More on the religious front:
The reason I hesitate to tell people I'm an atheist is because too many atheists treat religious people like retarded little children, and I'd rather not have people think I fall into that category.
I've had a million debates about religion - there have been many on this site alone - and I have come to the conclusion that those who practice a religion have more respect for atheists than vice versa.
Faith in a higher being is something that comes from within. To disrespect someone's faith is to disrespect them as a person.
I may write about what I believe are the problems with certain religions and sometimes I may even poke fun at those religions; but I will never make fun of or be condescending to a person because of their faith. To make an analogy which may help me explain myself better - it's like two kids fighting over a rock band. It's fine to say "I think Dashboard Confessional is the worst band ever," but it's not fine to say "You're an idiot if you like Dashboard Confessional."
As a non-believer, I walk around with the knowledge that I just may be wrong. There are no absolutes when it comes to religion; there is no proof of the existence of God or the non-existence of God. If I want people to respect that I choose not to believe, I need to respect those who do.
If you are the type that gives a figurative pat on the head to Catholics or Christians or Jews or practitioners of any religion when you are having a discussion about faith, perhaps you should spend some time thinking about that. After all, we, as atheists, could very well be wrong. Wouldn't that be a kick in the ass when you die and are greeted by a spiritual figure. Your turn to be patted on the head like a little child who doesn't understand the first thing about life.
It won't hurt you to listen to what people have to say. There's a lot to be learned from various religions that have nothing to do with higher beings or resurrections, but with living in general.
That said, I've had to delete some comments on the passionate post.
Just so you know where I stand.