believe me, a planeload of atheists on a jet on the way to Hawaii and three of the four engines go out, the atheists start praying to who? God. Not the ocean, to save 'em. Everybody believes in God at some point, but not until they face their mortality. Everybody does. They have some God.I find this sort of thing pretty funny, but you see it all the time. Some theists apparently don't believe that atheists are serious. They can't imagine that people really don't believe in their deity. They think that all it will take is a life-threatening situation to peel back the thin veneer of atheism, and bring someone's true belief in God to the forefront. This is why so many people believe the "no atheists in foxholes" myth. What Limbaugh doesn't seem to understand is that while most atheists did once believe in God, they eventually came to realize that there just wasn't any evidence that he existed. Atheism isn't a shallow coat of paint covering a theist core.
A few years ago I was in the hospital with a colon situation that involved a massive infection. I had never before even been hospitalized. I spent over six hours in surgery and the surgeon told my wife I almost died. He told me that when he opened me up and looked inside that it was, in his words, "a real mess in there." After surgery I spent about three days in hideous agony that I can't describe, other than to say that it was the worst experience of my life -- the equivalent of being tortured non-stop. Not even morphine could block it. Did I stop being an atheist and look to God for relief? No, because I don't think there is any evidence that one exists. I'm certain my view of God's existence isn't going to change suddenly because I'm going down in a plane crash, and I think that's true of most atheists.
Theists often complain that atheists are disrespectful and dismissive of their religious beliefs. One reason for that is that most theists have no respect at all for atheism, and can't even accept that people really don't believe in God. To them God is so self-evident, that they just can't grasp disbelief.