We cannot speak for all Athiests but to deny experiences effect our psyche and ultimately determine our decision making in life, would be to do so out of if ignorance. Of course our experiences through life effect us either immediately or later on in years.
A lot of decisions we make in life especially ones of gigantic proportions such as religion or no religion at all, are largely due to our upbringing and the environment in which we were brought up.
Through my experiences most atheists I’ve met have had bad relationships with their fathers, come from a divorced family or a mixture of both.
A family member of mine to begin with, his father beat him to within an inch of his life when he was young. He just picked on him because out of all his brothers he was the least admirable according to his father at the time.
By the time he was 16 years old, he fell into the world of music and became a writer and singer. He’d often dye his hair different colors and became indifferent with God and church altogether. He’s in his 50s now and he still doesn’t go to church or practice his religion at all.
His children are also atheist and non church goers. As the old Irish saying goes “what’s in the cats in the kitten”. Which brings me to insert here that not all atheists comes from broken homes or have a bad relationship with their father but usually are brought up in this world that way because their own father is the one who had a bad relationship with his father and so on.
Another example is of three guys I know whose fathers were a drunk and beat their mother up or them also after a night of heavy drinking. One of these men actually shot his father dead when he was a wee boy as he couldn’t watch his father treat his mother that way anymore.
What’s my point and what am I trying to get at I hear you ask and how does this lead to a denial of God existence? Well God as we know is a loving father. Therefore many of these men view having to call anyone father as a task of the impossible especially a loving father such as God.
Therefore how do you present the idea of a Holy Family and Loving God the Father to someone who comes from a broken home or whose father left them at an early age and beat them up? They’ve never experienced the love of a father or a concrete family so how do you approach them With the words “Our Father who art in heaven”. That prayer alone is enough to churn their stomach.
Next time you’re talking to an atheist and you’re aware of their past with their father, bring it up. Ask them is it possible that because they’ve lived a life without the love of a father, they find the Christian religion of a loving God the father Father most abhorrent? Either they’ll go into fight more or flight. What I mean is they’ll either get angry at you for daring to suggest it or they’ll dodge the question and shrivel up inside and walk away.
Whatever they decide to choose ( either fight or flight ) it proves that it’s not you or what you said that’s annoying them but their conscience. For the darkness hates the light because it exposes them and they fear this light because it may mean they be converted and healed of their sickness.
Have you read the story of Cain and Abel in the bible? God is their father, he favours Abel and Cain feels his father treats him unfairly. He kills his brother and then hides from God. He eventually turns his back on God and so the spirit of Cain begins. Atheists ( Cain ) view their own fathers the same way and of course they feel the same way about God himself as someone who restricts their freedom to do as they please. Like Cain they’re hiding from God and when asked to give account for their behaviour or atheism they present their cover and excuses via their philosophical arguments just like Cain did with God. “Am I my brothers keeper?” Cain says. And so the mark of Cain lives on and I see it in atheists. Every time an atheist is challenged and I hear him say ” well just because I can’t prove God doesn’t exist does that mean he exists? ” I hear Cain “how would I know? Am I my brothers keeper?” Excuses excuses.
So how do we evangelise atheists? You don’t. You simply leave them be and pray for them because belief in God is a Grace of God, a grace we need daily all of us and that we pray for the world to have. So pray.