2 + 2 = 4.
Pretty much everyone can agree with that. You learn it from an early age and it's drilled into you by seemingly "all-knowing" adults pretty consistently.
Ok, so that seems pretty basic. If you asked someone on the street, "Hey, lady! What's 2+2?" There's a solid chance she'll answer "4" (and then give you a suspicious look, like maybe you're off whatever meds you should be taking.)
So what happens if you ask someone the same question and they come back with "5"? Or "7"? Or they try to get all existential and say there is no answer?
If it were me, I'd be a little pissed that these people were not part of the universal knowledge that everyone has had to learn. Annoyed, I would try to explain to them what 4 has to be the answer. Patiently (at least at first) I would try to help this person see the light so they don't walk around screwed for the rest of his or her life because they don't understand the fundamentals.
This is how I think religious zealots must feel- and, why I actually feel kinda bad for them.
I mean, these people know there is a God/Allah/(insert deity here). It's not a possibility, it's a basic truth. When people tell them to be tolerant of various beliefs, I can see where things get psycho. (If someone told me 2+2= squid tentacle, tolerance would probably not be my first reaction.)
Don't get me wrong- I don't think it should dissolve into violence.
I'm just saying...I feel bad for nicely dressed Jehovah's Witnesses that just want to help me see the light.
I feel pretty certain there is a God. I do not necessarily think he's dressed in white robes and wearing Birkenstocks, but I can't wrap my brain around the idea that there isn't something awesome in everyday miracles. Even still, I still don't try to talk atheists out of not believing.
I wonder, if there is a Heaven and I'm allowed in some day, if I'm going to be sitting there on my puffy little cloud saying to myself, "Damn! I shoulda persuaded that guy! And now he's in Hell."
And this is why I sympathize with zealots. I think they think they're just trying to help.
P.S. Read a romance novel today and I could feel brain cells dying. I think they're my drug of choice if I want to get all self-destructive.