I was a long time atheist by the time I discovered Nietzsche. I was not a great child, but most of that can be attributed to an absent biological father and some unfortunate abuse at a very young age. One of the situations can be attributed to his drunken negligence. After that was behind me, my mom remarried one of the best people I've ever known, who happened to be a Catholic. I'll also say that we all have coincidentally interesting, yet, for me, unfortunate Biblical names, a fact which, along with my family history, step-family geographic origin, and family name of my step-father have led me through some pretty serious messianic delusions. Messianic delusions can halpen in almost anyone, but if you have certain aligning factors, it becomes very difficult to overcome them. I have overcome them. Anyway, that's just a heads up to let you know there are some psychological issues of which I am aware, and that I know that believing doesn't necessarily make God exist.
My step-father decided, after some other unfortunate situations, that I clearly needed Jesus, and to be honest, being separated now from who I was then, I definitely agree. I was heading toward some very destructive habits for myself and others. So, when I was nine years old, I was Baptized and Confirmed on the same day in a Melkite Catholic Church.
However, God didn't make logical sense to me, and neither did the idea of some guy resurrecting. I also distinctly remember thinking that I did not renounce Satan, even though I said I did. It was really all a big hassle for nine year old me. I didn't know what it meant to not believe what they said was true, so I just kept quiet about it until I found the word atheist a few years later. "Ahhh! So, that's what I am!"
In my Catholic high school, having finally found my identity, I was outspoken about this idea I just knew was right. I was more condescending than your pre-2013 r/atheism subscriber. I loved being right and laughing at the morons.
In college, I took a logic course, and then a philosophy course, and then four or five more philosophy courses. Nietzsche just opened up my philosophical landscape. I rejected the dominant moral structures as having been shaped by delusional and unChristlike Christians.
Then I started reading Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens. Something seemed wrong. I had rejected the western moral code and was being confronted by this condescending, self-righteous prose that claimed science as its source. I felt it wasn't right. It disregarded the human element. What if structures in the brain tended toward such beliefs for other reasons? Surely Dawkins hadn't hit the Atheist nail on the head so squarely that he had explained it all, yet he wrote as if he had. It was too intuitive. I read those books and knew it all already. So, I rejected the new-Atheists as well.
A couple thoughts arose and embedded themselves around that time. I won't get too deep into the concepts, but here they are, briefly. It is good to know the other, to become all-encompassing and be more than oneself. It is good to know oneself and one's desires. To know right, one must know wrong and have had experience of that wrong. And another idea from my childhood resurfaced, the concept that once a thought forms it exists forever, no matter how fleeting it was, and the thought can subconsciously be made manifest in reality, like an unspoken self-fulfilling prophecy. If you can see how these life philosophies might interact, you know that I had set myself up for an emotional, psychological rollercoaster by age 20.
Eventually, Buddhism seeped in. It's like the gateway religion. I absorbed the theoretical aspect of it. Life progressed and depression took over, but it turns out I had been depressed most of my life due to the early abuse. Then, the messianic delusion reared its head. It was a funny thing to joke about, especially because I believed that we are all God, so I hadn't raised myself above anyone. I kept it in check and remained functional in society, even though I despised America's special brand of capitalism.
Fast forward a couple years. Things became too difficult to handle, so I moved away from all my family and friends. I found a nice little town where I knew no one and settled into my life as a dishwasher with an MBA. Finally, I felt alive and real, like I had truly taken my freedom. It was truly awesome. I was truly manic.
Then the people I had met in this new place started taking on the characteristics of angels. It was a Jungian mindfuck, in real time. It took a year to supress and process. Jung helped explain what happened, but again, as with Dawkins, I felt I knew it all already. That's when I started looking into the Occult, and even there, I knew it all. Everything became so intuitive.
Philosophically, the Occult is really interesting. I lean mostly toward Christian Hermeticism and Kabbalah. As for the ritual aspect, I'm not the type to let my ego drive me to perform self-benefitting magic. At this point, I'm just chasing and hiding from the light. It's fascinating.