"Hey guy, aren't you doing things backwards in your spiritual life?"
This question or similar ones has been posed to me a few times over the years. This is usually followed more of less with something like the following. "Most people I knew were agnostic when they were teens or young adults and then they become believers later on, but you seemed to have done it in reverse."
What these people are missing is that probably all of these people they claimed were agnostic and/or atheist were really not al all. They probably identified as a believer but would acknowledge that they are backslidden in the faith or are currently living in sin. Then later on when they have families and responsibilities and the fun of "sin" has lost its initial appeal, they straighten up and look for a place of worship or a group to associate with.
I too was not a gun-ho religious guy during that early part of my adulthood, but I would have never claimed to be an unbeliever. I was simply enjoying my life without too much thought being given to things divine. Also I was one who loved science and verifying things for myself.
Of course that all changed when I met the girl who would become my future ex-wife. I was 23 years old and most of my partying friends were settling down so I decided to take a similar course. When I took the Watchtower plunge in Forth Worth, Texas in June 1983, I had become a different more serious person and unfortunately I let my habit of fact verification go dormant for a while.
After several years as a Jehovah's Witness I began looking up supporting data that the Watchtower Society provided in its publications, such as "Should You Believe in the Trinity?" or "Life; How Did it Get Here, By Evolution or Creation?" I was also verifying the translation oddities of the New World Translation against their own Kingdom Interlinear.
Instead of satisfying my questions it just led to more. Why was the Society using ellipsis (...) to eliminate data that contradicted whatever point they were trying to make? Why are they quoting a sentence that is taken completely of context? Why did their interlinear translation agree with "Christendom's" wording instead of Freddie's?
So began a quest to verify everything I had been taught regarding religion and spirituality for the past few years. Eventually that led me to say good-bye to the Watchtower and I spent the next several years checking out more "traditional" shades of Christianity. However this time I would not put my verification process to sleep as I had done earlier.
Although many of these other institutions and places of business had beliefs that were easier to digest, they all had many that I couldn't verify to my content. While nearly all of them had some kind of explanation to the barbarity and violence used by "God's people" to further their quest of lands promised to them, their answers often contradicted or nullified other things that has said.
Then I began a short query into a few non-Christian persuasions and found them just as wanting. And as I sat back and looked at the family, friends and other folk around me I began to realize that if I imagined a place without an Omnipotent being puppet master being charge, it would look amazing like this world.
People who claimed that God hear their prayers and reacts accordingly did not hold up under scrutiny. It did not matter to what God or entity was petitioned, the outcome was the same. Moreover, what I observed was that people who pray for something in particular will wait for when the time haa arrived or passed for the thing that was prayed for, they would look at the results and then say that God had done it. It would be like if people called me and left me a message on my answering machine asking for help or suggestions and then claiming I had reacted even though I had never checked the messages to begin with.
As I leaned more and more towards agnosticism, the world made much more sense. What was happening around me, both good and bad, was all due to the efforts and actions of men. Nothing I observed led me to believe anything supernatural was in control.
So by 2007 or so I finally realized that I was no longer a believer in anything non-corporeal. While I still have an open to correction or adjustments to my current way of thinking, it will take much more than quoting scripture or hearing some anecdotal story.