And yet, that’s not how the religious see it these days. Ever since religion stopped being central to one’s tribal identity – especially in the West – those with different religious beliefs have been tolerated. “Thou shalt have no other gods” is no longer so important. Rather, it is atheists who are now viewed as the remaining enemy. And the reason seems obvious. Atheists don’t merely reject these people's religion; they reject the very idea of religion.
Consider how much easier it is to convert someone from one religion to another than it is to convert a non-religious person. Missionaries are much more effective among those who already believe in gods than they would be at an atheist convention. Having a religious mind-set makes one open to the acceptance of beliefs without evidence; nonbelievers tend to be far less malleable in this respect.
Atheists may of course say that if they were shown real, conclusive evidence, they would believe. But that’s not good enough for the religious – and I suspect the reason is that subconsciously, they realize they don’t have any actual evidence. The "very idea of religion" that atheists reject is the acceptance of belief on faith. Thus, the religious probably feel more ill at ease with atheism than they do with other faiths.
What’s worse as far as the religious are concerned, however, is that we atheists openly state the fact that there is no basis for religious belief. We are the ones pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.
No wonder we are the enemy!
[Originally published at Debunking Christianity]