Image by Allie's.Dad via FlickrFrom Roger
Like all others here, I am joyous to see that this site exists.
The religious influence in my life was very minimal. My parents had us go to a Christian, Lutheran church until we reached a certain age to make our own decisions (basically, we stopped going before my teens). Additionally, I was very fortunate since the pastor at that church was very non-opinionated and open minded. If it weren't for him and his attribution that human kindness is inherent in all of us regardless of spiritual affiliation, I would have a deep seated hatred of religion beyond the ability of logical reason and understanding. He was very good at not always preaching, saying god, lord, Jesus in every sentence, or a constant thump of the Bible.
Why, you may ask, am I talking of this pastor so much? Well, it turns out that one person that attended that church often, sexually abused hundreds of kids, myself included. He was a devout Christian, crucifixes plastered everywhere, religious radio stations in constant play, and a virtual wallpapering of bible propaganda as far as the eye could see. I will not elaborate on the many assurances, various excuses, and 'copy and paste' bible references quoted, however, I will say that he, like many others, excused himself from 'sin'. As he saw it, what he was doing was the will of god.
So, if it were not for that pastor, I would have a greater disgust of religion than I already do. And I don't feel that I would able to see the many sides of the religious argument. But in the end, logic always wins, and I see no reason for religion except as a nostalgic sense of what people once believed.
By the way, I don't declare myself as atheist, agnostic, or anything for that matter. I'm a human living my life to the fullest extent that I am able. And I praise all those who have moved on beyond the superstitious cultism that is so heavily forced on us daily.