We had a great group at CU this afternoon. The Secular Student Alliance and Boulder Atheists organized it. One of the interesting questions that came up in the discussion after my presentation dealt with "Is there a way to eliminate the infection in someone once they have it." Interestingly enough two people seemed to be living answers to that question, a man named Kyle and a woman named Barb. Kyle had been a devout Mormon his whole life until 8 months ago. In a short conversation after the meeting, he told me his story and said, "Once I let go of my religion, it was like a spiritual experience. I felt relieved of a life long burden." We went out to lunch with several people after and Barb told her story. She appears to be in her late 60's or early 70's. One year ago, she realized that her whole fundamentalist/pentacostal life was a sham. She stepped out of it and said almost the same thing that Kyle stated, "It was like a spiritual experience to simply drop it and say, I am an atheist."
This sudden realization is something I have heard from many people AND they often describe it as a huge relief, even like a spiritual experience.
In both of these people's stories, they talked about finally looking at all the accumulated evidence and realizing how much they had to twist around to believe their religion. Once they looked at it with objective eyes, they could dispense with religious beliefs and just live by the facts of life as they are presented in science.