I can't help but feel at a disadvantage here. It seems every time religion comes up in my discussions with others, it always melts into me constantly defending my atheism, while every point I bring up is brushed off for another shot at my 'godlessness.' I try to help these people, but how can I when I can't get any information to them at all.
Sadly friend, you are not the only one. Christianity and other religions are very efficient at brainwashing their members and they usually wrap their steely fingers around peoples mind at an early age. They find it hard to accept anything more than god, sure you find the occasional few with an open mind, but sadly, most are as closed up as the battery compartment of an iPhone. Best thing to do is put yourself in their shoes, and try push for the "You have to look beyond your own reality, past the bubble of religion" it's a tough angle.
My best friend is a devoted Christian, we constantly clash swords at "Who is right" and I am now trying a more solid approach. I basically ask her questions which Christians CANNOT answer properly. "If god is loving to all who accepts him, why does he still plague High-Christian areas with disease and/or famine?"
They will try some bs like "Gods testing us". SO. Answer with another question.
"Why does he only test certain areas? And why does entire areas fail his 'test' and meet untimely deaths?"
They will now resort to the "I have no idea" by saying "It's one of the mysteries of god"
Now for the killing blow.
"How does this god expect us to believe in his might and power if he never shows us solid examples which can be backed and proven? If he is ominous and powerful, shouldn't he have the ability to convince all humans into the Christian belief?"
It leaves them stuttering, hunting their biblical minds for an answer.
It may come out like; "Its a test of your own faith, you have to trust in which you cannot see"
If the argument goes this far, then the chances of convinces this said Christian into believing anything other than god is the same as moving a tent without removing the pegs.
Problem with asking them questions that they cannot answer, they will try the same on you. Which means they will say stuff about creation. Try reminding them that "God created the heavens and the earth" doesn't explain it any better than "Ka-boom" (Don't bother explaining the Big Bang, it will just frustrate you).
Carrying a bible isn't necessary, if it comes up, tell them the Bible is just a book, what proof do they have for it being written by anything more than just a man?
It's either that, or you can slap them in the face, then ask why God didn't stand up for them and hit back.
And I would like to follow Rachel's approach. But I have to quote Ghandi..."I Like Christianity, but I do not like Christians, they are so unlike their Christ". So many Christians are complete idiots because they get it into their head they are better than anyone, because god is on there side...Some Christians are great people, really loving and caring (Like my good friend), but too many of them are brainwashed twits. I can't let this stand....
Sorry if my comment is rather long and contains ramblings....it's 10pm and I have been studying...
Sadly, I think that we are loosing (if we every really had it) the art of having a conversation to understand another's point of view. More often than not, when people with different world views get into a conversation, it's more an attempt to
1) prove the other wrong, or
2) prove I'm right, or
1) and 2) simultaneously.
Unfortunately, this kind of mindset leads to the guerrilla tactics of cutting another person off, misrepresenting their point of view, resorting to personal attacks etc.
don't be like them..don't try to convert them if they are unwilling. they treat you this way because they are insecure with their own beliefs and don't want to go through any scary changes.
also study world religion. Christianity, Islam, Judaism Paganism...everything you can. they are very closely related and since Christians hate pagans so much, you can educate them on just how many things in the bible has pagan roots.