Although it came out long after I had lost my religion, I always liked and related to the song ‘Losing my religion’ by REM1, because it reflected what had happened to me years before.
I went to a government high school and we had one lesson termed ‘Scripture’ once a week. The bloke who took it was a Methodist minister (they couldn’t cater for every denomination; I was nominally a Presbyterian), who was a cruel, miserable git. It was not surprising that he felt this way because he had to cope with a group of boys who were uninterested at best, but mostly antipathetic. Almost all of them would have preferred to have been elsewhere. Like most of the others, I hated it and fortunately remember none of it.
My family were, as I said, nominally Presbyterian, but only went to church for funerals, christenings and weddings. They were too busy running their business to bother about such peripheral concerns. As I was heavily into science by this stage, I was beginning to understand the way science works and how evidence impacts on it. I started applying that to the drivel I was being taught in ‘Scripture’, and it didn’t make sense. I didn’t ask anybody about it; I just thought it over myself. In a very short space of time, I had become a confirmed atheist. I then asked my parents to write a letter to the school exempting me from ‘Scripture’. This they did on the understanding that I would spend the time in the library, studying. This I mostly did, but one of my friends who was also in the library, having similarly avoided the torture of ‘Scripture’, was a fan of musical theatre and on a couple of occasions we were caught in full voice doing renditions of songs from Oklahoma or My Fair Lady. From that time, I have been a confirmed atheist, and the world a better place, even if I cannot get those musicals out of my head.