Religion is not a topic most people like to talk about, for obvious reasons. It divides people all the time, even when they sort of belong to the same one. But I think about religion a lot, because I find it fascinating. It's the biggest influence on our culture, and not always for the worst.
I was raised pretty much agnostic, which seems to be a good way to go in my view. Nobody ever told me there was or wasn't a God, although I had very little belief in one. I had vague beliefs about a force like something out of _Star Wars _or ghosts out of paranormal movies/TV shows.
When I was in my late teens I had what could only be called an existential crisis - an intense realization that this was it, that once I died there would be no trace of me. I fought this by dabbling in Christianity, but it didn't completely stick. But I can't say I had any bad experiences with Christianity - no abuse, no fear of hellfire.
Right now I consider myself an existentialist/pagan/Buddhist/Christian. I'm an existentialist in that I think what we do here and now is more important than what we believe. I'm a pagan in that I respect nature as a force in itself (not neccesarily magical). I'm a Buddhist in that I like the idea of accepting the present as it is (although I'm not always good at it).
Christianity? That's the hardest. I don't believe in the cliche of the "zombie magical Jew" that has cropped up online. I believe in the teachings of a Jewish mystic turned revolutionary prophet who preached nonviolence, love, and equality. My Jesus wouldn't be blessing US troops; he'd be at Zucotti Park with the occupiers (although hopefully not in a drum circle. ugh).
I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I just want them to understand that for me religion is all about seeking social justice and equality and all the good stuff that people believe in here.
Can we at least agree that The Amazing Atheist is a colossal asshat?
Edit: I had no idea my views on drum circles would be so controversial!
ETA: I looked back and saw I used "asshat," a word I'd criticized others for using. I apologize.