Being an atheist isn't really a choice.
I am not speaking for everyone, let's get that out of the way right now.
People cannot just flick a switch and start believing in a God. I wonder if some religious people think being an atheist is something everyone can willingly just change about themselves?
Personally, I would love to believe in an afterlife, in an all loving God, and in Heaven. I would LOVE to see my relatives again who have passed away. However, how can I just start believing these things? Could you just start believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? It is the exact same thing.