Updated: Jun 6, 2022
Years ago, I told a Churchain friend of mine, "if you want to know something, you must first not know it."
I remember how I explained fake friendship in the US. They struggled with it because they did not understand friendship. They had only a vague notion of it. People they called friends were mere acquaintances. You can do a simple experiment to learn about friendship. Start with an assumption that friendship doesn't exist. Totally forget about it. Continue to live as you do. One day you will find yourself in a relationship where truth, loyalty, and selflessness will emerge. It will add value/meaning to your life. And you will know what to call it. You can also look back at a time when you were little and had a relationship characterized by truth and loyalty. The same process can be used to discover love. You must experience it before you label it.
Friendship is a discovery, not an invention. You can find it only if you first lose it. So long you already know it, you would keep trying to invent it based on what you know about it. You would invariably try to force your concept of friendship into being. You would impose it on others and expect them to requite it. Since they have their own concepts, they would expect something else. The worst part is even if you find a relationship where your concept is satisfied (if you successfully invent it), you would feel like the friendship is fake and empty. It is indeed.
We do the same in statistics. If you want to prove a statement, your null hypothesis must be its antithesis. The null hypothesis here represents atheism.
The reason people worship stones and idols is that they haven't abandoned their initial concepts and beliefs about God. They haven't disavowed knowledge. In fact, they want to will their concept or idol of God into existence. They want to impose their God(s) onto the universe. If they reject knowledge, delete all the cache, they can allow themselves to experience truth, which emerges from the unknown, not from knowledge. From knowledge emerge concepts, symbols, names, categories, forms, interpretations, summaries, etc.
Atheism allows rejection of all beliefs and concepts, which here are idols and man-made concepts of God. The next step is to move from denial to humility. It is true that man-made idols are fake Gods, but it does not mean there is nothing more out there. What is it? Be humble.
Thus, it may be reasonable to say that those who have not rejected man-made idols and religions have not yet begun their journey.