I do not hate religious people with the exception of extremists. I was merely quoting Rowan Atkinson to see what others thought. And it appears from Mr. Atkinson's words that he also had extremists in mind.
I do not think that you have to hate someone in order to engage in hate speech. I am not saying that the person trash-talking believers actually "hates" them, just that he is trying to get people in his in-group to see them as "the enemy" or "the stupid ones".
I agree that there is a lot of trash-talking -- I would say that there is too much of it. This post was specifically about the topic so I felt free to voice my (unpopular) opinion.
Trash-talk is not done in a vacuum. Believers see it and dismiss us as unreasonable haters. We cannot help people to think more clearly if we alienate them. So we need to decide what we want to do.
Do we want to build our numbers and solidify our base by emphasizing how different and ridiculous believers are? Or do we want to equip atheists to engage believers in a way that is non-threatening and (god help us) pleasant?
BTW - I am an atheist. Post-christian.
Thank you for your replies, booklover.