I just wanted to introduce myself (if anybody cares) and mention that I'm so glad I found this web site! One of my favorite groups on MySpace was the "Saved From Christianity" group. Then one day it was gone. I don't know if the owner got fed up with it one day because of all the people criticizing it (like one self righteous b... who compared them to Nazis) or if it was deleted by the MySpace gods because they thought it was prejudicial towards Christians...but, whatever the reason, I missed it.
So I'm really glad I found this web site. I know some people consider it prejudicial to criticize other religions but I think it's completely fair when you used to be brain-washed by that religion and wasted half your life because of it's nonsense. I also think it's fair to criticize it when it promotes prejudice and intolerance.
As for me, I was a devout "born-again" Christian from age 13 to my early twenties. I was totally into the witnessing thing, "laying on of hands", casting out demons, dancing in the aisles, being slain in the spirit, speaking in tongues, etc. It's hard to say exactly when I became no longer "born again". I drifted away from it gradually and it wasn't until my late 30s that I finally started calling myself a non-Christian. My reasons for drifting away from Christianity are that I just started to see more and more contradictions. In particular, reading the Old Testament with a more critical eye, it appeared that the god of the Old Testament was thoroughly evil. As a Christian, you can't even think of such things so you come up with all kinds of rationalizations for the atrocities committed by the god of the old testament, but as I saw more and more illogic, I was finally able to recognize it.
Probably another reason is, that I saw my brother and his wife totally screw up their lives and the lives of their children while they were devout "born again" Christians. Shouldn't god have helped them instead of screwing them up? I guess not. They seemed to get more and more hateful and intolerant as the years passed. To hear them talk, you would think that we should actually torture criminals and nuke Muslims.
At this point in my life, I am completely convinced that there is no omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, good deity. If there is a deity in control of this universe, then it is either evil or doesn't care about us or pay attention to us. Actually, one theory I have is that we only exist so that he can consume our souls when we die :-) J.K.! But then again, you never know! One of these days I'm going to start a web site called www.godeatspeople.org :-) Actually, now that I've mentioned it, I'd better go grab the domain right now before somebody else scarfs it up!
As to the question of the supernatural: I was born very gullible, naive and superstitious. I've worked very, very hard to re-train myself to be more logical and scientific in my thinking. Because of that, I force myself to never believe in anything. Period. I only think in terms of probabilities and never trust my own feelings or intuition. It's only when something's been thoroughly scientifically proven that I'm willing to accept it. That being said, there have been enough interesting events in my life that I think there is a slightly greater than 50/50 chance that there is something that we would call supernatural (though only because we don't know how it works yet). I really want there to be a supernatural and an after-life so I have to constantly force myself to re-evaluate my beliefs.
As to the question of deities? That's one that's still completely open for me. I don't even assign a probability to it at this point. I do know that I constantly "feel" the presence of other beings around me and often feel as if some of them are communicating with me. I never get the sense that any of them are "gods" though. There is one in particular who seems to infuse me with energy. Long before I knew anything about most mythologies, I "heard" "her" say, "I am the wind" and she seemed to associate "herself" strongly with the north wind. One day, a long time ago, I wrote a computer program to generate "random" words for my Dungeons & Dragons game. One of them leaped out at me and I used this word as the name for this being that I commune with. In researching mythology many years later, the Egyptian goddess Amanauter seemed to fit her very well. I also saw some resemblance to the Sumerian/Babylonian deity Ninlil.
I have an inner need to "revere" some kind of deity, but to me, there is no sense of inferiority nor a desire for submission. In some ways, I think of myself as her protector. I see her as having a kind of wisdom and knowledge that's superior to mine yet she has a vulnerability that requires protection from humans. Perhaps something like a child Princess who compels me to kneel before before her because of her kindness, gentleness and beauty.
Ok, I'm whacked! I don't care! At least I don't actually believe it...even if I sometimes act as if I do ;-)
P.S. I also sometimes have a bizarre sense of humor (in case you hadn't guessed it from the Bunny with the pancake on it's head ;-)