Atheist from the NE of England
Yes, another Brit!!! And a Geordie as well. "So nee one is gaana understan' mee. Aye a dee taak like that!"
Atheist background: Basically I from a family of Atheist/Agnostics. My Dad and brother are Atheists. When I was young religion was never mentioned so any belief I did have at an early age came from school. I was never forced to go to Church, so didn't. However what really made me question God, came from a kid at school when I was 9. (I was in Junior School, so don't know the equivalent grade in US). It was after assembly and the teacher was going on about the relevancy of 'All things Bright and Beautiful' and the wonder of the Lords work. When this kid piped up 'How man Miss A think that's rubbish I mean I diven't beleeve in aal that clap trap like.' (I'm paraphrasing so it's in Geordie.) She was shocked and tried to explain why he should not believe that a creature as complex as a Blackbird could be anything other than a creation of God.
Well this got me thinking, and thinking, and eventually I came round to his way of thinking. This before we'd heard of Darwin. It was then I stopped believing, but it wasn't until RE at High School aged 12 that I found out there was a word for me and that was Atheist. I have always been open to the fact if somebody could produce Scientific proof of God, I would convert. However, and I even dated the daughter of a Methodist vicar, (instead of converting me they managed to push me further away from Religion), I find no such evidence.
The closest I've come to a Messiah is Kevin Keegan. Well at least I know he exists, although he is fallible. 12 Point lead and we still lost the title!!!
One other story, every Xmas the school would have to go to St George's Church in Cullercoats for the Xmas service. I made a bet with a few class mates that God didn't exist and I could prove it. How did I prove it. I said in the house of the Lord surely if I was blasphemous, then God would strike me down or at least cause a tile to land on my head. So in ear shot of my mates inside the church, I looked to the heavens and said "God you Fuckin' bastard'. Nowt happened and I won the bet. Happy days!