I was maybe 10 years old, out with my mother in Florida. The ocean was warm, the waves were minor at the time. I was about maybe 50- 60 feet, just high enough to where I could barely stand in the water.
All of a sudden, I was getting pulled. I was trying to jump up and scrape my feet against the ground to go against the current. Slowly but surely, I went another few feet to where the depth was too much to touch the ground on. I had to try swimming.
I was getting pulled... getting farther away from my mom. 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet. I kept getting farther out. My mom didn't want to get caught in the riptide either, but kept trying to get to me. She was getting pushed away, while I was getting pulled. At one point, I was around 100 yards from her and the current was so strong, that I wasn't making any headway. I kept getting farther and farther out and I started crying. I have never been so scared in my life...
Suddenly a boat showed up with a few life guards in it. The only boat I could see for miles. It miraculously appeared.
Thinking on this... I can see why people want to believe in god. In fact, moments like this, make me want to believe in some entity that would save me, if I ever were besieged with such misfortune. I cannot imagine a more sad and desperate ending... getting pulled out to sea, expecting someone to come help. Imagine you are in an ocean alone, at night, your legs are getting tired, and in every direction there is just an endless horizon of water.
I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy or anybody. That is to me, the epitome of doom.
But as an atheist... believing and hoping in someone or something to save you in these desperate times, makes sense. That sense of unease always faltering at your present, from your past. I am still afraid to go more than 30-40 feet in the ocean. That has really stuck with me ever since I was a child.
Even an atheist, during these desperate times, will start praying to whatever is in their mind, to get past this and to survive, or to get lucky and find help.