I always had my doubts. I attended a Christian School (Assemblies of God was the affiliation I think) from 6-12th grade. Halfheartedly believed it all by my early 20's, and ten-ish years later I still didn't find myself any close to really believing it all.
What sealed the deal though?
This one crazy chick I met about two years ago. She was pretty much my incarnation of a dream girl - gorgeous, educated, a musician, into all the things I dug - really my type of girl. My freshly divorced (and ignorant) ass fell for her hard. What I didn't realize yet is that she was outright 'crazy' christian. Extremist style - the type who worries about the eternal souls of her non-christian friends and falls victim to the all too prevalent misconceptions about Atheism ("why would they hate god? how sad life must be for them...").
After really getting to know her, she has emotional and psychological issues, and I sincerely don't mean that in a demeaning way towards her. Borderline alcoholic, self image issues (Even though she is beautiful), all issues I think that stem from her marriage, as she is also divorced. How crazy you say? Well for one, she has been known to drop to her knees and start praying loudly when 'bad' things happen (in public no less).
So enough of this wall of text. I realized the following things:
Mental illness. I realized that she really did need counseling help, but she would never try to get it because she relies on god to fix her problems.
At the time we'd discussed Christianity extensively and I realized that the ideals she was professing to believe in, I knew through my very being, I could not accept as any form of truth.
I saw that in this sense, Religion was only further damaging her life. Her belief in a book that was basically telling her to "turn her life over to Jesus" was not only keeping her in a psychologically damaging situation, but making it worse. I'm sure you are all well aware of how damaging it can be to try and explain to someone who completely bases their entire premise of living (and I mean entirely) on belief in god or the bible, that it's not actually helping but damaging their quality of life. She did not react well to my efforts to help her. I was witnessing first hand how this "belief of hope" was actually tearing a woman I was falling in love with apart.
Needless to say, I realized I had no chance with her romantically (aside from her views and issues, she was stuck on another guy), or with helping her as a friend, and I backed off.
She was what made me turn completely to reason though, as she opened my eyes, to how damaging belief can be to someone who needs actual earthly help, and not help from on high.