I was raised as a christian - a Seventh-Day Adventist to be exact. I went to SDA grade school, SDA boarding academy, and SDA college. My family is SDA, most of my friends are or were SDAs. Even now that I no longer hold the Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs, I still consider myself an SDA.
This is not as bizarre as it sounds, and I will explain. First I have to give my friend Seth credit for making me realize this fact. I still consider myself a Seventh-Day Adventist because of my culture. For about 25 years I was deeply immersed in SDA culture. We were vegetarians, didn't drink coffee, alcohol was out of the question, and we went to church on Saturday. Friday nights and Saturdays after church were time for family and friends. That is part of my lifestyle. I even like it that way, even though I now know that there are other options.
Another part of the Seventh-Day Adventist culture is family feeling. SDA as a whole isn't a large group, and with the emphasis on education with in the system lots of connections are made. I could walk into nearly any church in the country and find some one who knew my aunt, or went to school with my grandpa, or were friends of people that attended the church where I grew up. I know it sounds sort of inbred, and in a way it is, but it is also kind of neat. There is something safe and comforting about knowing there are people you are connected to, and share a common background.
This is one of the reasons I still attend church occasionally. I think that church as a social club isn't too bad. If only that was all it was. I'm relatively new to the vocal atheist life, but I don't think there is sense of connection. It can be kind of scary and lonely to be an atheist.
What I'm trying to get at here, is that community is very important. I know it is important to me, and I suspect that it is important to nearly everyone. A recent post at Pharyngula addresses this somewhat. As discussed there in much more detail, one of the arguments against atheism is that religious people "in the United States are happier, healthier, longer-lived, and more generous to charity and to each other than are secular people," according to some sureys. The claim is this is a direct result of being religious.
There is a better interpretation. Think PZ says it best "It is community that benefits people, not religion."
I feel a need for community. It is one of the reasons I started to blog. It is a search for fellow atheist to connect with. I will also continue to be involved with my friends from church. Fortunately (as I said earlier) my relationship with my best friends even the more religious ones is not based on religion.