Tom says it pretty well. I look backwards in my own life when I studied Magick and things of the supernatural. Some said I had uncanny abilities and power then, but isn't that the effect you are supposed to have? I remember going on to proclaim that spirits could not manifest in front of me. None of them ever did. (Is that a surprise?) I was an atheist unaware way back then but just didn't know what to call it. I had studied religion and the supernatural but it just took me years later to realise that they were one and the same. It was finally hearing Jerry DeWitt on You Tube that opened my eyes. Everything fell in place and I felt a great relief.
These days I talk to my boyhood friend who is very religious still. He talks to god daily and tells me his god talks back. He is at the point where he has the truth and nobody else does. Without him saying it openly I understand because I was once there for many years. His opinions have greatly modified his religion. He even has a new liver because of god but never asks who god had to kill to get it. If he keeps up with his modified views of things he might some day wake up to see that gods are imaginary.
I find it strange that people believe in religion today, but it answers questions for them and gives them a "devine plan." Live a certain way and your god will take you to heaven (wherever that is.) This "devine plan and logic" is not much different to me than waking up to find that planet Earth is a food source for someone far away. Don't shudder that this is your devine destiny. We do it with chickens. LOL
The whole issue of atheism versus agnosticism continues to be problematic, because of the difference between knowledge and belief which is the essential difference between those two terms, respectively. Technically, I suppose I am an agnostic atheist, since I cannot definitively prove that no gods exist. Still the screaming dearth of evidence for any kind of deity, added to the growing number of scientific explanations which handily supplant the specious assertion that "goddidit" make me all the more secure in my own stance that, indeed, there are NO gods of any sort, hard proof notwithstanding.
I note that, in referring to the bible, Tom says, "It's only real if you want it to be real," the attitude most believers take, yet in no case I am aware of has belief by itself EVER been able to impact or alter reality. Actions or events might, but beliefs in and of themselves never will. Belief without foundation in reality is a fool's errand, for this very reason. All the more reason to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible, as Matt Dillahunty has said multiple times.
I have no rational reason to believe in any god, so I don't. I am an atheist.
I've just been reading Walter Kaufmann's Faith of a Heretic. In it he says,
On examination, it turns out that what theists agree on is a formulation, not a state of affairs; and this formulation, to cite the admirably candid words of St. Paul about himself, means “all things to all men.”