My relationship with family totally deteriorated. I just couldn't look at them the same way anymore - they were obstinately delusional.
It's hard to say what changed for me though since I lost my faith between the ages of 13 and about 23; so many things were changing that it's difficult to say what impact my lack of religiousity had.
My father has a hard time with it, as does my mother. It's awkward, around the holidays and what not...
That sounds like a negative experience. I just throw their religiosity in with other kinds of crazy, like "crazy aunt Margaret who believes in astrology". Love's easier with a light heart and all that.
Some times I feel shame when reading the ordeals of others moving to atheism, I had no peer pressure in regards to religion, yet it took me over 10 years to make the change, I started having doubts about my belief at around 30 but I clung on till my 40s, my family and friends were indifferent to the change, my father who remains christian does ask "how can you explain everything?" usual question, but he does respect my position.
I've been fortunate living in a country where atheism is tolerated and having a family who does not think I've turned to satanism, anyway to the point, reading the ordeals of other atheists is why I've started taking a hard line approach to religion, families and friends are being torn apart by this superstitious clap trap, it not only happens between theists and atheists but also within theism itself when someone changes there religion, people are letting an "idea" because that's all it is, come between them, we question politics but we are not allow to question religion, it seems to have some kind of special protection, well, it's time that ended, I tell theists now, I may respect you as a person, but don't ever expect me to respect your silly religious beliefs.
As David Silverman says, you are not doing them any favours when you respect their religious belief, your just reinforcing it, time for religion to get the same treatment as any other idea, prove your position or you do not have one.
They can say whatever they want about you, you satan-loving bastard.
However, they'll get mad at you for saying 'god' and 'damn' in the same sentence.
I'm occasionally given opportunities to say god doesn't give a damn, and enjoy doing so.
"I realized while I had a lot of friends very few were real friends" - this is exactly what happened to me
Lost some friends, but something else interesting started happening. You find out that many people are "almost atheists". I'll make an atheistic comment and often people smile with their eyes in total agreement. Or even an "ah-ha nod". And I live in the Southern US. Leads me to believe there could be a slow shift happening in this country.
The word itself has a stigma attached to it. People who are in fact atheists and are candid about what they (don't) believe will refuse to accept the label.
I feel deeply insulted by someone telling me they want to 'pray for me'...