Well said. I believe a third possibility may be "I know there is no magic or God, but pretending there is is really beneficial to me so I will continue to play along."
That's along the lines of what I was going to say. If there's no price to be paid for doing so, most people will take the path of least resistance. It's hard standing up and saying the emperor has no clothes. Somebody might threaten to take away your corner office and the BMW along with it.
I think most people will sway with the wind. As long as the theists are the 800 pound gorilla, they will parrot the party line. I don't really think most people give it a whole lot of thought really as it's something they've been taught to believe.
Also, I think we'd be making a mistake in thinking our personal confrontations and arguments change the thinking of many believers. We're nothing but an annoyance to them. We hold no power over them so we're easy to dismiss. That's all part of the numbers game.
In time, if we continue to grow as a demographic, we'll be taken more seriously. Possibly too seriously for a time. Some of these people worry me.
It is war over resources.
Well in America we are all living in the wake of the Cold War. A lot of people associate atheism with communism. Also, I think you should be concerned with stereotypes. They play a significant role in xenophobia and what could be described as ultra-nationalism.
There is a saying, if you want good people to do horrible things you need religion. Stereotypes (whether true or false) can encourage dehumanization. In the US, most minority groups are a tragedy away from persecution, both social and/or governmental.
I agree with what you are saying Ethan.
Lol Steph. Sorry if I came across as rather assertive.
I don't think it makes everyone cringe. I believe that a viewpoints cringe worthiness is dictated by the cultural zeitgeist of where it is presented. In other words, an atheist in New York city will enjoy a much more tolerant populace than an atheist in Tennessee. Or Alabama. Hell, anywhere in the southern United States, really.
I personally find most religious people to be insanely lazy, disinterested followers. Brother preacher tells them that atheists eat babies and ravage villages, and they believe it, because it's easier to stomach that we're inherently evil people than pose any question to their faith in an attempt to explain our conclusions. Many of them lack the staying power to actually, you know, learn anything at all. I don't know one SINGLE christian who can even remotely describe evolution, and infact some of my christian friends think evolution and the big bang are the exact same thing (not sure how, but they do). Then of course, you come up with those christians who will say something like "I believe in microevolution, but I don't believe that man came from monkey. Why do monkey's still exist, then?" *shudder*