When I was very young, not even in elementary school yet, a little girl told me the story of the first man, Adam. I remember thinking at the time, how ridiculous it sounded. I thought she was crazy. I remember clearly thinking how nutty a concept it was that there even was a first man, and that we knew his name no less! I was definitely, at this point in my life, a skeptic.
But alas, my very non-skeptical father got a hold of me and set me on path to superstition. So much so that by the time I was in first grade I selected a book on the origin of life from the classroom bookshelf and it had a basic explanation of how life naturally arose in the seas. I had been so thoroughly indoctrinated by my father that I reacted as if I was reading porn, fascinated and yet feeling guilty at the same time.
By the time I was fifteen I was fairly brainwashed, writing in science class a description of how the Grand Canyon was formed by the draining of the land after the Flood of Noah. Sadly the teacher did me a disservice by not giving me an "F". I think she instead thought I was "creative" or something like that, a sad commentary on the quality of my science education, but I digress.
But fortunately chinks in the non-skeptical armor my father had so diligently outfitted me with began to appear though my interest in astronomy. I remember asking my not so wise father one time a very important question: "Dad, how can we see galaxies that are millions of light years away if the universe is only a few thousand years old?" His answer, if you know how to think like a creationist is entirely predictable. "Well Son, you see God in His infinite wisdom, when he created the galaxies, created the light in transit as well so that we could see the glories of his creation." This answer suited me at the time, but it also illustrates that I was thinking about the implications of what I was learning in my studies of astronomy. The skeptic in me was still alive deep down somewhere.
By the time I was nineteen, I had realized that my fathers explanation was really very inadequate, since this "stretched" light that he postulated contains within it the history of the universe that is object of the study of cosmology and it seemed to me that what the creator had really done 6000 years ago is create a full grown universe that actually looked billions of years old, in essence God had created time itself. This is the "appearance of age" theory of creation. At the time I thought I was somewhat clever for thinking of it, but I found out later it is actually a rather old idea and I was not so clever as I supposed, a very typical thing for us to discover as we mature in life, but again, I digress.
I went through a "cult" phase and what critical thinking skills I did have left took a severe pounding but actually they did also get some practice as I heard the cult leader, 0n different occasions, make mistakes. Let me tell you, cult leaders typically don't like being confronted with facts that get in the way of a point they are trying to make. Quite frankly, I had no business being in this cult, I was never really one of them, but I had my father to thank for being in there the first place so there ya go.
I came out of the other side of the cult and began to think about the implications of my "appearance of age" theory of the universe. I asked myself a fundamental question: "From an observational point of view what was the difference between a universe that "appears" to be billions of years old and one that actually is?" The obvious answer of course is "none at all" and it was at this point that I became what is known as an old earth creationist. Which meant that I now had to try force the bible to conform to reality instead of the other way around.
At this point in my life, with skepticism always bubbling at the surface of my thinking, it of course was only a matter of time before my christian beleifs became a target. I just quite frankly as I was in church one day became very skeptical of the entire thing, Jesus, the bible, the whole shebang shall we say.
So I thought to myself, that if all these things are true, then it will not hurt one bit to subject them to some intense critical analysis. They will be all the more strengthened by my study and my faith would be stronger than ever. Of course the converse being true as well, if they prove false, then I will be that much better off for having rid myself of some very burdensome beleifs that had not stood the test of a true skeptical analysis.
Now for you skeptical readers of course you know what happened next. In my studies and my effort to prove Christianity, I failed spectacularly and as a result my faith in the bible as the inspired word of God collapsed and that God that I had believed in literally vanished from my mind. I was finally where I was supposed to be, where I had been destined to be, a true skeptic. And an atheist too of course.