I think they were talking out of their arse. A Christian is someone who believes in or follows the teachings of Jesus. Members of the Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant and the others are all Christians just they follow different rules. The only reason there are so many different Christian religions is because way back when some individuals got fed up with the corruption in the Catholic Church, or didn't like their rules (such as no divorces) and set up new religions based on the principles of the old one.
This is really really dumbing it down alot but basically the difference between Christan's and Jewish people (besides small differences like eating pork) is that the Jewish people believe that Jesus Christ wasn't the messiah (the man sent by God to save humanity) and Christian's do. Though on a happier note most Jewish theologians and scholars do believe that Jesus Christ existed even if they don't believe he is the savior.
I know that Muslims (Islam) do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah and God's son, yet they think of him as a Prophet, like Moses, Abraham, etc. Also, They don't believe in the trinity (holy spirit)...for they thing that the 'father son and holy ghost' is saying 3 gods and they are strictly Monotheistic, even though Christians dont think of that as polytheistic.
A genuine GOD would never ask one to kill themselves. If you are right, and there is no Heaven or hell and no life after death, then I agree it makes no difference. But if I am right about eternal life with Jesus Christ, then you my friend are in trouble.
The concept of religion DOES have negative effects. People kill people. People kill animals. People kill themselves. Think Crusades, the never-ending persecution of Jews (especially the Holocaust), Israel, Sept. 11. None of that would have happened if people hadn't developed religion. Religion makes many people prejudiced and narrow-minded (I'm not talking about everyone, or even a majority necessarily, but a considerable number.). People have allowed it to divide themselves rather than unite. Many use it to condemn more than to praise. It can cause people to be irresponsible with their lives because life has less meaning for them, since what comes after life (at least for many religions) is far better than life itself. They start to think irrationally.
I don't believe any "God" exists, however I never said to anyone that the possibility is non-existant. I'm open to the possibility, but until I see something more than a book written by fallible humans many many years ago, I'll stick with my beliefs.
An atheist is one who denies or disbelieves the existance of God or a supreme controlling entity in the universe (synonymous with God). It seems like many people on this board who say they are atheists are really agnostics.
I was saddened at the response that you seem to have gotten from people because you are different from them. I will tell you that I am a Christian. Although I may not agree with your lifestyle I would never condemn you for it. It saddens me that people showed you condemnation instead of love. I know you wanted everyone to drop the whole religion thing but people can state their opinions so I just wanted to share this with you. Not all Christians act like this.