Many people, down through the ages, have believed that harassment and persecution of those who did not believe as they did were justified. In the days of the Roman Empire, Christians were prosecuted as ‘atheists’ because they did not believe in pantheism (many Gods).
Hitler, the persecutor of all persecutors, claimed to have “stomped out” atheism as well. Regardless of the actual beliefs of those termed ‘atheists’, they have been harassed, beaten, killed, had property destroyed, and much more, often in the name of ‘Christianity’ or ‘pseudochristianity’.
America was founded on the Christian Religion, and while not everyone or even most persecuted atheists, many did. Probably the most remembered American figure to espouse atheism was Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She was vociferous in her beliefs, and vocal in her attempts to battle ‘religion’. As such, she was a target for many who believed she was ‘possessed’ and dangerous.
The Growth of the Atheist movement
As the atheist movement continues to grow, many, who declare their beliefs publicly, have been harassed for their stand. Many others do not declare their atheism for fear of the consequences. Atheism is often seen, not as an alternate view, but as an enemy of God.
While this is true of a lot of ‘religions’ when they disagree with one another, that doesn’t make it right. While Christianity and Islamic faith are often blamed for this persecution, the truth is that the persecution is not because of faith, it is because of the ignorance and prejudice of people who call themselves people of faith.
Fighting against the belief of atheism
Fighting against the belief of atheism as it grows is not the issue, fighting the people who claim atheism is. Persecution is not OK, ever, no matter what people believe, and when it is done by people claiming to be Christians, it gives Christianity a black eye. Unfortunately, those that do not persecute others for their differing beliefs are seldom the ones that make the news.
Persecution of atheists, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists,… is illegal, and it is definitely not of God. As atheism continues to grow and have more militant aspects, the problem will probably continue to grow, however. Hate their beliefs, but don’t hate the person, and don’t use violence, use love. That’s the only way this problem will end.