When I tell people I am an atheist it is extremly hard to bring the words out of my mouth because it comes with so much criticism. In most responses I get "Oh, no" or "thats not right", something along those lines. I feel like I have to have a long drawn out discuss with people when faced with the question of religion because there are so many believers out there. So I'm wondering how does everyone also handle situations like this? Do you have to always defend yourself, your nonbelief? How should I handle, or what should I say the next time someone questions me about this and tries to belittle me for not believing in God? I'm sick of explaining myself to people who are religious!
About 900 of Jim Jones's followers committed suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, back in the 70s (I think it was the 70s) by drinking a powdered drink mix called Flavoraid laced with cyanide. (Hence the Koolaid saying.) Then the Heaven's Gate community a few years ago drank their own poison, thinking they would be transported to a spaceship hidden in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.
In 1843, a group of fundamentalist Protestants sold their belongings, then waited on a hilltop for Jesus to take them home. This event is still called the "Great Disappointment." Numerous other groups have prepared for the Second Coming in much the same way. The Left Behind books, rather clumsily written fictions about the Rapture have sold 70 million or so copies. Oral Roberts once raised millions by telling his followers that God had threatened to "call him home" if he didn't raise the money by a certain date. Ever noticed how God needs your money? He must be a big spender.
There's no end to it, no matter what you say. Do a Google search and you might find a video of a man in China who jumped into the lions' habitat, holding his Bible high to control the beasts. The lions were stumped for a few seconds, but then one attacked. The man's injuries looked pretty severe.
I vaguely remember activity in the late 1980's prediction which mirrored some of what you describe from the 1843 one.
I'm just wondering what sort of insanity we'll start seeing as May 21st gets a little closer. I don't even want to know what kind of stupidity will emerge next year.