Several years ago, after an appeal on an atheist website to engage an atheist in a reasoned debate, one responded. We began our discussions fully aware of the chasm between our world views. We emailed back and forth for some time with some relatively vanilla statements about our respective beliefs.
As we continued to engage, however, the climate grew more intense. The atheist grew more confrontational with me. I kept my cool as he was losing his. He finally became hostile towards my defense of my faith. His statements grew more hostile towards my God.
I was finally able to discern from his comments that this proclaimed atheists did in fact believe in God. He was over-the-top angry because of some events in his life that caused him and his family unimaginable pain and suffering. He believed in God but blamed God for allowing the tragedies to happen to him and his family. I don’t recall the events, but I remember how devastating they sounded to me at the time.
My email encounter with this non-believer gave me cause to consider whether this might be the case for other avowed atheists. Maybe some of them become angry at God. Rather than try to resolve it with the God, they decide they’ll show God and just not believe in Him anymore.