I was born in a isolated mining town, Nhulunbuy, in the far North of Australia my arrival was heralded by the most destructive cyclone Australia has ever known (Cyclone Tracy- a hurricane for those of you north of the equator). In 1975 this was one of the remotest towns in Australia.
I was raised Catholic, my parents were both Catholic, although interestingly enough my great uncle was a Freemason and my grandmother a methodist. My Great, Great grandfather was a bit of an adventurer and an atheist - his dying words were "there is nothing". Two other great uncles were Catholic priests and successful gamblers.
I attended Catholic private schools until my last two years of high school - note that private and Catholic in the Northern Territory does not mean privileged. We were underfunded and accepted the dregs from other schools so essential the only difference from state schools was the fact we wore uniforms and got religion and didn’t have as good sport equipment, but it was small and everyone knew each other.
I had considered the priesthood, but when I discovered girls, that idea fell off the radar. I always seemed to win "Christian awards" at school (it wasn’t hard, as I was paranoid about failing or getting into trouble, that and I enjoyed being nice to people)
I veered off the religion road when I was 15, through reading the Holy Blood, Holy Grail and the Messianic Legacy, now while these books have the feel of conspiracy theory, the issues they raised broadened my horizons and cracked the veneer of the Catholic conditioning.
So my departure from religion was through knowledge not because I was angry at god or the kiddy fiddlers although my anger at the actions of the Catholic church now supports my rational rejection of religion.
I formerly announced my Atheism in early 2007 after spending a lot of time investigating Buddhism (a bare bones, non supernatural, version of it).
I would like to add that I had never thought seriously about god, it was always just assumed. Now, I am no stunning intellect, but I can tell you, any argument for god that I have come across has withered under even half-hearted scrutiny. Dawkin’s book was perhaps a trigger in the sense that I read and thought to myself - "he really is just stating the obvious, why hadn’t I thought of it like that before."
So I would describe departure from religion as a slow drift, my experience of the world and people just did not gel with anything religion put forward.
As to Philosophical leanings now. I would probably conform to Humanist principles. But I don’t like the idea of tying myself down to a set of ideals and beliefs.
So why label yourself an Atheist ? I hear you ask. Because under that label, for the time being I think I can do the most good. One day I hope to cast it off, or for it to be an unnecessary qualification. Besides atheism has no guiding principles, no world view, no doctrine, it is a statement of my position on one question.