I was brought up, a white male, in the Apartheid regime of the Republic of South Africa in the sixties and seventies. My parents were both members of the Christian sect The Salvation Army.
Now the Salvation Army has its origins in the poor inner city areas of London, UK in the early 19 hundreds. The founder, William Booth, was concerned about poverty and so started a movement/sect/charity along the lines of ‘Jesus’s teachings’.
I would describe my situation as being brought up in a loving middle class family (with the caveat that we would be class ‘poor’ if we were not white). Of course we had compassion for poor people (who were black in South Africa, including the coloureds in Cape Town, or the various darkish hues of many troubled people in the African and Asian subcontinents).
At some time in my youth, when I started to ask questions, which my parents could not answer (My Dad left formal education at 13, my Mum at 15) I then had various conversations with the priest (or officer in Salvation Army terms). He suggested I ask God!
So for about 10 to 15 years I did just that!
I had heard that there were soo many religions old and new not just Christianity (whatever that meant?). I am opening my heart to you, oh God, let me know which one is really your preferred route. I cannot believe that you, an all-loving god, would dismiss Hindus, Moslems, Buddists etc just because of their geographical location. Maybe ALL routes are viable!! I got NO reply ......just silence.
I had read that there were thousands of creation myths in existence and of course only one (or none) could be correct. If there is one group which has the correct story it could only be that YOU, oh God, provided them with that story. Why did you thus deny the relatively larger section of humanity the truth? Does it really matter that we know the truth? I got NO reply , just silence.
After many years of asking questions about wars, slavery, tsunamis, volcanoes, droughts, famine, miscarriages, people born with disabilities, why do viruses exist?, why do carnivores exist? prejudice and, life, the universe, and everything? And still getting NO reply?
Then….I had an epiphany!!
Either an all-loving god who created us all does not exist.
OR, God has been steering me towards atheism all these years and deliberately closed my heart (As part of the grand plan!). I am now incapable of theism no matter how hard I try.
I am not anticipating an answer anytime soon!