A while back in the JSFC supplemental edition (the first one ever!) I mentioned that I was spending alot of time "debating" religion on an online forum, and T-dog asked me what the attraction was, and I tried to answer her one night, but I was sufficiently sleep deprived to not be able to write/think coherently, and gave up after wasting at least half an hour trying. Here's another try.
I'm still passing a substantial portion of my online time there. This forum is mainly contributed to by self described atheists, although most of them are more what I would have described as agnostics. By atheists they basically mean they are fed up with religion in general. There is the occasional theist/Christian popping in, but they tend to be of the insane variety, sadly.
Here's the attraction for me, I think:
During my missionary days in Vegas, I came to realize that if you talk and listen to pretty much anybody long enough to find out what their really core beliefs are, you will discover that their core beliefs are things that you agree with. The more peripheral beliefs- the ones that are built/ extrapolated from their core beliefs-can be fairly koo-koo... but when you get down to it, people don't hold the koo-koo ideas nearly as dearly as they hold their core ones. Here's why: people's core beliefs are almost always true. Truth has an attractive quality that draws people to it and holds them there. Kookiness does not.
Fact is, I tend to agree with the atheists on this site alot. I tend to be fed up with modern religion and religious people alot. I are a religious person myself, but I got here not by rejecting all the thinking and question-asking I did as an agnostic, but by building on that thinking and actually finding answers to most of my questions. I find that there is an irritatingly large contingent of religious people who have more superstition than faith. Miss Watsons, instead of Widow Douglases. (Huck Finn reference. see Two Providences) I tend to like these people anyway- ever body is stupid in someway or another- But I can definitely see where these atheists are coming from.
I guess I feel like my perspective in this forum is a valuable one. I'm not trying to do any hardcore preaching- just some alongside thinking- the occasional sanity check... And its going well. Anyhow. That's my rambling first draft explanation. Done.