First when I was a de-bunker I thought I was practicing skepticism. I wasn't.
I was practicing angry resistance towards a former set of beliefs that once were my core truths which I came to see as contradictory to their claims because I came to see these core truths needed to operate in half-truth or lies to assert absolute truth.
I was pissed off at myself for my credulity and ashamed at what I saw as unintended arrogance wrapped in undeserved piety.
I was also pissed that my set of beliefs put me in relationship with people who were active lobbyists to deny scientific truth, racial bigots and lobbyists for institutions claiming honest inquiry which upon investigation were revealed to be spin doctors for Judeo-Christian theocracy.
So I unofficially joined the skeptics community listening to podcasts like Point of Inquiry, Reasonable Doubts, The Bible Geek, and Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot. And joining blog communities at Debunking Christianity, Why Evolution is True, and Common Sense Atheism.
The problem that I've encountered is that my anger-fueld rhetoric is unsupported by an advanced understanding of nuanced theology or philosophy yet I tried to engage arguments that had a facility for these things and just fed my anger.
I became burnt out.
Last weekend I listened to the latest Point of Inquiry podcast where Joe Nickell was interviewed and he spoke of his work with Skeptical Inquirer magazine and made a distinction about being a skeptic of supernatural claims vs. a debunker of supernatural claims.
A skeptic accepts with neutrality the supernatural claim made by the believer and then designs tests to estimate the probable validity of that claim while the debunker comes to a supernatural claim with a bias that assumes all supernatural claims are derived from idiotic special privilege.
Nickell said that he once was the latter but has found the former more enjoyable and one need not risk epistemic contradiction to claim atheism or agnosticism towards supernaturalism while entertaining a real joy in investigating and learning the basis for the supernatural assertions.
The question is not if supernaturalism is real but what drives people to believe it is real.
Becoming a skeptic allows me to admit that biblical literalism, Reformed Christian theology, and Roman Catholicism fascinate me. I don't think the claims made by any of those entities are phenomenologically true but am open to vetting arguments from those that do and then investigate if the assertions made have the truth stated.
I find this position is less stressful without me abandoning the epistemic breakthroughs I've made as I've become a Calvinist Christian apostate while allowing me to enjoy being a student of the supernatural, theology and philosophy.
I might even avoid stepping in unintended arrogance or undeserved piety in atheism, unlike my experience as a believer.