It is obvious that we need to agree to disagree. I respect your right to disagree and appreciate your willingness to allow me to do the same.
I immediately respond to her:
OK. I thought that was understood.
Soon after that I get this:
I'm sure it should have been understood, but I guess I just had to reaffirm it. Your questions cause me to believe that you are seeking answers, but I suspect you are trying to convince me I am wrong, as I am trying to convince you that you are wrong. Without common ground, there is no basis for discussion. But you are right though, that I can accept you as a good person who does not believe in God and that we are fellow travelers here on this earth - just headed in different directions.
It's obvious that she's misunderstood my position, as religious people often do, so I write:
I was only trying to convince you that I too had a tough and painful journey and also came out of it a better person. There was no intention on my part of converting you or trying to convince you that your religion is wrong. I didn't take your email as trying to convince me that I was wrong, just trying to get me to see how you came to your conclusions. I just hoped to give you something to think about just as you did me.
My questions weren't really directed at anyone. Just pondering, I guess, as I always do when people make important life-changing decisions based only on faith. Being a reality-based person it just seems strange to me and I wrote it a question form on the off-side chance that someone will give it some thought. I'm sorry if you were misled. That was not my intention.
Another thing that I wanted you to consider is the other side of the abortion debate from someone who benefited from this freedom in a positive way and how, if this freedom was taken away, we, as women, will be doomed. I find when I debate religious people about this issue they are stuck on the "potential person" issue and will not consider the real and living people in the equation. There is no clear cut answer in this issue but one thing is for sure, if abortions are made illegal, women will die and women will go to prison and families will suffer. The common ground is this issue is the safety of our sisters, daughters, nieces, and mothers and their families.
Her last email was to acknowledge a personal request which is not important in this discussion. She never once tried to engage me intelligently about any of the issues she raised. It was all about emotion and nothing about reason. If I thought I wasn't reaching anyone, even at the tiniest level, I would stop discussing religion with them. But I think that I am and I'm gaining respect as an intelligent atheist, which is another added bonus.