I grew up in a very religious household, and Christianity (a peculiar modern version called "Pentecostalism") was very much a part of my daily life.
Even after I left the Church, which wasn't my decision at the time, everything I had been taught stayed with me for a long, long time.
I was able to let go of my belief in the Church as a worthwhile institution almost immediately, largely through my anger at being thrown out. But that was the easy part.
Letting go of all the theological belief I had absorbed was much harder.
That was fifteen years ago. I can now look at the world as a true non-believer, and compare it to the way it looked when I believed.
As a believer, everything in the world seemed to be awash with miracles. I could colour all my thoughts with a veneer of holiness, and I could see everything that happened in terms of the Master's plan.
To me, the universe was a playground for the Almighty. I felt special and chosen, because I was one of His children. When I stopped to think about it, which I did often, I got a sense of awesome wonder and crushing humility.
I felt superior to all the poor damned souls around me who didn't believe as I did. I had a sense of unbreakable belonging to the small community that felt the same way. I had an immediate connection with anyone who shared those beliefs, and I felt unbridgeably separated from anyone who didn't.
I remember exactly how that felt, and I can understand exactly how someone still in that mindset might see me.
They would see someone whose faith was not strong enough to withstand the Devil's temptations. They would see someone who decided that the broad path of sin was easier than the strait and narrow path of righteousness. They would see someone who had closed their mind to The Truth.
But now, the real truth is that I have left that very narrow world, and because of that, I can see so much further.
I can look around me and see all the amazing things that we, mankind have achieved, without the help of any God to guide us.
Under our own evolutionary steam we have worked our way up from the primordial soup. We have gotten stronger and stronger, generation upon generation, our achievements building upon the achievements of those who came before.
We have done this. You and I and all the others we share this planet with. It's our own achievement, and we should be so proud.
And it's not over. Far from it. Our evolution as a species has not ceased. This point in time is just a moment in our great epochal story.
We stand on the brink of a new chapter, as we take our first faltering steps towards the stars, and get the first inkling of what it might be like to leave this world behind.
All this is so much more awe-inspiring to me than anything any religion can offer. The sense of wonder that it gives me is so much greater than anything I've ever heard from the pulpit or read in an ancient text.
Instead of belonging to a small elite group bound together by belief in the evil of Man, I belong to Humanity.
And I marvel at the place we are forging for ourselves in our universe.