A dear family friend of my parents passed away a weeks days ago. He and my mother loved to have philosophical and theological discussions. Incidentally one of my favorite discourses as well.
He was an atheist and so is my mother.
What differentiated the two of them was the fact that he would practically shove his beliefs down anyones throat. My mother is private about it. And the two of them would have the biggest squabbles about that. Her take on the whole thing was that personal beliefs are just that, personal. And whether it is a deep belief in God of what ever flavor you choose, atheism or the spaghetti monster, it isn't something that is meant to be forced upon people. She used to tell him that he was just as bad as the Jehova's witnesses and Evangelists who would come pounding on our door with regularity. His response was irate to say the least. And he could be irate at great length and with gusto. >Grin<
I completely agreed with my mother. As much as I disliked it when complete strangers felt it necessary to try and convert me (and there was something about my mother and me that attracted religious nuts) I felt that it was just as bad when our family friend ambushed people with his particular brand of religion. It was inconsiderate and rude and for some reason atheists have lately delighted in shoving their convictions into peoples faces.
My children are raised in an agnostic home. My husband believes in God. I am purely agnostic but make sure that my children understand that this is merely my point of view and that they are welcome to build their own. I tell them about different religions and encourage them to be respectful and considerate but not ever be scared or bullied into any sort of faith or belief. I cannot stand some of the atheist activities I've been reading about over the years. What bothers me is that they can be so incredibly intolerant towards people and symbols of faith. Why do they feel so threatened I wonder?
Do you really need to be a person of the same faith or at least any kind of faith to reply in kind when someone wishes you something like 'God be with you?' What do you think?