I am an atheist for many reasons but I think the one that possibly sealed it from a young age happened one Sunday when I was a child. The sunday school “teacher” asked all the kids present to write down the initials of the person who was their best friend on a piece of paper. One by one we were asked to read out what they had written and one by one each and every one read out J C. It happened that there was one girl there with the initials J C.
“Wow, she’s popular” I thought. It came my time and I read out “T E”, my best friend at school at the time. It seems J C was a different J C. The sunday school teacher suggested that surely Jesus Christ was my best friend and to think of all the things he had done for me.
I probably looked a bit dubious as I nodded. Anyway I spent some time after trying to think of all the things that J C had done for me and I could not think of any. Thank you Mr sunday school teacher for helping me to begin thinking critically about religious faith.
I doubt I was in danger of becoming religious anyway, my father loved to argue with the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they came to the door. My mother, who is private in her religious beliefs, only dragged us to church to please her mother. I did spend a lot of time pondering the possibility of gods and called myself agnostic for a long time (in the original sense coined by Thomas Huxley). I held off calling myself atheist because I had been reading advocates in newsgroups declaring with certainty that god didn’t exist. To me that was as illogical as declaring that god did exist. Hence why I settled on agnosticism for a while, not being able to “know”. Eventually it just came down to probabilities and the realisation that atheism is simply a lack of belief in god(s). And the multitude of other reasons… nonsense stories obviously concocted by humans, terrible persecutions carried out, ridiculous stretches of reality, laughable contradictions, etc.