Bottome line for me… If a person tells you that they would be a murdering, child molesting, hateful, burglarizing, bank robbing, drug using, gang banging, wife beating, rapist were it not for his or her belief God. LEAVE THAT PERSON THE FUCK ALONE.
Next: For those that are questioning their faith… “Leave them the hell alone as well.” Do you like it when the Christians come knocking on your door? Do you appreciate street preaching? Do you like the asshole on the street who ends a conversation with “Have a blessed day?” or “Praise Jesus/” What is your reaction to those sorts of people? Why do you want to be one? Just stop! Stop worrying about other people and their lives. Stop worrying about what they believe and why. BUTT OUT. It’s not your business. Don’t “convince” them of anything. Stop trying.
What you do is show up as yourself. Just be who you are. If they ask, you can share. When they are curious, answer their questions. When they make overt comments, “Praise the Lord” in public, I like to assert “And all the other Gods too.” Something to just get them off track and thinking.
There are times and places for challenging. There are times and places for just being a human being. I have a friend who is a Christian and the only time I have really sat with him and challenged his beliefs were when I was invited to do so. We have sat down twice now and talked about his faith and I have known him for a year. He knows he can sit and talk with me. He knows that he is my friend. And he certainly knows that we have different ways of looking at the world around us.
There is an old saying that I love and I am sure it comes from one of the ancient philosophers but I do not remember which one… It probably turns up in many ancient writings. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
I have used this theme in many of my teacher training programs as I try to convince teachers that they are not teachers. Teacher is a job tital but not who they are. Standing in front of a buinch of people and spounting shit they do not what to listen to, does not make you a teacher.
I go into a little routine where I place a marker on a table and invite people to try and teach me to pick it up while I completely ignore them. I sing songs, pick my nose, go to sleep, start conversations with other people and ask if I can go to the bathroom, all while they try to show me how to pick the marker up off the table. You can not teach a student who is not ready to listen. If you are working harder than the student, you are doing something wrong. Learning takes place in the mind of the student and not in the mind of the teacher. Finally; people have the right to fail. People have the right, not to understand you. They have the right to find their own way. Let them do that.
Learn to just be there for them, but in the end… You have to let them find their own way. Don’t be an ugly Atheist. You don’t have to convince anyone of anything. We do not have a magic book that tells us to go out and convert the masses. Be yourself and be willing to share… it’s enough.