I think on some level I always was, at the very least, agnostic. The moment that led me to really question religion happened when I was 13. I was working at a preschool in the office. It was my first job and I was so proud of myself! One of the people who worked there was a pastor. There was one other girl my age who worked there and we were required to have a “counseling session” with him.
He said a little prayer and then said we could ask him any questions we had. Now, I have always been a science lover and at the time I was studying the Big Bang Theory. I told him that I was having a hard time reconciling the Big Bang with religion. He stopped me before I could even finish the question. He said “That’s stupid! That’s like me saying ‘Bang! This pen exists!’”. I honestly couldn’t believe anyone could say something that ridiculous.
After that, I started researching different religions and delved deeper into science too. I was still going to church mainly because friends and family were pressuring me to go. One day in Sunday School (I was about 18 at this point), we were talking about different religions and how they were wrong. I asked the teacher were people of different religions at least half-way right because they believed there was a god. She said no because their gods didn’t exist. She also said that their gods weren’t real because they had no proof of them. That statement bugged me the whole day. People from other religions could call mine false for the exact same reason and we had just as little concrete proof as they did.
Even though I realized that there was no proof that any god existed, I was still a Christian. All those years of going to church instilled in me a fear of hell that wouldn’t go away easily. I was terrified that if I said I didn’t believe in God, my soul would be damned to hell. That’s a lot to put on a kid.
For the next three years I studied different religions. At different points I considered converting to Judaism and Islam. The more I studied different religions, the more atheism/agnosticism popped up. I would always hear Christians talk about how illogical atheism was. I decided to research it for myself to see what they were talking about. The more I read, the more I agreed with the atheists. I was about 5 months pregnant when I finally came to the conclusion that I was an atheist. Leaving organized religion was probably the best thing I’ve ever done. I do not regret my decision at all.