Hi Kevin and thanks for the warm welcome. I'm thoroughly disturbed by religion in all honesty - especially the Abrahamic ones. I know America is sadly rife with it. A travesty for a country built on secularism and the pursuit of freedom. It's been suggested that it's actually because or at least partly due to that secularism that has allowed the religious hard selling free-for-all that you find yourself swamped in today. And I know atheists are thoroughly oppressed in America. At least you don't live in the Islamic world. The majority of Muslim scholars would have you killed for your apostacy.
I think we need to firmly protect the rights of the individual. Especially the rights of children to learn and to be given the necessary tools to think for themselves and to have the courage to question things for themselves, not to be intellectually neglected, emotionally abused and socially isolated.
I think that multiculturalism - at least as it is - is a fools game as it safeguards the perpetuation of culture and religion over the rights of the individual and the longer we sit on the slippery slope, the harder the climb will be when we finally decide to do something about it.
To answer your question, I consider myself a 'de-facto atheist' (since reading 'The God Delusion'*). Prior to that I considered myself Agnostic. There was little change in my viewpoint. The shift was largely semantic. I still freely admit that I don't know if there's a God or not. I don't claim to know anything (or if I do I'm happy to correct it) but the word or definition of the word - 'know' is (or should be) largely redundant. We need a concice word for 'believe beyond reasonable doubt' to begin with and then a few more to further define the various layers of that.
*Incidentally, Dawkins (who wrote the book) doesn't even consider himself a 100% atheist in that sense. He happily acknowledges that he doesn't know 100% that there is no God. It's just that the evidence suggests that it's a nonsensical idea that doesn't warrent further pursuit. I'd been led to believe that he was thoroughly up himself and to my shame, had this pre-conception of him before reading his books. He's certainly frustrated but not arrogant nor egotistical in any way as far as I can tell.
I'm 3/4 through 'The Greatest Show on Eatrh' currently. It's a fantastic book. I never realised just how much evidence there is to support evolution (as if we needed more). From geological to molecular clocks and tree rings. Not to mention the bonus of a vast quantity of surviving fossils, all of which - the isotopes, the tree rings, the fossils - all concur with eachother. Of course there's a vast quantity of evidence I've not mentioned with regards to DNA hybridisation and other methods to the same effect, tectonic plates, study of biological variation, experiments using bacteria and guppies that actually show the effects of natural selection/sexual selection before our eyes and the breeding of dogs, chickens and cabbages etc... and it's all thoroughly dissprovable but there isn't in all of the concurring evidence, one solitary suggestion to the contrary.
As for 'unconventional thinking' and free will; the closest thing I think we can get to the latter depends of the autonomy/sentiency of the individual. Reason is like religion without religion (or perhaps religion is like reason without reason). It's an all pervading force that is seemingly integeral to the foundations of existence. Omnipresent. Unlike the 'will of God' it has no deep seeded bigotry nor megolomania nor wrath nor jealousy nor any of the other things the Bible suggests are all part of His personallity.
If we allow reason into our lives - and given enough time I believe it's inevitable - we will discard our superstitions and society will harmonise.
Well that's my laymans rant anyway. I can't claim to be well educated - I went to the worst school in England which was burned down thrice while I was there and got shut down a year or two after my leaving (Joint worst with one other to be precise. I still have the newspaper cutting somewhere).
It's definitely time for me to quit typing.