This is the only life you have. Why waste it conforming to the morals and customs of others and answering questions on this site? Life is short, it defies rationality to waste it in this way.
Atheist Answer: 

A few reasons.

- I get free on-the-job training in written debate, research and effective writing in general, with rapid feedback if I do badly.

- I'm relatively new to atheism, and I'm crash-testing it. I'm actively seeking the best arguments against it to see whether I've missed something obvious. Nothing so far.

- Many religious folks paint a really horrid picture of atheism and atheists themselves. That reflects badly on me and any of my friends and family who are atheists. I want anyone who's genuinely curious about atheism to be able to ask an atheist about it directly, and set the record straight.

- You call this conforming to morals and customs? I spend half the time here explaining to people why I don't conform to their doctrines.

- SmartLX


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Is there a nice way to tell Christians to be quiet and go away?

My belief system has been evolving for some time and now I find I dislike the word "God". It has been such a misused idea for thousands of years and to present day in so many distorted harmful ways.
Yeah, I'm an Atheist of my own design. I spent many years in the AA program with 22 years of sobriety now. Stopped going to meetings recently, prior to that stopped saying the meaningless religious words, at lest meaningless to me.
The point is that I have it necessary to respect others choices in religion, even though I actually feel they are not as smart as me. (insert smile here) I don't look like I'd be anything but conservative, (although I am a liberal democrat) and I get accosted from time to time by a religion lover and find it hard to be nice about telling them to go away, what do you do?

Being polite

Respecting someone's right to choose for themselves doesn't necessarily mean respecting the specific choice they've made. You might defend a writer whose freedom of speech is curtailed, but then speak out against him if he writes racist propaganda.

My approach is simple. If "no thankyou" doesn't work, I find something to question. Not even directly criticise, just question. Not a standard question like "why do bad things happen to good people" because evangelists have pre-memorised answers to that sort of thing.

I just try something as straightforward as, "Why do you believe this?" Pursue that line, and you will find that they either don't really know, or they rely on one of the "Great Big Arguments" you'll find on this site, or they have had a personal experience in which case they cannot expect you to believe without a similar experience.

Besides giving the impression that you're not worth the effort to convert, many evangelists would be threatened on some level by the idea that their own faith is under the microscope. (Read any replies on this site by Maroun? He wouldn't follow the anti-creationism links I gave him because he was afraid the devil would tempt him.) So preaching to you becomes a bad idea in two ways.

Being polite doesn't mean not confronting that which you think is wrong. An alternative to avoiding exchanges with evangelists is having exchanges which they won't want to continue, or repeat. It's a decent preventative measure.