Religion... A higher power... The existence of God ...
Growing up, my parents joined a local church. Of course, being a child, I was strongly "encouraged" to join them. Over time it grew from attending on Sunday to attending on Wednesday for bible study. Then Tuesday for youth group. And other nights for various other church-related activities.
My involvement with the church grew over time. I spent my time trying to conform to the way I was told God wanted me to live. I fell far short of what I thought the mark was, so my mind was a mess of shame and confusion. I spent many years like this, constantly struggling within my mind as to what was right and wrong.
Later, just as I started college, my parents separated. Despite not having anything to really do with the situation, I found myself being shunned by the elders of the church. Those who "were" the church refused to talk to me or even acknowledge my presence. This left my confused and upset. It took a long time to realize that the problem was them and not myself.
I've spent the years since questioning my faith and trying to find my place in the cosmos. I've always been inquisitive and interested in learning. I consider myself to be a lifetime learner. Over the years I've come to question the existence of a higher being. Obviously I can't be positive, but then, who can possibly be positive of the existence of said being anyway?
The thought of such a supreme being is confusing anyway. We spend so much time priding ourselves on being fair and selfless, yet we believe in a being who gives us completely free will but provides a list of requirements we must follow in order to be accepted into his club. And there is no alternative. Sure, you can have free will, but if you don't do what I say, you'll spend eternity in pain and anguish. This is the loving, forgiving being that we're supposed to believe in?
I know of a lot of beings like this. In our world we call them dictators. Sure, they're benevolent as long as you do exactly what they say. But the moment you do something they don't like, you're locked up or killed. Sounds awfully fair to me..
So these days I content myself with living a life I believe is just and good. I don't need to believe in some unprovable being in order to be good. And without having to worry whether my actions are worthy of being in the "good guys club" makes life so much more pleasant and easy to live.