I used to believe. I remember an intense praying session after I survived an accident where a car hit me when I was cycling to school. I flew through the air for several meters before landing in the middle of a busy street. Yet, I got up quickly and ran to safety. I checked myself but apart from a few scratches and bruises, I was completely unharmed. When I got back home, on foot because my bike wasn't as lucky as me, I prayed to Mother Mary to thank her for surviving that accident.
Yet, soon after, I started re-imagining the accident and it started to come back to me. I saw the car coming right at me and I knew an impact was imminent. I remember putting more pressure on one foot in order to achieve a decent landing pose. Once up in the air, I carefully selected my strongest arm to take the fall. When it touched the ground, I allowed the rest of my body to roll over, spreading the pressure over the entire body. Mother Mary didn't do that. My brain just brought up the basic martial arts training I received.
I have always been fascinated with my brain. It's such a delicate and powerful tool. It can do so much in so little time and it feeds on information. It can bring up worlds of fantasy and bring those to use in the so-called real world. It's the core of my being, everything else is either working for or acting through the brain. Two weeks after that car hit me, I started worshiping my brain and feeding it with everything it could take. Books, papers, documentaries, observation,... I fed it all I could find.
I used to believe in God for a while and even today I refuse to outrule the possibility. Why? Well, even with all the science we have today we still can't seem to figure out who we are and what we are here for. Some things are still shrouded in mystery, something that gave way to religion in the first place. Wasn't lighting some punishment from God or gods before we finally discovered what it actually is? Perhaps, and hopefully, science will one day overrule religion completely but we're not there yet.
Do I believe now? No, but I also don't believe that there is no God. My beliefs resemble those of an adolescent who ran away from home because his father was an abusing alcoholic. Even if there is a god out there, I don't think he's worth of believing in, let alone worshipping him. He completely failed in his fatherhood when he allowed people to murder, rape and enslave others in his name. And don't come telling me that those people just have the wrong religion.
Perhaps there is a god and perhaps he still sees what we are doing. In that case, I honestly think he sighed and moved on. If you can create the universe once, you can do it again, no? So why should I care about God if he obviously doesn't care about his children. And why should He still care, seeing what we have done to his creation. Although, 'creation'. Making beings in His liking and allowing them to fight over their differences is not a creation, that's a social experiment.
I read the stories and I listened to the preachers but my beloved brain classified all of them as confusing spam, as stories to keep the people obedient, as hypocritical one-liners. At one point, I remember sitting in church and thinking 'can't we just be good people without Him?'. Apparently, most of us can't. Strangely, some people still need heaven and hell to make them decide either to help or hurt another person. I decided to try to be a good person anyway and gradually I persevered that thought.
Of everything I ever asked for, God did not give me one little thing, not even a hint of understanding. I didn't even ask that much, an easier household so my mother would have more time to play with me, a pet that chose me instead of vice versa, help that intensely religious friend of mine overcome cancer. When God decided to let him die anyway, I said 'that's it God, you're out of my friend zone'. I turned my back and walked away. Now I feel like that other friend of mine who doesn't even know, or care, whether his father is dead or alive.
So, am I an atheist? Well, according to current opinion, I probably am. Yet, I don't feel like an atheist. I feel like someone who just goes on without the need for something or someone up there. I don't feel the need for that discussion because I don't think it adds anything to anyone's life. I don't want to waste my time on someone who obviously doesn't have the slightest interest in my life. Is that selfish? Well, not more than demanding 'above all, worship only one god'. At least I try to help someone once in a while...