My best friend is an athiest (raised as a Jew) and whenever the topic is brought up he says he doesn't love his sins more than God because he doesn't sin and shouldn't suffer for what Adam did. There's no getting through to him that he can't earn his way into heaven.
Now before you jump all over me, the guy is a nice guy - he never tries to talk me out of my belief and never makes fun of Christians. This guy truly believes that a man has a right to believe in whatever they want. I've given up arguing with him because I figure he deserves the same respect I expect from him. If he doesn't want to go share a happy eternity, that's on him.
When my wife passed away last month he was there for me with great comfort. I didn't get the impression that he believed she would just rot in the ground, he supported me and my family and even nodded his head at the appropriate times. He says he is a typical athiest and the guys who go around like crusaders are a small minority.
I've learned to live with him.
I agree with your friend, and I like to think that I am the same sort of atheist.
I also think that in most churches and synagogues there are a number of silent atheists, people who go along to get along but in their heart of hearts just don't believe.
This guy truly believes that a man has a right to believe in whatever they want.
As indeed he does, and we all as well.
He is. Those types are about as representative of us as Westboro is of you. Most of us you'd never know unless you bring it up first.