Raised Anglican. Never could get my head around it and could never understand why God was an old man with a beard sitting in the clouds (I hate beards *shudders*) and then when my parents got divorced (I was 7) the vicar came around and screamed at my mum that she was the spawn of the devil and that she would go to hell if she divorced my father who was a good Christian man and Jesus had forgiven all his sins. Surprisingly that had quite a lasting effect on me seeing as I couldn't understand how Jesus could love a man who raped his daughters, beat up his wife and children and stole half a million pounds in total from his vulnerable elderly clients (he was a corrupt solicitor) over my mother. I still went to church after that because mum still did (we moved 15 miles away) and being 8 years old I couldn't really say no especially as mum seamed happy at the church in the village. Oh how wrong I could be. There was a woman in this new church who was friends with my father and she spent two years befriending my mother and slipping in comments about my father until mum was convinced that she had to see him again to get closure. So when I was 9 she rang him up. The whole thing resulted in mum having a nervous breakdown and this woman getting her shut into the mental hospital even though all she needed was to be given £500 and told to go spend a few days in a spa. (That's what we (meaning my gran, brother, sister, aunt and I) wanted to happen but this woman got her way.) So mum was in the mental hospital for two weeks while this lovely woman and my father were trying to get me to say that I wanted to live with him. Yeah right! So anyhoo, Mum comes out of the hospital, realises what was going on and severed all contact with him and this woman straight away. This wonderful, incredibly Christian woman doesn't give up though: we ended up calling the police.
Surprisingly, I still went to church after all this (a different church: there's about 30 within 5 miles of where we live so we were spoilt for choice.) I actually really got into it (still had problems with the whole re-born again Christian thing for obvious reasons) and when I was 13 I wanted to be confirmed. Now to be confirmed you had to go on a 13 week Alpha course which was every Saturday morning and if you missed one you had to wait until the next "batch". So I toddle off to these sessions at first being very happy and agree with what was being said. Then the questions started. I got a lot of unsatisfying answers which were mainly based on biblical quotes (I've always believed the bible to be a work of fiction written by men hundreds of years ago and the main means to have been lost through translation. Not a very good Christian
) but the one which got me most was Q: "If Christianity is meant to be the one true religion then what about Hinduism which is probably the oldest religion there is? And were all the people before Jesus came to earth condemned to hell even if they followed the Ten Commandments? And if they were condemned to hell does that mean Noah and Moses (my two favourite characters from the bible) supposing they existed are in hell?" To say the least I got screamed at that I was a "witch child" etc etc. Needless to say I left the church that very day and have never gone back.
That was when I was 13. I was atheist for a while because (thanks to my Christian upbringing) I believed that you could only believe in the Christian God because all other gods are evil etc etc. So I told myself that there was no god because how could a god who was meant to love me have let all those things happen to me (the things mentioned above and more) and how could he hate my mother but love my father?
In June last year I finally realised that I did believe that there is something there. On the 21st I hear some people talking about "the weirdos at Stonehenge" so after being banned all my life from asking about what happened at Stonehenge on the 21st June I decided to look into it.
I'm now Pagan and couldn't be happier.
Sorry for the long post but you did ask.