I don't generally write much about my religious upbringing or how I came to leave the church and ultimately Christianity; it's a hard subject to tackle sensitively. It doesn't matter what angle I come at it from, someone is going to be hurt - either by generalizations I make, or perceived (and some not perceived) judgments, or just by the fact that I no longer believe what I once believed. There are those that would be deeply hurt by me simply stating that I do not believe in god anymore... I can't avoid that.
The header here lists several labels under which I identify, which include "former christian" and "secular humanist". A couple of years ago, it said "former religious zealot" instead. At the time, I found it to be a hilarious declaration, but ultimately decided it was an immature way to express my departure from the church/faith. I found out later that while my mother found the first label to be slightly distressing, she was actually hurt more by what I changed it to, as it had lost its humorous cadence and had become serious and blunt.
I know several people who were brought up in christian families who left those beliefs behind, piece by piece, as they grew up and changed and got in touch with their true selves, deep down inside. It can be a hard thing for a parent to hear, I'm sure, that those things you taught your child as truth, that you hold to be true yourself, they no longer believe. I can't imagine how that must feel, but I have to be true to myself.
I find lots of comfort in the music of David Bazan, a former christian who fronted the band Pedro The Lion and has continued making music after denouncing christianity. The way he talks about his own former faith is something I understand. He introduces this performance with, "a lot has changed since I wrote this song, but it's an interesting document." Considering the subject matter of the song, I actually find it much more relevant and poignant when sung from a place removed from the original message of the song. If you're not familiar with his work, I suggest you get familiar, because he is a gem.