While responding to the topic, "RAISING AN ATHEIST CHILD IN THE BIBLE BELT", I was thinking about what to do when confronted with someone wanting to know your religious beliefs without ducking the question or lying.
I dislike the idea of offending others and I know it is necessary in some cases, however, I would think there might be an approach (at least initially) that could get your foot in the door of a rational discussion. Rational is not a term usually associated with the religious, but certainly someone can think of some non-confrontational responses aimed at letting theists think (another oxymoron, I know).
To me, religious intimidation in this country rivals what happened in Denmark with the cartoonists who pictured Muhammed in a newspaper/magazine. Propaganda was spread like wildfire across the muslim countries and threats along with deaths followed. These actions or speculation of such actions intimidated many newspapers from reprinting the cartoons in solidarity. That's how I feel atheists are treated in many parts of this country although not to the same scale of violence. Many are intimidated by actions against us or the threat of actions, so we say nothing or lie to avoid the issue. This needs to stop.
I'm not going to proclaim a 'call to arms' for atheists. That would be hypocritical of me, since I rarely take the issue head-on. I am close, however, thanks to Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris and think more people should promote awareness on a smaller scale. I just want to arm myself with the best and minimally offensive approach. Any thoughts?