for instance, when I professed not to believe in God, I was effectively saying that I did not believe in superstition or certain outdated laws, etc. And sinse my definition of God was of a mythical being teaching all kinds of outdated laws, then it was natural that I could not believe in that God.
Later, as I came to understand God differently, I finally professed faith in Him. But here's the thing. Looking back on it, the God in which I believe now is a God in which I have always believed even when I called myself an atheist, because the spirit for which He stands it the same one in which I believed when I thought myself an atheist (even though I didn't call it spirit of course). At that time, if you should ask me, I did not believe in spirit or soul. Now I do. But in fact, I did beleive in it, but I just used all kinds of secular terms for it. I still don't believe in the God in which I did not believe then. So in the end, i must say that I never truly was an atheist so much as a person who simply did not understand what God or spirituality was.
Yet based on this, then how can one so easily judge irreliginists when we don't know what's really in their hearts. They might belive but just don't know it.
On the flip side, I've met people who profess belief because their parents believe. I remember one man, when asked of his fait, responded:
"I don't know. I'll ask my parents next time I call them."
So how many so called atheists are in fact believers and how many so called believers are in fact atheists. In the end, words are cheap.