Here is the concise version of the post below this one:
The real Elisha ben Avuyah never denied the existence of God. He was a heretic, but in a different manner.
The Elisha ben Avuyah of As a Driven Leaf is a modern man of science/ reason who ends up becoming an atheist.
Milton Steinberg engages in some sneaky and sometimes subtle manipulation of texts in order to do this (good thing he owns up to it in the Author's Note at the back of the book, which I suggest reading first, as it is his disclaimer.)
Now, you ask, why didn't I just write that to begin with? A couple reasons:
1. The process of figuring this out is far more important to me than the end result/ information
2. I write "Resource Posts." They are basically compilations of lots of information and the google-searchable aspect of them helps people. It's nice to have everything in one place.
3. I often write papers based on my blogposts. For my own sake, I like having all my sources at my fingertips.
Perhaps, from now on, I'll add on a concise version to all my lengthy posts for those of you simply interested in the point.