This "one true atheist" thing doesn't fly with me. If a person, at a particular point in their life, does not believe in god, then at that point they are atheist. If, at another point, they believe in the goddess then at that point they are pagan. If, at another point, they believe in the biblical god, then at that point they are christian.
I think one of the few constants with human behavior is that people change.
I agree with you for the most part. I think people can and do change. But for myself I can't imagine the mental gymnastics and the disconnect it would take to go back to theism (especially something like fundamentalist Christianity) after having really looked in depth at the inconsistencies and contradictions, after having pondered the problem of "sin" and of worshiping a deity who sends countless souls into eternal torment (to say nothing of the viewpoint claiming he blithely creates
them for that end).
I will admit that, as a person with a horrific fear of the cessation of thought that comes with death (and a bit of a hypochondriac on top of it!) there are times at which I find myself wishing that it was easy - that it was possible - for me to believe in a conscious afterlife through which I could at least keep up with all the things I might have left behind. But as much as it would be nice to just let go and embrace that belief, I just know too much about the actual workings of the world to be able to do that. It would be great to listen to the apologetic arguments and be able to tell myself that they make just as much sense and are just as feasible as the scientific ones, but the fact is that they don't hold a candle.
I'd love to be able to believe, but when I look at the people who manage to close their minds enough to all the evidence to do it, I just can't imagine being one of them. I can't imagine being the sort of person at whom I look with frustration at their inability to see reason.
Maybe there are atheists out there who are still capable of making that switch, but I can't imagine what it might take to get me to that point. The most I could probably manage would be some sort of cherry-picking deist/pagan/pseudochristian/new life approach. But I'd have a hard time looking at whatever I'd cobbled together at that point and not keel over laughing at the sheer SPAG of it.