I was raised Catholic but with little to no reinforcement outside of my Catholic grade school and being in church on Wednesday for singing rehearsal, Friday for school mass and again on Sunday with the family. I was an alter boy so I was also able to witness the Stations of the Cross services. My first communion, my confirmation, the weekly rituals, the confessions were all part of a what felt like mindless ritual. After grade school I went to a public high school and religion was little more than an hour in church most Sundays and a hasty run through of Grace before dinner most nights. 'Bless us oh Lord for these I gifts which we are about to receive through Christ our Lord. Amen'. And yes it was 'I gifts' not 'our gifts'. Probably due to how fast my dad usually recited it.
By the way, my Catholic School had an accurate and truthful science class. And I don't remember any focus on Bible fundamentalism.
After I moved out on my own, I attended church for weddings, funerals, some holidays with family (C & E), but never on my own. I was one who probably described myself more than once as "spiritual but not religious". I had no objection to the concept of God. I just thought it was obvious that the truth was not possible for an Earthly mortal to ever know. I knew the Bible wasn't true and thought maybe it had analogies or moral-of-the-story type lessons that maybe God wanted us to know. I never wondered if the Earth might be 6000 years old or if let-there-be creation magic might have somehow happened. I allowed myself to consider that maybe deep time cosmological and biological evolution was just the time frame of reference for God. I never really cared to worry about it otherwise.
When I met my wife, I knew she believed in God and I still identified as spiritual but not religious. We never discussed God or religion and we didn't go to church so I assumed she was alot like me. I'm still not sure what changed but she suddenly decided she needed God. She started attending church every Sunday and wanted me to go with her. I tried but these were not the Catholic masses that would have felt familiar. Instead they were rock and roll assemblies of Christ with over the top, hand waving, breathy adorations, of fully emersed followers. And that appalled me.
I started questioning my wife's actual beliefs about the physical world and emersed myself in reading about how we know the age of the Earth and universe and how we have proved that evolution is a truth. I found amazing authors and you tube content creators. And I learned that atheist didn't mean certain belief of no God, which is what I originally thought (it seemed just as fooloish to proclaim there is no God as to proclaim there is one) but that you could be atheist and mean that you have no reason to believe there is a God.
I've become comfortable that life is a unique and precious thing, that morals are a contract and construct of societies and not objectively defined decrees. I've also become comfortable that's there's likely no afterlife (more than comfortable...I can't wrap my head around the concept of the monotony of eternity). A paradise afterlife sounds good on paper but if you really think about it then it starts to lose its luster. I imagine that's why we also have the concept of hell. Maybe an eternity in "paradise" is ultimately not that appealing so you'll follow us if we threaten an eternity in hell.
So here I am. I'm surrounded by more people who are Bible fundamentalists and science deniers than those that aren't. It's in my own house and I'm not really making progress...though I'm trying. I'm up against someone who believes in demons, witchcraft, deep state conspiracies, microchip mark of the beast, God's watching, listening, remembering and judging everything you do.
I see it in government as well and it frightens me that we don't have a commitment to dealing with reality.
It's time to put that all behind us as a society. Facts matter, truth matters and the people on this website are probably among those willing to live in reality and maybe together we can slowly convince others to stop ignoring facts. Someone who believes the Earth is flat is missing something and we need to understand what drives that level of denial, correct it, and move on with the work of fixing, improving, inventing, building and innovating towards a health, happy, prosperous future for everyone on this pale blue dot.