What religion did you grow up with? Did you have positive or negative experiences with religion?
I consider myself very lucky, as my parents didn’t raise me with a particualr faith. Especially as it could have ended up going a bit screwy. You see, my mother’s side of the family were Jews from Germany, her father was put up for adoption for this reason and the resulting family that brought him over to England were less strict. This is also part of the reason that we had nothing - the family line comes from money, good money, but everything was left behind during the war. Damn Nazis.
So my mother’s side were Jewish and my paternal grandmother is a Jehovah’s Witness - that special kooky kind of Christian that doesn’t do birthdays or Christmas and goes door to door to spread the word of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses feel it is their duty to convert non-believers and other Christians alike, but as far as I can recall, gran never attempted to do this with me or my younger brother, at least not overtly.
Despite this, and despite going to a public, non-faith school, there was a lot of prayer at school and we would also attend Church with Christian family members. It was an open and accepting Church that my dad liked us attending as it was more about the values than the fire and brimstone. I must confess, I hated Sunday services and Sunday school. When secondary school age came around, I was still attending their youth group and dad sent me back to church for a bit so that I could get into the local faith school - not only was this incredibly insincere but I had exactly zero desire to attend a faith school. Looking back my only regret regarding my Church attendance was the fact I lacked the intellectual curiosity to make the most of it. When I did make a return to Church - attending a Baptist Church service with a friend at 13 - I was at the awkward point with my atheism that I didn’t want to give it the time of day. I wasn’t prepared to listen to broaden my understanding of faith from the inside. Part of me wishes I’d gone back, but I never did.
I guess my experiences with religion were mostly positive, but I still couldn’t buy it. It just didn’t sit right with me.