God and religion were not a part of my upbringing, my parents are agnostic/disinterested. School Christmas plays and religious instruction at a young age passed over my head – I never questioned the story of the Noachian flood, but recall being worried about the amount of mud there’d be afterwards. It was only at the age of about 16 that I realised there were religious people out there and they had an impact on my life. My AD&D group fell apart under pressure; I actually listened to the occasional sermon I had to attend; friends’ parents imposing biblical rules on their children.
So having realised there was something to worry about, I did. The Gideons gave me a bible (thank you) and I read it – didn’t do much. At about the same time, my brother was ‘born again’ and I spoke with his friends. They told me how wonderful it was, if only you made the leap of faith (and held on to it). I tried in my head – nothing.
Then university and a girlfriend who tried her hardest to help me understand. I loved her. I wanted to share her experience. We went to church together. We talked about Christ and how important he was to her. I could see how happy it made her. Still nothing clicked inside.
An attack of utter exhaustion alone on a mountainside made me pray seriously for the only time in my life. Give me strength, I need to be able to move. Please. Nothing. Gradually with the rest, I regained enough energy to walk the last few kilometres to the mountain hut. No vision or burning bush led me there – only me.
Sex, drugs, rock & roll, education, politics, friends, enemies, enthusiasm, laziness, joy, hurt, desire, love all had an impact on me then and still do to this day. Influences were and are everywhere. They all have a memory, an effect, a cause. God on the other hand – nothing.
That was over 20 years ago now. There’s never going to be a sign is there?
Since then Richard Dawkins & Pharyngula showed how agnosticism has no basis and led me to understand why that is important. Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond and a scientific education taught me some of the things that can be explained rationally. Talk.origins revealed the opposing forces of imbecility. Intellectually, I am an atheist because there is no god necessary to explain anything. Emotionally, I am an atheist because there was no god to give me the revelation I looked for as a young adult. I am an atheist because there is no god.