I’ll give you a few answers to this common question here and offer you a link where you can find elaboration on these responses.
First, I am an American. That is, I live in a country where atheists are a relatively small (but growing) minority surrounded by a large Christian majority. In any situation such as this, the minority ignores the majority at its peril. We atheists strive to understand believers and their beliefs because our political survival depends on it.
Second, because American atheists are surrounded by people who believe outrageous things, we seek to understand those things. Imagine that you were one of a tiny minority of Whites living among a large population of African Americans who held all the political power. In such a situation, would it not be adaptive to understand African American culture just a bit?
Third, many atheists feel pity for believers. Most believers are not bad people; they have been duped by an extremely powerful system of indoctrination which is highly skilled at self-maintenance. We want to help them embrace reality and learn that clinging to obsolete superstition not only harms them but puts all of us at risk for continued global conflict.
Posted: June 10th 2007
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