More specifically I'm referring to when people tell you something like "God is punishing you" or "God loves you" when they know you're an atheist? The double standard in this is obvious when you reveal your view towards it and you're immediately labeled as arrogant or close-minded. I think this notion is asinine because the fact that they aren't receptive to your worldview is the very essence of being close-minded.
How do you "win" so to speak in these situations? What do you all do?
P.S. I'm thankful for atheist communities such as this because if I didn't have it to unwind I'd lose my mind.
That's the problem. You can't "win" when they refuse to acknowledge your differences.It's different if they don't actually know you are an atheist, but once they do know then they show that they obviously don't care about mutual respect.
What to do? It's simple. Do anything you want.
Depending on my mood I either humor them, by saying things such as "Odin and Mohammed loves you too!" or, "Which one? Why not the thousands of other gods you don't believe in either?" or the flat out, "You know I don't believe in that bullshit so stop with the "god this, god that". Don't want me disrespecting your beliefs? Believe in something more rational than bronze age mythology". Personally, I don't advocate brushing it off... It just leaves them to believe they can keep at it without being called out for it.
My response to this is to dismiss their views and move on.
When people act like this, starting a discussion only lends validity to their views as you tacitly accept their position as reasonable to talk about, and they are so ignorant and close minded you will only frustrate yourself trying to win.
It annoys me to no end when people dismiss my views or label me close minded, because I put a lot of thought and research into forming my opinions. I do get some satisfaction (real or imagined) from the thought of people like the ones you mention getting worked up as I use their own tactic on them.
Nowadays I tend to mentally replace "god" with e.g. "Odin" or "the fairies" in such statements, so responding by laughing at them, "that's nice" (as said to a child showing you a bad drawing they've done), "is that the reason why you're so ugly" or something similar comes much more easily and naturally.
+5 pleasure for you for not bottling things up and -5 pleasure for them for being treated like an idiot. If someone chooses to demonstrate a lack of respect for me like that, they will find the same attitude coming back at them pretty fast.
Disclaimer: I do not do what I have said above in some circumstances, such as where the other party is grieving over something or if I felt an argument would be worthwhile. I also agree with Jonathan's implication that we need to pick our battles appropriately.
All the evil in this world, and I'm the one God decides needs punishing? He needs to sort out his priorities!
Maybe if He spent less time punishing me and more time restoring the legs of amputees and feeding an infant in Africa before the kid starves to death, this world might be a better place.
I think next time someone says they'll pray for me I will say, "Pray if you want, but I would prefer that you do what you can to support me physically and mentally. I really need x,y,z."
Oh gosh I hate when people do that! This is a pet peeve of mine, so when someone says something like "God is punishing you" I respond something like this: "Which god?"
And sometimes the look in their faces is priceless!
Many years before an old man, who knew that I am an atheist, said that I seem to be doing fine because of my goodness in my past life!! How could I respond to this if I did not know anything about my own past life?
When I was an atheistic Wiccan, I would simply reply with the equivalent statement: God bless / Goddess bless, Merry Christmas / Joyous Yule, &c.
Here where I live now, and everyone in the county knows me, no one gives me such greetings. (They still greet me of course, but leave out the religious overtones, except for one woman who used to be our neighbour and still thinks she can save us from her idea of the devil.)
In the latter case, she was more comfortable with me as a Wiccan than as an atheist. (I still hear the "you gotta believe in something" remark, but not so much anymore, as I believe in lots of things, just not unsubstantiated stories.)