As I was watching a video exchange yesterday between DonExodus2 (IMHO, one of the top Evolution Gurus on YouTube) and TheAmazingAthiest (IMHO, an immature moron); I began to ruminate about some of the posts I've read here in the last couple of days. The posts I'm thinking about deal with the accusation that atheists (and agnostics, for I consider myself the latter) want to de-convert Christians or those of other religious beliefs. I would argue that while there are some who do, many do not care. In fact, I believe that there are many who, while they may consider themselves to be atheist, would fight for your individual right to be a Christian.
Now let me qualify that statement (and this is definitely a USA-centric argument, though no jingoism is intended). In the USA, our Bill of Rights grants us the ability to practice our religious beliefs (or the lack there of) freely and without constraint excepting those practices that breach social mores and other laws. In that regard I hold the Amendments highly, with the viewpoint that, while I may not agree with you, I will fight for your ability to hold those views. I have no desire to de-convert anyone, while I won't stop asking questions to get people to think about their beliefs; if you can demonstrate that you are not just mindlessly following an idea and that you have thought critically about those beliefs, I will support you in your ability to believe what you will.
Now I'm not saying that agnostics, ignostics, and atheists should just sit still while the religious run roughshod over us. I'm saying that I expect, as an individual to be able to express an intelligent, and well thought out point of view without scorn or ridicule, and I feel people should be able to expect the same from me. Now dumb statements of ANY sort always deserve ridicule :).
Now there is a big caveat with this though. THIS feeling only applies to personal beliefs and expressing your own views. This DOES NOT in any way include pushing your beliefs views on others. The moment that happens, you lose my respect. I'm not going to stop driving because the Amish don't, I wont give up my status as a second-hand vegetarian (I only eat things that eat grasses and vegetables) just because you "Earthlings" and it changed your life, and I definitely won't throw out perfectly sound scientific theory just because it conflicts with your 4,000 year old, Reader's Digest compilation of "Myths of the World." I don't want to de-convert you, I just want you to think critically. And the reason to remove "In God we Trust" is not to impose on your beliefs, but to remove the imposition from everyone else's.
P.S. Sorry if this rambles, I've been up for 22 hours now and I'm going to bed, but I wanted to put this up while the thought was still semi-fresh.
P.P.S. Dumb not allowing indented paragraphs...(i.e. edited for readability)