Should we be trying to stop people being religious? There seems to me to be a personal psychological payoff for people to be religious and it can help some communities come together in a positive way. So why stop religion? Why not fight for tolerance. Perhaps this is impossible and I am being naive, but I think it is equally impossible to stop a way of thinking that is so deeply ingrained that it is like a rushing river. And perhaps necessary for some people to cope. The majority of people are not intellectual and do not wish to think too hard they just want a system to live by.
Why not argue for tolerance and secular thought in politics and other communal decisions. Take power away from religions by insisting that it impossible to have world peace with opposing world views involved in the communal decision making. Aim for something - communal tolerance rather than against religion which is already serving people.
Argue that people have a right to their world view, even if they insist on believing in an orbiting teapot. That people should have access to a variety of viewpoints and have the right to select their own belief according to how it best makes them happy, or serves their psychological needs. Fight to prevent actual injustice and mistreatment that is the symptoms of religion, but never take away freedom of belief.
If you challenge a Christian (or other religious person) to ignore their religion you are asking them to break down the very fabric of their life. You are not really offering them an alternative to what their psychology needs in the midst of their complicated life. If the atheist believes that ultimately our lives don't matter then why do we care if someone chooses to live in denial if that serves to give them a focus for their lives. We only care because we are frustrated by how that belief affects the greater community or perhaps because we believe their children are being brainwashed or we are threatened by some beliefs being dangerous.
What we are really angry, frightened and frustrated about is that religion is affecting us and humanity. So perhaps we need a different tack. I would fight against anyone who tried to stop my right to believe anything I wanted or nothing, so I would fight to stop anyone preventing my neighbour from believing in teapots as long as their teapot belief does not infringe upon me. Even if they taught their kids the importance of teapots I still would not stop them as I do not want anyone to stop me teaching my children about science and skepticism.
I am an ex-Christian and as such I have empathy for the religious life, I personally feel better without it, but I know people who seem happy with it. A man who has devoted time, energy and emotion into becoming a Christian minister and whose self-esteem and livelihood rests on his belief. A man who has lost his mother and who believes he has had a spiritual contact with her. A women whose childhood is steeped in loving Christianity and has a wonderful husband, children and a happy life that revolves around shared belief and communion with a wonderful community of believers. I once belonged to that community and as part of it helped that young women to come into adulthood in a positive way and helped other young people from less caring families feel cared about and validated.
I am not particularly precious about Christianity as I also see its darker side; "Jesus camp", attitude to the Gay community, War! I could go on... But I am not sure that atheist preaching is the answer. Do not misunderstand I am not suggesting this community is guilty of it at all, I feel it is a wonderful community of thinking people and am so glad to be a part of it and I do believe it is good to share information and encourage awareness so that those who are oppressed by religion have options.
But my question to you fellow thinkers is this, is preaching atheism ie trying to make happy Chistians (or other religious people) change their minds the way to world peace or should we be pushing for world peace through tolerance by defending the right to religious belief?