I think an important part is not talking about religion in a very bashing matter, i do however question and explain the mistakes in the sermons every time i go with my girlfriend. After that i don't think there is a major problem (yet, as i'm still young and no children).
I understand you're thinking, but at the same time the way I look at it is that people need a stable, reliable and lasting method of coping. Religion is neither of those things as it has yet to be proven, but evidence is constantly being stacked against the idea of there being any truth to it. If someone becomes dependent on Religion to cope with issues and to provide them with hope to go on, when they are presented with evidence against it and start to question it could really make their world crumble and put them in a really bad place. Its been said that religion is the "opium of the masses". Opium makes you feel good, but in the end its an escape with severe withdrawal symptoms.
I do agree with you about not passing judgement and respecting other's opinions though (unless of course they are infringing on the rights of others). All important lasting relationships should be built on mutual trust and respect.
I am married to someone who has not called himself a dis-believer...yet. He wasn't raised religious but he was raised with the faith that there was a god watching over all. He agrees with most of what I pass along to him and I came to this place while married to him. He never gave me any problems over the journey or question why I was doing it. I think he is closer to an atheist then he knows, but he is scared to take that last step.
As to others who are close to me (parents, siblings), I usually don't discuss religion at all. They know how I feel, I know how they feel and because the majority of them are believers, but of never go to church, smorgasbord type, it isn't something they feel compelled to defend to me, nor I to them.
I do think that if I had friends or family who were very devout, that I would address it only if they made it a point to convince me of their side. I truly feel the facts are on my side and I can present a good case. However, I know that it's not about the facts for most people and that it may strain a relationship under those circumstances.
I grew up in a strongly theist family, all of which are still pretty non-thinking conservatives, and am surrounded by mormons where I live and work. I pretty much avoid it altogether unless I'm talking to like minded individuals. It also keeps my friend list fairly small.
With my friends (Christians) I'm pretty open about my feelings, ideas, and experiences relating to atheism and theism. I walk the line between being authentic and being offensive. With one half of my family (Catholics, lapsed Catholics, one other atheist!, a Buddhist), I hardly censor myself at all--I figure they know how I am. :-) But I don't go out of my way to provoke them. The other half of the family (Southern Baptist) I hardly ever see and they're very closed minded. I used to try to reason with them but that went nowhere. Now I just try to steer the conversation away from inflammatory topics. In a work environment, I consider talking about atheism and theism unprofessional, so I would always politely change the topic if it comes up.
I avoid it all together. There is no use trying to talk to them its like trying to get a pig to fly.
I have tryed to manage but failed. I was close to win :) I'll never think of that time as lost.
My best friend is a Catholic or Christian... not sure what she calls herself now, but I remember the exact moment when she found out I was a non-believer. She literally looked at me with this "I can't believe you!" face and started crying. We're still best friends, but I avoid religious talk with her unless she brings it up first.
As for my boyfriend, I'm still not sure where he stands on all of this. I brought home a book by Richard Dawkins and when he saw me reading it, he asked "What's with the book?" I don't think he minds, but he hasn't been much help when it comes to support.
My family... I assume they know. My sister does for sure. I don't think my parents care much, since they never were religious- just liked calling themselves Catholics, I suppose.
Its really on a person to person basis. For the most part its a non issue. We just dont discuss religion, unless they bring it up. As time goes on I find it harder and harder to be around believers because so much of their lives are intertwined with religion on how they act and how they draw conclusions in everyday activities. For the most part I keep my mouth shut at my day job, I won’t lie about being an atheist but I'm not outspoken about it, only because there is such a stigmata with atheism. In my personal life I make it no secret. If they will scoff or look down on me simply because I don’t buy into their fairy tales, then I don’t want them around me and I will cut off contact. Life is too short to deal with all the bullshit. Family member or not.