I wanted to write this to clarify where I stand today (beginning of 2017). I've actually wanted to write this for a long time but just haven't been able to get myself motivated enough to sit down and do it. I have been asked about my religious proclivities and so I want to write this to help everyone understand the way I view myself in this world.
Let's start with a very quick history. I attended a private Christian school until 3rd grade. I was also raised Catholic from around 4 years old until I graduated high school with varying degrees of attendance at services. In high school I was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and even had the symbol for that inscribed on my high school class ring.
It was in my senior year of high school and my first year of college that I lost my faith. It started when I was attending a church as part of an FCA function and I was urged to say that I was saved and to go to the front of the church. I felt something inspired or something but then it also felt extremely fake or induced. Then in college as part of a humanities course I was actually tasked with reading the book of Genesis and the contradictions in a single book of the Bible started to wedge even more doubt. Then I was exposed to people of many different cultures and religions. I was also exposed to the more evangelical preachers that would come to campus and berate the students for their dress or their lifestyle.
After losing my faith I didn't really think about religion over the years. I would fake it to fit in when people said grace or when in a church for a wedding. About 15-20 years ago I really started thinking more about religion in regards to my life. I would probably that I initially labeled myself as an agnostic but now I label myself as an agnostic atheist. Now I'll describe those terms as I have come to define them in my life.
Someone that claims to be agnostic is someone that does not know that there is a divine being or supernatural force that is involved with this world. The word "know" is the operative word in this definition. This does not mean believe. This doesn't mean strongly believe. This means that the person knows something to every extent that can be observed or measured. I can say that I believe the Easter Bunny exists but I can't say that I know the Easter Bunny exists without seeming like I have a mental condition. If a supernatural being materialized in front of me and said hello then I could switch my position of this issue. Until then there is not enough credible evidence of the existence of a supernatural being. With that said I believe everyone that is not suffering from a mental disorder regardless of religious affiliation is also agnostic. Yes, I am including those of strong faith in their particular religion as being agnostic as they do not know that their particular divine being(s) exist.
So now that we have established the existence of a supernatural being clause we can move on to the matter of faith. Here is where the religions of the world diverge. Most religions have some sort of deity or supernatural force that compels the devotion of their followers. As I don't see any evidence for any supernatural being then it follows that I wouldn't prescribe to any religion and that is how I describe atheism. I am a-theist as in I am not a theist. I am not anti-theist nor am I currently a strong atheist. I just don't know there is a God nor do I believe there is a God. Again, if a supernatural being materialized in front of me and asked for my devotion then I may have to reconsider my current position. But considering that a supernatural being probably could have assisted in making mankind's life better over the centuries then I would probably say no.
I hope that clarifies the way I label myself. I have other thoughts on religion and it's place in society but I'll leave that for another time. Please leave comments/questions.