Lots of my friends have been linking to the results of the recent survey by the Pew Forum that showed that as a group atheists know more about religion than religious people do.
Of course, these days I know WAY more about religion than most people, but for a long time I was at a distinct disadvantage, having parents who weren't religious and never took me to church. I remember once as a kid I was on a bicycle trip and a woman said to me that I had to listen to my mother because "even Jesus had to obey Mary," and I said (not joking) "Mary who?" There was also the time I got the NES game Ghosts & Goblins for my birthday, and I was reading from the instructions booklet to my friends, and I mispronounced "Satan" as "satin," and everyone made fun of me. Until they explained it to me, I had just assumed that "Satan" was a made-up video game monster, like "Gannon." I also got mocked by my college roommate once for my unorthodox pronunciation of "Pontius Pilate."
Of course, unlike me, most atheists used to be religious. Through my involvement with organized skepticism, I've heard the stories of probably 70-80 people about why they gave up on religion, and I've heard the same basic story over and over again, but I've never heard anyone comment on one particular pattern, so I thought I'd note it in passing. Basically it's this: You have two siblings, Sibling A and Sibling B. Sibling A is dutiful and Sibling B is feckless. As teenagers, Sibling A goes to church, studies the Bible, and plans to become a minister, nun, religious scholar, etc., whereas Sibling B thinks religion is a joke and spends all their time drinking, having sex, and doing drugs. Sibling A spends so much time on serious study of the Bible that the contradictions, historical inaccuracies, immoral teachings, etc., eventually become too much for them, and after a years-long period of agonized soul searching they give up on religion and become an atheist. In the meantime, Sibling B has made a total mess of their life -- various addictions, lousy job, unplanned out-of-wedlock children, etc. -- and turns to religion to get themself straightened out. Sibling B becomes some variety of hard-core fundamentalist, raises their children that way, and constantly hectors everyone they know, including Sibling A, to get right with God, in spite of the fact that Sibling B has still not bothered to learn the first thing about what the Bible actually says. Anyway, anyone else noticed that pattern? I've seriously heard some variation on that story dozens of times now.