My parents are Christians. When I was a little kid, they told me there was a god. They told me he saw everything, they told me he would find out if I did bad things. They told me people who do bad things go to hell. They never told they couldn't be sure. For half my life, I've had my doubts about the way my parents raised me. I disagreed with a lot of their views, some of which were so twisted it made me sick to hear about them. I lost faith in my parents, and I turned to religion to see which of the things I learned were in fact true. I read the bible, and I tried to follow it rigorously. I even started taking part in loads of discussion here in the PRSI forum, mostly just desperately defending my own way of thinking. Needless to say, after a while, I started doubting what people at church told me, too. I looked at the people around me and saw that they, too, were desperately clinging to something they had created in their minds, far from anything that was actually in the bible, but of course very comforting for them with their almost always somewhat messed up lives. With what faith I had left, I started talking to atheist friends about religion. I had some very interesting conversations with very interesting people, and I sure learned a thing or two about metaphysics. But I also learned that if there was anything supernatural in this world, it was nothing like what any of the major religions make it out to be. At this point, the bible started making sense to me. I read it through the eyes of what I believed its author to be - a manipulative political masterminds, pulling the strings to set up an ever-humble, ever-obedient, easy-to-govern crowd that would exist for thousands of years, making the lives of the wicked a million times easier. I learned a lot in the last years. I'm happy to be able to call myself an atheist without feeling like someone will strike me dead the next second. But that's pretty much the only thing I'm happy about. I'm beginning to realize what a great life I could have had if my parents weren't religious. I feel so cheated, so robbed. Like someone took something away from me that I didn't even know I had. Most of all, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I wasted so much time believing in something that I created myself. I am ashamed that I was so delusional I thought everything was controlled by some divine power without ever having any evidence of its existence. And I don't mean hard evidence - I have none whatsoever! Last but not least, I am ashamed of the traces I've left all over this forum, spraying my delusional thinking on the walls and in skunk's face... I'm sorry, people. Will you welcome me into the good people club now?