I have a long history of fascination with religion. I was raised Lutheran, but it wasn't unusual for me to attend services with friends of other denominations, I was curious: "why are there so many variations of what is supposed to be the same religion?"
That curiosity has played out for my entire life, with a few pauses. I questioned faith at an early age but mostly dismissed asking the hard questions. As an adult, I was secular, I didn't really care much about anything other than having a good time, it wasn't until the 90's that I thought deeper about believing in the supernatural and concluded that I could not legitimately call myself a Christian.
I made the leap to coming out as an atheist around 2006; I was separated from my wife (who took our kids), I had a lot of time to reflect on my life. I became politically frustrated with the world around me and was at a point of clarity to see the harms that relion has caused, and could no longer be idle or silent about.
Currently, I am a single father, I regained custody of my sons in 2009, two of which are adults now, my youngest is 17. I traded activism in the atheist/agnostic community in 2010 to do something more winnable - legalizing marijuana in Washington State. While there is still much work to do in reforming drug laws and the justice system, I am ready to redirect my energy back into atheist/humanist causes.
I belong to two local groups for atheists and skeptics (consisting of mostly the same people). We have meetups at least a couple times a month and I am elated to be surrounded by so many intelligent and caring people; listening to personal stories of how we all came to a common conclusion is fascinating, and in some cases, heartbreaking.
I have come to realize that we need to be a support network for those that are just starting to question their faith; to be a voice to let them know "you are not alone". For those that have lost the sense of community or family, we have the ability to fill that void while making good friends in the process.