I was raised in a mixed race and mixed religious family. My mom's side are German Catholics and my dad's side are Arab Muslims. I was raised as a Muslim and called myself one until I was about 17- 18. During this time, I definitely believed in god and went through the motions of prayers, holidays, etc. I was sometimes scared that god would be angry with me for committing sins or for not being pious enough, other times I felt that god loved me and I was on a spiritually fulfilling path.
I also faced some pretty serious (and occasionally violent) adversity from Christians. I was in 5th grade when 9/11 happened and had the unpleasant experience of growing up as a Muslim in a very small town full of white, conservative, Christian, rednecks. I think that adversity actually (perversely) kept me religious longer since I very much had a "me vs them" mentality.
Once high school was ending for me, I started to question things due to a few people in my life challenging my beliefs. I set-out to prove to myself and to those challenging me that god did exist. After several months of failing to find any good reasons to believe, I became an agnostic atheist.
I've been an agnostic atheist for about 8 years now and the discussions I've had on the topic have lead me to become much more educated in world religions, epistemology, philosophy, logic, and many other related topics.
One thing I've noticed: despite being a Muslim for twice as long as I've been an athiest, I can't put myself back into a religious mindset anymore. That is, I can't really remember our recreate what it was like to think the way I used to. Obviously, I remember what I thought, but I can't piece together how or why.
Anyway, these are the thoughts that stand out to me when I think back on my life with and without religion.