I'll stand my ground and play devil's advocate just because there are so many different forms of pro-religious arrogance, and most of them have to be wrong just because most of them disagree with each other. I see SCAM written all over their peer-pressured beliefs and proclamations, when the general rule is that it's okay to believe in anything no matter how much suspension of critical thinking's required.
But I do agree with what (I think) you are saying about the importance of open dialog. Especially if that's the best way to debug the groupthink (on either side). Healthy skepticism should be the rule, no matter what one believes in.
Could not I be wrong about the giant purple spider living on Jupiter? Unicorns? Goblins? To give such credibility to these possibilities is absurd. The chances that we're wrong about these things are so small as to render them irrelevant. The same goes for the Abrahamic bat-shit god. So, to say 'we could be wrong' is not a good argument.
If you take a standpoint that everything not specifically disproven therefore has the possibility of existence and requires special recognition of such, you're going to lead a dull life. However, going the short route and dealing only with positive evidence makes things a damn sight easier, and surprisingly, is the default position virtually everyone follows constantly.
I'll be the first to admit I'm ignorant of many things.
But when I sat down to coffee the other day and began a theological discussion with a gentleman he told me he would kill all the gays if he could since the bible says homosexuality is a sin. WHAT! I just shook my head, wanted to bash my coffee cup over his head but that would lead to trouble. How ignorant can you be to make that statement when murder is a sin, maybe gays don't count, I don't get it, but it makes perfect sense in his disturbed mind.
When you have people like that who are allowed to vote and shape this society, how can you pretend to understand their side? It's all a numbers game and they outnumber us for the time being. I don't want it to be us vs. them but that's the way it is. I'd like to see this world change for the better, but I know I won't see it in my lifetime.
I don't go crazy when I hear someone say God bless America, you see it every damn day on TV with the Joplin, MO tornado and today for memorial day with all the ceremonies. I just get sick of seeing it and hearing it.
Anyway those are my ramblings on the subject, I could probably go on for a while if I wanted to.
I find it ignorant to imply that religious people 'just need false hopes'. It's also disturbingly condescending.
Religion is harmful , so their 'point of view' matters not to me.
There is also no possibility that we are wrong because the bible is contradictory and the concept of the Abrahamic God , Yahweh , is logically contradictory. So there is a 0% chance 'most' Christians are correct.
I only say most because I suppose at least one Christian doesn't think God is omni omni omni omni everything.
It is also ignorant to imply Atheists do not 'understand how they think'. We understand perfectly well how they think. Understanding Christianity and how Christians think is partly the reason most of us BECAME Atheist.
This accommodationist attitude really get's to me. I prefer not to play nice when a Bully is in my face.
I think peer pressure's a bigger reason people believe. As far as evolution goes, human culture evolved much faster when peer pressure brought people together. But now that we're all intellectual and read books and have brilliant conversations, not out on there hunting for food, people have a lot of time to quibble over new ideas like purpose and hope.
Hope that doesn't derail the thread. Just trying to throw in a little Big Picture. (Well, imho, at least.) I'd like to be able to better imagine what it must have been like way back then, when religion was first invented and used to abuse intellectual freedom and clear thinking.
America is at a social stand still right now, and it is almost all due to the old idealistic tactics of the christian faith.
People can't keep up with what techology is giving us. Take stem cell research for example. It is the future, there is almost no limit to what it could possibly accomplish. Yet they think 150 human cells have a soul, because of the they refuse to allow research of such a great thing.
So yes, I think actively helping people open their minds to how idiotic their beliefs are in an ALL MIGHTY being is a good thing. How this is done however, should be careful. Most christians attack you with their beliefs. They refuse to discuss something they do not already believe in.