The atheist is much closer to God than the agnostic.
In Christ’s words “My God, My God – why hast thou forsaken me” we sense the passion and grief that comes from Man’s separation from God. The atheist strives both to maintain this separation, while railing against all those who claim it can be overcome. Their faith in emptiness itself (Nihilism) or their assertion that they have the right assert their own meaning (Existentialism) is a comprehensible – if confused – act of faith.
They know something more is required – and they refuse to be fobbed off with second-hand goods. They sense, as Weil puts it:
“God can only be present in creation under the form of absence.”