I hadn't realised until recently that I have always been an Atheist by
choice. And I was very lucky because I did have a choice. My Mum is Church of England to the point of stereotype. My Father, who passed away when I was 17, was completely a-religious. Looking back he was an atheist but I can never remember him telling me this directly. He never stopped me going to church with my mum but he never came along as well. I recall with great affection the long post-church chats I used to have with my father about the world and the way he viewed it. An unusual and fortuitous balance.
I was baptised as a baby, I don't remember it of course, but I'm told I howled and cried so loudly my sister had to take me outside, obviously my soul really wasn't up for grabs even then. I was confirmed at 14. I did this for two main reasons. Firstly to placate my mother but secondly and more importantly while there were 2 other boys in the confirmation class there were 18 girls, enough said.
I recently asked my mother what she thought about Charles Darwin and
evolution. Her answer surprised me but really summed up her world view in a nutshell, “Oh why did he have to go and confuse things?”.
What I found after reading The God Delusion was that it gave voice to a lot of ideas that I already had, while also formalising their structure into a more coherent philosophy i.e. Atheism. It also lined up the many different arguments against the existence of God and for the operation of natural selection in a way that makes me far more confident when it comes to discussion of the non-existence of God.
I was lucky, my choice was real and rationalism won out over superstition. If you are struggling with this choice my advice would be square up to the real world, take a deep breath and relax, God isn't looking over your