My "conversion" to Atheism came in the 5th grade. In my science class (at a public school), the lesson was on evolution. After class I asked my teacher how could evolution be correct when the bible says the world was created a different way? Her reply was that it was up to me to decide.
I thought I would agree with evolution, just because she was a science teacher, so I said I believe what the textbooks say.
Her reply "I beleive in Jesus, and those who don't are going to hell"
I thought that was a cruel and scary thing to say to a 5th grader.
I had no idea what to say or how to rebut her but she turned me from skeptic to true blue atheist that day.
I have never regretted my decision.
I just wish I could have a conversation with that woman today..At 40, I now know how to rebut delusions.
I have lived the last 30 years without bowing down to a god and am no worse off (in some cases much better off) than my fellow humans who do believe in an invisible sky being.
I have 2 children - one 22 (a humanist) and one 8 (undecided) and I will not allow then to bow down to a god either, despite pressure from good "god-fearing" family members.
I live in a small town, and am proud to have an evolve-fish bumper sticker.