.7 billion miles away. My thoughts, which I have had before reading and watching Carl Sagan's piece is, " Earth is so small and unimportant in the vast universe. For humans to claim exact knowledge through religion of how everything came to be is asinine."
I feel like my life was wasted all those years of "believing". I'm so happy and feel more self-educated as a result.