Voltage is a measure of force just as Pastor Volt is the force behind the EU movement. Besides, Pastor Watt doesn't sound good. You must improve your PR when gathering your flock thus convincing the world that science, as they know it, is the seed of Lucifer.
Also to be atheist one need only recognize the fallacy in believing that out of the myriad religions / sub religions in the world only one is correct.
I found books by Malcolm X, Ghandi, Maya Angelou, and lots of feminists helpful. Plus consciousness raising in a number of academic and feminist settings. One can learn from the insight others experienced in their own lives. It taught me to introspect and question without experiencing threat. Ah, and a youth reading hard sci-fi was also helpful to developing a mind that could turn things inside out and back. Time travel, alternate realities, especially stories that bent reality based on thought.
In jr. high I was absolutely captivated by sci fi. The annual Best of Fantasy and Sci Fi collection was always a revelation. Loved those cheesy 50s films too.
I'd say that you have to understand how much energy you use for your religion. Not just for cleaning the building or organizing sales, but the energy that you spend in making yourself what the church wants you to be, and that is a lot! Once you begin using the energy for yourself, you feel the power growing, even if at the start you're full of doubts and guilt.
Some people are scared of being on their own, and they'll always try to find another boss, guide or whatever. Perhaps your friend is one of those?
Poor child! He had a good chance there of thinking;"Now I'm on my own, so I have to decide for myself." But perhaps he was too young then.
Where I come from, deciding for myself was forbidden too. I managed to look docile and not too smart and thought and decided behind the mask. Once they saw the game I had played, they gave me up as a 'lost sheep'.