I've found that there is a lot of confidence among atheists who are sure of there rational for becoming atheist after being serious believers at one time. In fact it's common that if their lost faith is dismissed in anyway they become offended, even if the dismissal is simply a matter of fact, with no personal implications attached. Meaning dismissals aren't necessarily a criticism of how they personally applied their one time but since lost faith.
For instance what I usually hear from atheists whether it be in cyberspace or in person is that they really believed. And that they did because of their environment, family and peers who believed. Many, as has been pointed out hear on this site, faithfully attended church, read their bibles, conducted research and even seriously contemplated going into ministry. Only to realize at some point the bible isn't accurate, or a church official lied to them or something else along those lines. And so on the face of it, it seems reasonable why they would loose faith and succumb to doubt. There is just one problem though. In the bible you can find a verse that really gives us a concise guide to understanding the truth...
In reading that verse it may seem as though God wants us to dump our intellect and blindly follow him. But anyone familiar with scripture knows that's not what this verse is about. We are to trust God even during turbulent times and in the face of supposed facts appearing to contradict God, his influence or even his very presence. And that's what's missing from the vast majority of atheists testimonials on their lack of faith or loss of faith. None of them brought up how the bible became instantly clear. Or how nothing that we can think of contradicts the fact that God is. Some mentioned how the atmosphere stimulated their emotions, but that doesn't come close to what I'm leading up to.Proverbs 3:5~Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Jesus spoke of a spiritual adviser to truth, a comforter and counselor in truth that true believers would experience and then know the truth in which they have placed their faith. It is all confirming, though we can't scientifically demonstrate that fact. Point being I haven't heard a single atheist describe the union of this spirit to their own. However, many a time they would explain how important their faith was at the time they had it. I have heard from atheists that those of us that do talk of this union of spirits are just experiencing emotionalism and must deny our intellect to continue to believe. Which is to be expected from people who never trusted God to enlighten them to begin with and never experienced the Spirit of Truth for themselves. And such remarks confirms they never trusted God to enlighten them.
In conclusion, to dismiss their lost faith isn't an insult to their honest efforts for trying to believe, it's just the fact that their faith never achieved for even a moment, an uninhibited trust that God would act independent of their faith. They seem to think by their arguments that believers keep their faith alive, not God. But to trust God is a feet not easily done. Our pride, sense of accomplishment, need for quick pro quo understanding of cause and effect, all these things get in the way. Anyone who does manage to do so; instantly has their faith confirmed and thus as per scripture, will keep their faith until the end. That's how we know according to scripture who truly believed and who didn't. By whether or not they ever let their faith uninhibitedly lead them to trust God implicitly at anytime, for even just a second. That is how faith is truly manifested and by default, unbelief is manifested. Had they been able to manifest their faith in uninhibited fashion they would've realized that their intellect isn't sacrificed, it's enhanced.
1John 2:19~ They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.