VERY well stated.<quoted text>
OK... so let me get this straight. You paraphrase Marilyn's beliefs (acting as though it was something that just hit you out of the blue), I tell you how and why I think it's crap, so then you give me the original words like it's going to change my mind??
Let me try to explain in a different way and address the source (and validity) of your argument.
First, on this "Marilyn" person. I am 95% sure that this is a Christian shill. Those sound like the words of somebody who does not even remotely understand atheism. I can barely conceive of them being the words of somebody who truly was one. Not that this would diminish the validity of any claims, but it should be said that this one fails the litmus test pretty hard.
Now, the argument itself. Look at the foundation. The words "like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly" are nothing but establishment of a strawman at the very beginning. That is a logical fallacy, FYI. Any thing built from this foundation, any words that successfully attack the validity of the thought, are essentially void. This is NOT the belief of any atheist I know, and attempting to act as though it applies to ANY atheist without proof is 100% fraudulent. So, to be clear, the follow on argument ONLY applies to whatever stupid concept of atheism she claimed to subscribe to.
Now, her claim of "I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise". Again, this is not the kind of belief that I have ever seen an atheist have. You see, this isn't some soft conceptual debate where you can interpret the evidence available in some other way and have multiple theories that can prove true. There is LITERALLY no evidence available to humanity that can be used to demonstrate the existence of God. None. So there is no need to be curious if somebody could "convince you otherwise". The only curiosity is if there is evidence that we don't know about that could be used to demonstrate the existence of God.
I constantly seek out such evidence. That doesn't mean I'm doubting my assumptions, or that there is any way that any person on the planet could convince me of God's existence using all of the information I already know about, or that God is "pushing me" toward it. I do the same thing for many topics that are of significance to me. I want to know things. I read about things. I reason.
Lastly, this phrase "I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us."
It's gullible idiot food. You can't "come to find" something without evidence. You can only have faith that it's true. You can't say "God wants to be known", knowing full well that he gave us all the ability to observe the universe and think. If he did, he would make himself known and there would be as many atheists as "moon existence deniers". "He has surrounded us with evidence" only means that the moron writing the words here has NO concept of what the word "evidence" means.
I'm not trying to diminish your faith, as long as you're acknowledging that is what you have. I am trying to simply explain that what you have IS ONLY faith and that there is NO logical/reasonable/scientific way to state that God exists. Any argument to the contrary, without new evidence, is of absolutely no value. If religious people would recognize that, you'd probably find that all of the atheists you keep battling would simply disappear.
Also, LOL @ "their hope was completely ill-founded". Really? You really think we're going to believe that's not a full time Christian?
Especially the paragraph beginning with "I'm not trying to diminish your faith..."
Religious people are welcome to their "faith" as long as they are not trying to present it as facts that we ALL must live by.
They just don't seem to get that concept.