No, I was born into a very religious family. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness.
I despised my life under the thumb of the cult, and in researching it I discovered it was all nonsense. It was a short step from that conclusion to realizing that all other religions were also foolish, based on superstition that was in direct opposition to observable facts.
Yes. My parents read various myths to me as a child, including a children’s Bible, Hindu epics, and folk tales. We went to a Unitarian Universalist church a few times, whose pastor was a friend of mine, but neither religion nor the supernatural was discussed much at home. When I was in grade school, I invented some vague ideas about reincarnation that, in retrospect, resemble Hindu cycles pretty closely. In high school I was a strict (and vocal) materialist.
In college, I arrived at a sort of a new-agey spiritualism. Over the course of about five years, I slowly realized that the spirits I believed in were just useful fictions of my own invention, and now I’m an atheist again. I only asked my parents about their beliefs recently, and they’re atheists, but atheism doesn’t seem to be an important issue for them.
No, but religion was never discussed in my home and we didn’t go to church.
My parents were divorced when I was 5, and I lived thereafter with my mother, although I saw my Dad once a week. The only mention of religion I ever heard from either parent (that I can remember) was one comment by my Dad when I was a teenager. He said something approximating, “Just keep your Bible and your checkbook close at hand.” That’s it. I didn’t ask him anything about his statement because religion was irrelevant to me at the time.
When I was 6, I saw another kid praying and asked him what he was doing. I had never heard of prayer before so he explained it to me. For a year or so after that I had a standard almost-daily prayer – asking to be able to sit once more in the apple tree in the backyard of our old house. Nothing happened, so I gave it up and never took religion seriously again (except as a negative force in the world).
I’m originally from Scotland, with both parents from the Glasgow area, and they had the local equivalent of a “mixed marriage”. I had a mother who was moderately Catholic and a father who was mildly Presbyterian. My mother cared more, so I was taken to Catholic church, but even at a young age, I think I understood that they could not be the only way to go.
My mother died just before I turned 13, and within a year I had stopped caring about religion entirely. I didn’t actively pull away, and it wasn’t a reaction to her death; it was just felt normal to stop. It was part of growing up.