Was there a specific instance where you started to identify as an atheist/agnostic, or was it a gradual process?
I was born a free thinker. I cannot recall a time where I believed in any of the religions. In my Catholic neighborhood, it just seemed like religion was the rules for civilization, and I played sports for the local church. I was always asking too many questions during religious instruction so they finally asked my mom to take me out of school. They told her I was upsetting the other kids. But in truth, all the other kids starting thinking for themselves. Lol. I should add, I have always been spiritual not religious.
About age 8. I started asking a lot of questions in my United Methodist bible class, and wasn't getting any good answers (think Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory on a theoretical roll) ! It was pretty much an instantaneous process. Then, I continued my education, and became widely read, and traveled, and still wasn't getting good answers. That's because there are none. Many people's beliefs are based on fables - the end.
12. I asked a whole bunch of questions to a vicar that came to the school, and he fumbled over most of them. "How could Noah fit every single species on the ark? It would need to be the size of Africa! And if God wanted everyone dead, why not just kill them himself, he's all powerful? And how come there were miracles, real ones, but aren't any more?" Stuff like that. I got a bunch of "well that's just the way God works" BS and I just thought...nah. It's all crap.
It's funny, but I have never believed in the supernatural, but I never really thought of myself as an atheist until I was in my late 20s. It never really mattered what I identified as. Religion didn't play any part in my life. It wasn't until I realized how harmful religion is that I felt the need to distance myself from it.
About 15 years ago - I went to an atheist meetup with trepidation, because I had never met another atheist, and I expected weirdos, but instead I met ordinary persons with the exception of two atheists who had us laughing for two hours with their natural comedy. We didn't talk about religion.
As soon as I realized that religion is BS, back in high school. I come from a predominantly atheist family. I got brainwashed when we arrived in the US (2nd grade) and the Jewish organization stuck me into Hebrew School. I was just getting over one kind of brainwashing while undergoing culture shock, and thus fell for the 2nd set of brainwashing. By hs, I started observing how many different religions there are in the world and that they are constantly fighting against each other, even within certain variations of their own beliefs (like different types of Christianity). I also noticed all the brutality going on in the world, and was wondering where is that omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and all-loving god. That's when I figured out that there is not god, by the end of 11th grade. I switched hs my sr year, and there people already new me as atheist.
When I moved to a new city where I had no friends or family. It was a life-changing reboot that allowed me the freedom to take a serious look at my beliefs and philosophies. Like the internet meme with stick figures that says "I didn't lose my faith - I threw it the fuck away." Yup.
Began to realize life was just what it is at the age of 25, when I unwillingly broke up with my ex on the bases that I am not from the same country or share the same believe with her. It was quite awful as an African being dispair by the same race, same religion fanatics who keep saying "god was love"