Have you ever been in a debate with a Christian and what you said about their religion offended them personally? Have any of those people been your friends, to whom you have great respect? How do you go about apoligizing for something you are not sorry for saying?
I wear my atheism with pride. I think it is very important that everyone speak out when given the opportunity to place religion in the spotlight and reveal its many ugly sides that are so often ignored. Yet I'm finding more and more that it is impossible to do so without making enemies in the process. Regardless, I feel it is something that needs to be done, but I still feel bad for the hurt feelings I'm causing. I NEVER attack them personally, but if you attack their Jesus or their God, their reaction indicates otherwise... Ugh. It's frustrating.
Did you know that "the Lord" in the Bible orders for ADULTERY & RAPE? Over 200+ shocking Biblical instances for atheists, agnostics, LGBT activists, and general skeptics to use as ammo when debating fundamental Christians at: www.dawkinstruth.com
God commands for abortion in Hosea 13:16, "Their pregnant women will be ripped open."
OK I have been in this boat before once, I am just thankful this friend is understanding once calmed down. I simply said "I apologize for hurting your feelings, that was not my intention, but I am not sorry for what I said. What I said was fact based, and in no way directed at you personally, just at the topic at hand."
It worked well because this friend has some senses to him. You can give it and/or some variation of explaining your intentions a try, but best of luck.
I don't have any friends who are so staunchly christian that they care that I don't believe in gods.
Humor used in the right way is a way to sidestep peoples emotions. Sam Harris and Brian Redban mention this. The conversation takes a turn after about 8 minutes so I'd suggest only watching the rest if you're interested in the rest of the debate, but in the end the 8 minutes is what we're really talking about.
The Elvis reference they mention can be found here. Just keep in mind that the disbelief you have in itself is offensive to the religious person so you're still going to have that hammer over your head.
Oh another one I said that pissed a christian off was "We should kick the south out of the union, they're a f*ing embarrassment." I was just kidding, but the guy did not take it well.
Unfortunately Hank, many of us (atheists included) cling so tightly to our opinions, that they're often inseparable from ourselves - to attack those opinions, is to attack us personally.