Man, Baton Rouge, USA
I grew up in western Washington State, steeped in Pentacostal upbringing, devout in my teens, all-the-more because I was afraid of my budding same-sex attractions. Studied the Bible carefully on my own, was exposed to very different views by virtue of an exchange year to Germany, followed by secular College. Before I was out of college I had tossed it all; it went in stages, because the belief system had been drilled into me and was a big part of my identity; to throw that out all at once was way too scary. I first left the church for mountain of hypocrisy I was seeing and, by my mid-teens, was seeing throughFull Bio
Second, by the start of college, I had learned enough of the history of the Bible and had read and thought about the content so much that I finally couldn't escape the realization that the Bible was contradictory to itself, factually inaccurate, and even morally bankrupt in many passages; in short, NOT the infallible word of God that Christians claimed it to be. Finally, before I was out of college, I had finally overcome the fear of damnation for not believing in God, came to see that my entire conception of God was learned by human church and human scriptures I had already figured out were deeply flawed. I was then at last able to let go of that mythical belief. That was the hardest, the fear of eternal punishment in case my disbelief turned out to be wrong. I finally realized, crucially, that the idea of God as omniscient, omnipotent, and all-loving was simply incompatible with the wrathful, vengeful God idea peddled by Christianity. If I was made by this deity to be fallible, limited in my capacity for understanding, and prone to make mistakes, what kind of God would punish for eternity for sincere doubt that arises from my simply being as "he" made me to be? It is an oxymoron, an impossible contradiction. That realization finally let me escape the control of the paradigm.
Professionally: I studied archictecture, then sociology in undergrad college. Got my masters in social work in 1994 and have been a Masters level social worker ever since, and for the past decade I have worked directly in mental health as a psychotherapist and addiction counselor. Interesting work; I have to be very diplomatic and circumspect about my own beliefs/thoughts, so a chat group is a nice pressure relief valve.
Personal: Married to a woman 25 years,(guess I am one of those only "mostly gay" people, lol) now divorced; we remain friends; father of one teenager. I had one (politically conservative, devoutly Roman Catholic, and mostly closeted) boyfriend for a few months who turned out to be a not great match--obviously.
I have now (since early 201 been seeing someone WAAAAY more in sync with me--atheist, professional academic about my own age, not into the bar scene, even similar food preferences, and so far it's going great!