I love this story, alto and can relate so much to the way you were raised! My atheist upbringing had an opposite effect on me and I was obsessed with finding God. I have never found an organized religion I could accept because of the dogma, but even at a young age, I used to sneak-pray to some higher power I couldn’t explain because I couldn’t imagine life without one. I still can’t.
I would like to amend your last line, as the intolerance of so many religions is very distasteful to me. “Whatever gets you through the night as long as you’re not hurting anyone else.”
I say this because, in my humble opinion, when religion is used as a placebo for the real work of humanity it becomes dangerous.