I'm 39 years old and of Turkish origin, I've been raised as a Sunni Muslim. Over the years I have been struggling hard to understand Islam, but it was all in vain. I had become a so-called "Qur'an only" Muslim after I completely lost my trust in the "Hadith literature" (sayings that are attributed to Muhammed). However, being a "Qur'an only" believer still couldn't calm my conscience as there were many absurdities even in the "perfect" Qur'an, which I had been taught were the literal words of God.
Things like slavery, men being allowed to beat their wives, polygamy, cutting of the hand of thieves and other medieval Arab practices and laws hugely bothered me. I naively tried to explain them away by accepting alternative interpretations by modernist Qur'an scholars. One day when I was contemplating on the Qur'an, I came across a YouTube video by an Islamic scholar who, unlike the majority of Islamic scholars, was saying that the Qur'an should not be taken literally. He said the Qur'an was not a book of law, and that those so-called Qur'anic "laws" (sharia) were not universal and timeless. I immediately felt relief, I finally heard something that made sense. Now I had reached the point where I had accepted that the Qur'an was mostly addressing the Arabs of 1400 years ago.
However, as time went by, I started to question the basic Islamic doctrines as well. According to the Qur'an, only Islam is the true religion and all non-Muslims are condemned to an eternal Hellfire, regardless of how many good deeds they may do. The belief that billions of Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus and others will go to an eternal Hell was preposterous. I realized I could no longer believe this and that it was impossible to explain these Qur'an verses away. It was really hard to accept the possibility that the Qur'an, although probably inspired by God, contained many absurdities, immoral and irrational teachings.
I had finally reached the point where I could no longer shut off my conscience and intellect. I just couldn't deceive myself anymore. I had to be sincere and overcome the fear of Hell. The fear to be condemned to eternal Hellfire by the "Merciful God". I concluded that I didn't believe in this kind of God who would do such a thing. A God who is so unjust, irrational and so evil.
Atheism has never made sense to me. I have no reason to assume that certain atoms one day decided to organize themselves in order to create the whole universe and life on earth. All on their own without any sort of intelligent intervention. I'm not opposed to scientific facts such as evolution, but I reject the idea that you must be an atheist if you respect science. I haven't seen anything in science that disproves the existence of an intelligent Creator. On the contrary, everything in the universe shows intelligence had to be involved at some point.
I have now finally become a Deist, as I'm not willing to deceive myself anymore, and I'm feeling much happier.