What was the final "trigger" that convinced you to become an atheist?
For the life of me, I can't remember any "final trigger" that convinced me. I had read many apologists' books in an attempt to resolve the dissonance my experiences with fellow believers, and the Bible itself, created within my mind. I was beginning to question why bad things happen to good people, and why good things happen to bad ones. Why and for what purpose, did some of the young children and teens I knew die from horrible diseases, accidents, and murder(at the hands of a Christian adult)? Why did some arrogant church members control and manipulate other innocent members, many times causing them to lose their jobs? One even committed suicide as a result.
I tried to accept the usual answers such as, "God's mysterious ways" or "their reward is in heaven", but they seemed empty and trite. I found no answers to my constant prayers, and from reading religious books, that justified the amount of suffering and unfairness I witnessed. So I searched the Scriptures intensely, but my trust in God was dying a slow death, while trust in my "gut" was making a comeback.
When I was a naive teenager, God's fools came knocking at my mind's door. They had come to save my miserable ass. Being raised Catholic, I always believed in God. But the evangelical-fundamentalists told me I needed to be saved or receive the mark! Trust the Book! It is ironic that I ignored the very feelings that would have saved me then, as my "gut" was saying "run, and don't look back!" I should have trusted my feelings.
I finally read skeptics' books with much trepidation after meeting an ex-Christian. He was very kind and understood me. He recommended reading material, and that was the beginning of the end of my Christian experience. Now, I'm an agnostic atheist. That means God is unknowable presently, so I don't believe a God exists. There is nothing to base my God belief upon.
How did your decision to become an atheist affect your life?
There was no decision. I just gradually lost my faith while desperately trying to maintain it. As a result, I woke up and realized my marriage was a huge mistake, and never should have happened. My partner was abused in every way from her Christian upbringing. I held out hope that there would be a change for the better, but it was not to be. I lost most of my "friends" without my saying a word, because gossip travels fast. But my mind was free! It was time to move on and get a divorce; from the church and the wife. No more dissonance. I was free to rediscover the beauties of nature and the goodness of people. Now I feel connected and complete!