on this subject, i have much to offer, having grown up in a highly educated, one parent (brilliant mother), agnostic household, and having chosen for social and then later for political (as an adult) reasons to argue vociferously in favor of scientific atheism, all before my conversion to christianity, which came about through divine grace, personal choices to investigate and to read the new testament, and the help of many christians of various denominations, including many protestants and many catholics.
first of all, i can testify that most atheists these days adhere to these basic ideas: a) there is no evidence for god, b) there is no evidence for any miracles that science cannot rationalize or explain or at least hypothesize about, c) religion is assuredly a social phenomenon, which lends to arguments against its divine nature, d) humans behave in much the same ways as the other great apes of earth and so therefore it is natural to assume that humans enjoy no special spiritual status among the creatures of earth, e) evolution is established fact amongst all of the academics of earth, which predisposes against age-old arguments for creationism, which the christian and other churches of earth have propped up for centuries, f) cultural relativism, which is accepted in all of academia worldwide, holds that each culture’s beliefs are products of geography, environment, ethnicity, etc, and that therefore no one belief system could trump all of the others in its claims to absolute truths or to any sort of monopoly on spiritual truths, etc. these are just a few of the major, extraordinarily powerful arguments nearly all research university professors worldwide might bring to bear in favor of scientific atheism.
when young adults enter the university systems these days, outside of special universities, they are immediately indoctrinated into this set of beliefs which molds them into rational, skeptical, critical, scientifically-minded consumers of facts and ideas, rather than indoctrinated into any intellectual milieu which permits that god, faith, spirit, religion, miracle, heaven, etc are words that denote real things (generally speaking).
so how did i and how can others who have been immersed in the academic secularism and scientific atheism of today ever enjoy real conversion to the christian and catholic faiths? it isn’t easy! it takes an open mind, help from experts on the bible and on christian faith, a willingness to change one’s social and political identity even if if means losing touch with friends and family, almost always a willingness to change one’s behavior significantly in order to shed sinful habits and desires, an effort to establish communication with god and jesus, an effort to pray and to worship etc, and most assuredly constant effort and help when certain problems related to what i call “the convert problem” arise, such as when old habits creep back up or when some old or new doubts stemming from some idea or psychological problem rear their heads. in my opinion, it is a really serious challenge for a diehard, well-educated atheist, steeped in atheist dogma and all of the powerful arguments against faith and religion, to truly come full circle and to love and to serve the lord as a devout christian, without any intellectual problems related to the major ideas atheism draws on, few of which i have listed above.
a few of the things which really helped me a lot, and which i offer here to this forum in case any readers of this thread can ever use this information to help others like me take the first few baby steps towards faith, are as follows: a) have an atheist read just the words of christ, as revealed to us through the gospels, and then ask the soul whether she or he finds any logical flaws in them and ask the soul whether it seems to her or him as if christ was some sort of charlatan or rather an honorable spiritual leader and guide, b) introduce the atheist to some of the facts which prove that christian miracles have occurred on earth and still continue to this day (facts about our lady of lourdes, our lady of fatima, the saints’ bones, etc), c) help the atheist overcome her or his inclinations to fall back on arguments against faith and god, etc, by being prepared with intellectual and academic information (or at least being willing to try to help the atheist find experts who can satisfy her or his qualms, doubts, arguments, etc) to counter repeatedly and effectively all of the soul’s rational counterarguments, d) be sure to explain to the atheist that contemporary christians accept that evolutionary science is not all bunk (this is terribly important, because one of the hearts of scientific atheism these days is the fact that evolution and creationism do not jibe), e) try to help the atheist find love and friendship among fellow christians you know (this has a very important effect, too, because it reaches the soul outside of pure rationalizations and factchecking, etc), f) invite the atheist to give the matter some thought, ask you some and/or some christian experts some more questions, and then think about whether she or he would like to take a chance and pray, go to church, talk out loud alone with god, etc (this, in my lay opinion, is a good final step, because eventually the atheist soul must make an effort to not only leave atheism behind but also to reach out to god with her or his heart).
do all please note here, however, that all of the above represents only a bunch of words that just rattled off the top of my head. i am not an expert in proselytizing amongst atheists. however, having converted to christianity, slowly, from a deep and entrenched scientific atheism to a full-blown love of god and all of his heavenly hosts and creations and a medium-weight understanding of the holy bible (at least of the new testament), i hope i have offered here some personal degree of insight which may prove helpful.