||No disrespect intended-- I am honestly curious about what the definition of a "truthful atheist" is, as I'm merely familiar with the broader subcategories of weak and strong atheism ("one who does not happen to be a theist" and "one who denies the existence of any gods" respectively).
That having been said, I personally see the differences in leaving a religion, rejecting all religion and rejecting any gods. I agree that leaving a religion shouldn't be bounds for labeling oneself "atheist", and that perhaps some "so-called atheists" (skeptics is probably the more honest description) believe that they are so due to rejecting religion (which is, in my opinion, merely a human invention with very little spiritual input). I did happen to come from one of those families with a "rich inheritance of religious education", which in hindsight attributed greatly to my atheism--but not because of a negative religious experience. I became skeptical of theism long before the social experience of following a religion grew tiresome--but I rejected religion long before I rejected the existence of any gods.
loginadequacy, I have been pondering that dilemma for a while now. I am a strong atheist, my fiancÚ is a skeptical agnostic, and we both come from intensely religious families. I ponder how to allow our future children to mature with their own personal insights on this topic intact without overt influence from either side--and by that example, I can sort of see what you mean by "truthful". I know that I am atheist in part due to my religious upbringing--more due to realizing the contradictions and illogic inherent in theism than anything else. In that sense I am grateful I was raised to be theist, as it helped me to form my own conclusions on what I didn't believe. But I know plenty of strong theists who were raised in both religious households ad non, and atheists who had similar experiences. As there are many factors in developing a theist or atheist belief-system, it is incredibly difficult to predict the final outcome--everything can be influential, not just simply raising a child with one particular belief-system in place. The best bet is educating the child with an open mind to other philosophies, I think.
I have enjoyed reading Richard Carrier's contributions to infidels.org in the past, especially 'A Fish Did Not Write This Essay', so thank you for sharing this piece. I saw a great deal of myself in it--from the soul-searching that comes with accepting atheism, to the point of desperately seeking out different religions in order to find the "right one", to dealing with the threats and fear that come from living atheist in a fundamental society, to finally walking away from theism while keeping the positive humanist aspects of religion ethically intact. If anything it's a nice bit on insight on a recurring theme-- quite a few atheists were once religious, and some of them left the fold for good reason.
P.S. My apologies for the long post. :)
Your denial is beneath you, and thanks to the use of hallucinogenic drugs, I see through you. Bill Hicks