I remember when my brother was an atheist and I was a believer. He was an atheist since he was 8, and I considered him a strange being that I poked with sticks now and then. I used to feel so frustrated with him because he seemed arrogant, would not respect my beliefs, would not back down and it generally really pissed me off that he couldn't concede that maybe some of my points were pretty damn good.
Now that I'm on this side of it, I totally understand! It makes so much sense to me. It wasn't that he was withholding respect for my beliefs, but he was just being absolutely honest and simply could not, under any circumstances, respect my beliefs. Me asking him to was asking him to be a different person. But in every other area of life, he respected me a great deal! His friends and girlfriends commented on it frequently. They were kind of blown away by it, and told me that if anyone said anything mildly negative about me, he was all over them.
He and I have had HUGE falling outs, where I was sure he had talked to others and put me down. Never. Even those closest to him were stunned that we were even fighting. Because his respect of me never waivered. And I was all hung up that he wouldn't respect my beliefs, completely dismissing the reality before me. He respected me. It was my beliefs he held in disdain. But it didn't feel that way to me. Now I understand.