Any time that the issue of religion comes up I can't really say anything without getting the "stop attacking my faith" line out of her.
Out of your girlfriend or her mom?
If it is your girlfriend, just explain to her that you aren't attacking anything, you are trying to have a discussion that is simply making her uncomfortable, and if she feels that way, then you can both try to not bring it up. I have a similar situation with my wife, and we just don't discuss religion very much.
If it is her mother, set boundaries. If she feels attacked, then she shouldn't bring up her religion around you. Agree to disagree and leave it at that.
Don't start a discussion, if they start one then discuss until they start with the "attacking my faith" stuff. Then simply say that if your faith is so weak that it can't stand up to the smallest of scrutiny, either re-evaluate your faith, or do not put it in a position where it will be dissected and scrutinized.
Just word it a lot nicer than I did here. :)
From my girlfriend, the mom part was just saying where she is getting her belief. I try that, somehow it keeps popping up. I suppose that would be the best rout to go. I guess I just have to word things better.
A big problem with a lot of religious people is that they have difficulty imagining hypotheticals. But you can try this: ask your GF how she would feel if you were a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Sikh, or Jew.
If she says she'd be okay with it, tell her that being an atheist is just like that, only minus one more deity.
If she says you'd be going to hell, ask her to stop attacking your faith.
I am a declared atheist and my wife is a devout Christian. We made the agreement early while we were dating that neither of us would try to convert the other and that any discussions on the topic would remain intelligent and respectful. We've been married for ten years, now, and our dichotomous beliefs have caused us little to no trouble in our relationship.
I don't know how old the two of you are, but if she reacts to any kind of religious discussion by immediately going on the defensive, then she may not be ready for a relationship outside of her faith. If you're both young, then that might change with maturity. If you're both older, then she is probably already set in her ways.
One thing you need to realize, however, is that if you cannot resolve this issue now while your relationship is in its fresh, romantic stages (boyfriend/girlfriend), the odds of resolving it later when the "magic" has diminished somewhat are extremely low. You would be setting yourselves up for failure.
Good luck to both of you.
Actually, the more defensive she is the less firm her belief may be. She may not want to confront her doubts. The more firm and thoughtful a believer is, the more ready they are to do battle. This doesn't mean their beliefs are true, of course, but just that they believe them enough to fight for them.
You won't like my advice: it's not going to work.
You're young and because you're young you think this may be your only chance at love. However, love shouldn't involve one person or the other having to change their beliefs.
True, her belief is wrong, but, as she's indicated, trying to change her will just drive a wedge between you. You can do one of two things:
1) Ride it out for as long as it lasts, and it will last longer if you don't make an issue of religion. Know, however, that the prospect of it working long term is slim.
2) Move on and look for potential partners who have beliefs more compatible with your own.
You know, one of the most annoying things about Christians is their tendency to want to proselytize. You'll be more attractive to her the less you annoy her.
But, like I said, in the end it won't work.
Some people are open to a bit of a perspective shift. Your position cannot conflict with hers any more than her opinion conflicts with yours.
If the following things are true:
... then it follows that you are no more attacking her views than she is attacking yours. Fairness should demand either both of you are at liberty to state your beliefs or neither are.
Personally, I'd say the latter is not healthy, but it is understandable to a certain degree that conflict is undesirable. Ground rules can be set on how you both express your views on religion, and compromises can be made, but if she cannot understand that it is a two-way street... well, that's not a good sign imo.
It should be noted if your position is the minority position, and she feels like she represents the norm, you will almost certainly require more tact and sympathy than she will. The status quo tends to feel justified in remaining so while challengers are required to justify themselves (or something like that). This is one of those aspects of life which tends not to be fair.
My girlfriend is a christian. It isn't much of an issue with us. We have basically decided to agree to disagree. We don't talk about it much if at all, because we both realize we won't change the other's mind. She doesn't shove her views on me nor I on her.
That's okay for a dating or going steady kind of thing, but when you marry someone, as they say, you marry their family as well. You'd better assess how much of a problem this might be or what compromises you may have to make to keep them happy as well as your wife. If you don't do that, you're putting her in the middle, possibly having to choose one side or the other.
My wife's church kicked her out and told her she was no longer welcome there when we got married. Her family has slowly come around to the fact that I am not sacrificing virgins in our basement on Halloween, but the whole experience just reinforced my belief that Christianity is an exclusive club, and one I have absolutely zero interest in joining.
It's funny how many Christians have forgotten some of the best aspects of Christianity which should include tolerance in the spirit of "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."