At the age of 13 I was in confirmation classes for our local Catholic Church. I had previously left the Catholic school when I was 10 so the classss were required. The nun teaching the class instructed us that unless you were lucky enough to be born Catholic, you were doomed to hell. It didn’t matter what you did in life you were not getting into heaven. This invited not only myself, but the entire class. Some of the kindest people that I knew were not Catholic. I left Catholic school because the people were not kind to me, so how could this be true. The class threw example after example of people that we expected to go to heaven but the nun held firm that unless you were born Catholic you were not going heaven. That was the beginning of the end.
In college, I took a class on the Reformation by an expert professor. The class explored all the reasons groups broke off from the Catholic faith and how several other religions were started. I also took a class on non-western religions taught by a group of professors, each expert in a different culture/religion. These classes explained how different religions were formed at different times and under different circumstances. But all were created by men as a form of social control. One if the things that we studied was the bible as a historical document, a change from my Catholic upbringing. This document was a series of oral stories passed down from generation to generation, that were eventually written down. No doubt during the oral phase things were changed, think if the children’s game of Telephone. But even after it was written down, changes were made to the bible. I quickly came to the conclusion that as scientific and other accomplishments brought about more questions, men went back and changed things in the bible to fit better or explain away something. The bible was not written all at once, but changed and edited to suit the Catholic Church over hundreds of years.
This left me as being non-Catholic, but not quite aetheist. I begin to research more religions and the one theme I kept coming back to was the inequality of women in most major religions. And I thought why would any good create two similar beings, but treat one so much better than the other. This is when it hit me that religion was man made and not god made. Then I began to look at more if the history of religion and realize it was just man made, it was for social control. Many Catholic traditions are adapted from pagan and other rituals to make the conquering of the people more palatable. At this point it made sense to me that God did not exist.
Later in life I read Hitchens and Dawkins and loved them. God is Not Great, How Religion Ruins Everything was my favorite.