You know what really gets to me about religion? Preaching. When someone tells me that I'm going to Hell or simply attempts to insert a god into my life, I get annoyed. I have no problem with people choosing to believe in gods anymore than I have a problem with people believing in the Loch Ness Monster. It really does me no harm as long as they don't interject it into public policy or my life in any other fashion. I view it as, "If they are doing no harm, why bother?" But what's worse than religious preachers are Atheist preachers. We've all seen them. The openly mock people whom are trying to befriend (IE Facebook) them because they have a different viewpoint. They never miss an opportunity to pound their chest about the ills of religion, the stupidity of some of it's positions. "Uh, Sir, your hypocrisy needs to be tucked back into your pants there. It's showing a bit."
I love to argue and debate. I'm not an in the closet Atheist. You'll find me making posts and comments in the public about religion. If a story strikes me as cool, informative, or puts Atheists in a positive light, it goes up on Facebook. But there are those out there that preach the evil of religion to all of their friends. Not on a page that is dedicated to religion, but in front of everyone, every chance they get. They mock belief as if this will incite change. The truth is that they will look at the person mocking and often simply decide that they don't want to be around you. In reality, how is this any different than the actions of Jerry Falwell yelling at anyone who will listen? How is the getting in someone's face about your beliefs different from Fred Phelps telling us to repent now or burn in Hell? Would you suggest that those whom belittle their friends have no vitriol when they say things like, "Adult Fairy-tales" to someone's face without being prompted? Hate is hate, and you should recognize it for what it is.
I have a friend that posts biblical passages all of the time on Facebook. "The redeemer is risen". I don't feel the drive to confront this, but he has another friend that does. I find it abhorrent. I don't get it. Our mutual friend is mellow. He's simply a man of faith. He's invited me to join him for MMA Events because we are mutually fans and we have a long history of getting along just fine. He knows where I stand, and I know where he stands. And? If a debate were to arise, I'm not saying that I won't speak candidly. I'm not saying that I wouldn't discuss religion in-general with him because it would be very interesting. I love doing that over a beer. But what I wouldn't do is preach to him about why he's stupid, childish, or his religion is evil. I wouldn't stand there and tell him why he's a failure. Why would I desire to break someone? Does it bolster my position if everyone thinks like me? Shouldn't my position stand on it's own even if faced with a mob that disagrees? Isn't being a good Ambassador really the way to win people over?
Justification of this behavior causes me to shake my head. Any stretch of the argument that religion dumbs us all down really isn't relevant to the Average Joe Believer. You can point to a Sarah Palin that openly says that we are "taking God out of this country" and note that she's a dumbass. You can point to a Ted Haggard whom said, "I can call the president at any time." and uses that access and influence to direct the country and note that he's a fraud. They have hoisted themselves into the public sector and plan on telling the world what to think. But my friend whom is married to a minister that says "I love being in ministry with ...." deserves no condemnation. They serve a feeling that many feel the need to nurture. It's not any different than Corona making me feel warm and fuzzy. Sure, you could point to Corona's ills, death on the roads, fat guts, broken homes, violence, but isn't it really about how people use it? It's not the product, but the person using it that is the problem.
To those that have sites or pages dedicated to Atheism, I have one that points out the ills of religion. I come here to get out my frustrations. I talk to my wife or go have a beer with any number of atheist friends. What I don't do is pick fights with my religious friends just to call them names. My Grandmother died New Years Eve and someone posted "Take comfort in knowing that you'll see them again." There is no need to react to that. They are caring for me, even if it is misguided. Don't be that person whom doesn't permit others to be themselves. You are no better or less hateful than any number of Evangelical Preachers. Live and let live.