"He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him."
The hatred is very personal. I had one friend who, when pushed, admitted that she hated Palin because of her ties to the Christian right, and as she ranted I couldn't help but notice the sheer amount of venom.
Hatred like that can't be beaten with logic, at least not in a short amount of time, and not with most people. Once someone has those views they have to abandon them on their own, and there's no guarantee that will ever happen. However such people do influence those around them, people who don't hold such strong beliefs, into believing that Christianity is an intolerant religion and that the Christian right are nothing but fundamentalists, eager to drag us back to the 14th century.
With that in mind it's good to remember stories like this:
On Tuesday’s Lopez Tonight on TBS, magicians Penn and Teller appeared as guests, and, while discussing their controversial program on Showtime, and the show’s history of criticizing religion, Penn Jillette conceded a compliment to American Christians that they are "the most tolerant people worldwide." He also admitted that it was a "shock" to discover the relative tolerance of American Christians after the airing of the show from last August attacking the Catholic Church, as he compared reaction from Christians to that from other groups the show has attacked, such as 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Jillette:
Well, you know, we've done heavy stuff. I mean, we've done the Vatican. We've done Mother Teresa. We've done the Dalai Lama. We've done really, really heavy subjects. And I've got to say it was actually a shock doing the show, the religious communities in the United States of America are the most tolerant people worldwide. I mean, we did really aggressive stuff we believe strongly, and mostly got letters from Christians and Catholics saying we really like how passionately and clearly you put out your ideas. Very few nut cases.
This shouldn't be particularly surprising to anyone who's free from the bias and hatred that the public school system lays the foundation for, and the media expands upon. Christianity is constantly attacked, demeaned, and insulted, and yet for the most part Christian's do not respond harshly. Truly awful incidents may spark outrage, but this outrage is virtually never violent, and before too long Christian's move on.
All of this is another lesson in liberal hypocrisy. Take the liberal silence over sexism in Islam, and their recent reaction to the Sex and the City 2 movie, and compare that to the liberal equation of Christian's being sexist for being against abortion. Or the silence of the ACLU in a student being suspended over wearing rosary beads to school, and compare that to the ACLU's reaction to the high school that canceled their prom over the lesbian teen (Not even necessarily a religious argument, but you can bet that the left won't see it that way). Perhaps the best example and warning is the increase in persecution of Christians in the highly secularized Great Britain, something they regularly accuse Christians of doing to Pagans, Muslims, and really anyone different.
The bottom line is that Christianity isn't an oppressor, and is a victim of the same old attacks that liberals have used for decades now. Conservative atheists tend to make a very strong case for Christianity, and tend to be a great example of Christian tolerance. Though they deny the existence of God, they recognize that Christianity plays a very powerful, very positive role within our culture. Like it or not our government and culture is based in the concepts of freedom that Biblical Christianity introduced. Sure there are going to be people who hate in the name of religion, but you can find them anywhere, and they are certainly not found in greater numbers among Christians.
One last snippet from the article to think about as you go:
But it could also be argued that Jillette’s account makes American Christians sound almost too accepting of the show’s criticism of Christianity and downplays the fact that there was legitimate criticism of the show leveled from high-profile Catholics such as Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.