Consider the source. Religious people are so narrow minded and they think their belief will save them. Thus those who don't believe are evil. It takes a lot of courage to be an atheist. It takes more courage for an atheist to live a righteous life, to make a conscious decision to live a moral and ethical life, to treat others the way you want to be treated, in other words follow most the big ten of Moses. I chose it because I believe it's the right thing to do. To live any other way leads to chaos. A psychological profile of God would lead to a belief that god is a raging, murderous,pyschcotic, and schizophrenic. And he could not love or care about anybody. Read EZEKIEL and the phrophet Amos. If there was a God I would loathe him. I wouldn't walk across the street to listen to Jesus and his dirty dozen sing the greatest hits of John Denver. I know with great certainty that I am a very good and caring person, better than most who call themselves Christians. When they call MR. 666, I call them stupid and full of shit. God Damn all the false Christians who have no comprehension of the jerk they call god.
There is a recognition amongst many religious groups, that athiests and agnostics can lead almost perfect lives, in accordance with "God". What you hear, in the media and on forums is usually those believers who are trying to convince you of something and are the most vocal, and are usually projecting something onto you(like their previous desctructive lives before the "found" God)
Many, MANY believers realize that athiests can and are good people.
The reason I point this out, is because if we believe that all religious people see us as immoral then we may think next step is for them to dehumanize us and the NEXT step, is to control or even end our lives. These seems logical and dangerous therefore, we will fight back with every fibre of our being.
But we don't need to a lot of the time. Many do realize we are decent people, because that is exactly how we behave. If we are going to confront religious people, we have to chose our fights carefully. Most religous people mean us no harm, and think we are good people. We only need to fight that which is harmful to us.
There is a common thread amongst believers that we cannot "submit" to something higher than ourselves. They think we are governed by nothing other than our own will. They often think, although we "MAY" behave well, it's the rules of society keeping us in place, not something else. IE, if society broke down, the first humans to let loose and go nuts would be athiests. This is simply not true.
Why? Because athiests DO submit to a higher power. They put it above everything else, even their own desire perhaps to actually believe, live forever and see justice done.
Our power, the thing that is more important to us than even our own comfort and security is Truth. Athiests, submit to truth. It is painful and I suspect more than a few athiests have from time to time said to themselves "Sigh..it would be so much more "pleasant" to believe".(despite how belief can obscure some minds, and we all know the benefits of being a free-thinker).
But we submit to truth, no matter what it costs us.
We also submit to love as a higher power, which is often why we will reject certain doctrines,such as heaven and hell, along with our existance being a punishment from our state of perfection due to disobediance. This..is not love.
The point I try and get across to christians in a way they can relate, is that the athiest isn't actually governed by only their own will and desires. I alway's stress "We MAY be wrong, but..we aren't governed by purely our own desires". It's an uphill battle to convince them of this, but its one of the battles I believe is worth fighting, because when they accept it they realize we aren't that different and that the qualities of their god "Love, truth, hope" are things we submit to, same as them.
It's true. Saying you're some alternative religion is like saying you have a different perspective of God, whereas when you say you're an Atheist, its like saying you've rejected him. Though it is getting more common. I think 15% of Americans don't have any set religion. At least that's something.
I told one of my religious leaders that I was "something close to an Atheist" (it was a while ago), and he took it well, basically ignoring me and telling me to keep participating and such. And then he went and told my brother that I had "God problems". It made me laugh.
I've noticed that. And the more devout the area, the crazier the misconceptions are. What's worse is that Satanist apparently means "evil". I have a Satanic friend who is a great guy, and I'm fairly sure he doesn't burn people's houses down as he praises the Devil.
I think that theists (at least those that belong to Aramaic religions) are primed to be less moral than atheists on average, and a lot of it stems from the very reason that atheists are deemed by them to be "satanists."
The underlying assumption here is that of original sin. It is part of their religion that all humanity is thoroughly depraved, evil, and sinful, and that we can only rise above this depraved state through god. Since we are totally depraved, by what their doctrine really teaches, and since it's a recurring theme in the gospels that "he who is not with me is against me," the personal reality many might build from their belief system leaves no other conclusion than that atheists are in league with their satan (though I doubt that many christians have thought this out consciously, or to this degree). If you accept the premise that you are totally depraved and forgiveness or grace or "being washed in the blood" or totally submitting to some perfect god is the only thing that keeps you or others from murder, rape, pillage and all manner of evil, then you are going to tend to be a little more susceptible to "human weaknesses," and what's more, you will erroneously believe that without the threat of eternal punishment that is keeping you in line, atheists will be subject to uncontrolled rampages of unconscionable atrocities.
Also in play is the magic forgiveness card. That they, in their minds, are forgiven of all this vile sin, and we are not, naturally promotes a sort of caste system. Some of them leave it at two casts, "saved" and "unsaved," (i.e., you have to pick exactly the "right" religion, which happens to be the one they picked). That makes sense within their framework, but others seem to have an entire hierarchy, with wiccans and atheists falling at the bottom. This is not really consistent with the underlying reasons they put us in league with their devil, but logic and consistency is not a strong suit of their beliefs in general. I still think that it makes sense from the perspective that wicca is traditionally their whipping boy religion, and atheism is just plain scary and threatening to them because it disavows any gods. Atheism doesn't accept a premise first and then fabricate evidence (or simply accept a premise without evidence) and therefore does not stand a chance of ever acknowledging the theist's particular god. Since christianity historically both competed with and borrowed from the pagan religions from which wicca derives, it is more of a threat than Eastern religions, which evolved separately and are not related, or splinter sects which borrowed from them and shares many of their core beliefs.
I think you are mostly correct especially if we consider the true biblethumbers. I just want to point out how to avoid original sin through baptism here, and it thus screws up your premise a little :) Aside that, I agree wholly on everything you said though. Although I must point out as well that Wicca is actually mostly based upon Eastern religions, among those Hindusim but it doesn't mean there aren't elements which can be found in Christianity as well. It also of course depends on which Wicca we are talking about, but what I personally think make Abrahamic theists to despise Wicca is that it puts women equal to or even above men; and that the female is an equally important part in the world foundation in comparison to an absolute male ruler. Even though most people don't really say or admit flat out that god is most often considered a man, we can more less assume that is the case, sadly.
The problem in this case is that religious people lack education about the very thing they propagate so much, namely theology. They de facto think that an atheist must necessarily hate god (in their world the lack of belief just doesn't exist, they cannot seem to generally grasp the concept itself) and since theistic satanists hate god, then atheists too must be satanists. Of course, they also mix up Laveyan satanism and theistic satanism as well; afaik, few of the latter actually exist at all.