is in some way to blame. Many, including a few atheists, have said so: one atheist even tweeted that Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins now have blood on their hands!
Anti-theism maintains not only that religions are false, but that many of them are detrimental to society – and the fear is that some who hold such a view might be led to a dislike of, not just religions, but of the individuals who practice these religions.
But even though anti-theism may lead some deranged individuals to commit violent acts, that doesn't mean the doctrine itself is to blame. Anti-theism, whatever one may think of it, does not condone violence against anyone merely for believing in some religious dogma. That is the crucial difference between it and doctrines like Islam and Christianity. In fact, anti-theism opposes such religions precisely because they do condone hatred of individuals for having different views. It would therefore be inconsistent for anti-theists to hate the religious for nothing more than their false beliefs.
Of course, the majority of Christians and Muslims these days do not condone violence, but that doesn't change the fact that the religious books they hold sacred contain passages instructing that dissenters (as well as many other individuals) be killed. And that is why when violence is committed in the name of some religion there is a problem for the religion itself.
Many critics of atheism were quick to point out that if atheists condemn Islam for its connection with terrorism, then they should likewise condemn atheism for its connection with the Chapel Hill murders. But as we've just seen, even if there is a connection between atheism and these murders, it isn't the same kind of connection. (And it is interesting, given that many Christians also condemn Islam for its connection with terrorism, that none of the critics of atheism called upon them to condemn their own religion for atrocities committed in its name.)
We don't know what motivated Hicks. But even if he claimed to have killed in the name of atheism, that does not put the blame on atheism – for the very simple reason that atheism does not command anyone to kill. After all, suppose the motive does turn out to have been nothing more than a parking dispute. Does that mean that the blame for the murders should fall on the concept of reserved parking spaces? Should we then end the practice of allotting such spaces because it might lead a deranged individual to violent acts?