As a atheist who was raised in a religious environment I think I know about how religion informs lifestyle and belief systems. I find that the more religious speak I am exposed to,the more I move away from the religious beliefs I was raised with. So engaging with religiosos seems only to reinforce my atheism rather than challenging it.
I wonder however why some Christians seem hell bent on engaging with Atheists? Are they reinforced by the encounter? Are they challenged? Or does the non-believer simply threaten their Christian beliefs by simply existing? I wonder if Christians need everyone to believe because their beliefs are fragile and need mass reinforcement? OR do they simply want to save others? Why is my non belief a priority for the belief systems of others?
For those of us who come from religion and become atheists it is kind of like finding out about Santa. I love watching children enthralled with Santa...and would never take away their beliefs. But for me once Santa was exposed...there was no going back. I did not tell my son about Santa, he came home from day care and talked all about him and so I left him with that idea. One day he asked me if Santa was real and I asked him if he really wanted to know and then I told him.
Also there are Christians who are like Atheists in that they just want to live and let live...you know I am not talking about you!! I am wondering about those who feel it is important to inject religion into the public sphere including schools. I am wondering about those who openly seek engagement by baiting Atheists into conversations by accusing them of all sorts of heinous acts. I am wondering about those who think prayers are universal and innocuous.
My mother still believes in religion and I envy the fact that she finds comfort and peace in her beliefs. I would never seek to take that away. She has worked hard, suffered much and deserves the vision of joy that God brings to her.
I just have to wonder why others cannot be happy for me.