Being an atheist doesn't mean you worship "satan" or kill babies. So why does the word that merely means a lack in belief in an, in my opinion absurd, God make people cringe as it does? 

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Preachers make their living on the amounts donated by their flock each Sunday. Any in the flock who are wavering in their faith might be convinced to stuff those thoughts down whenever they witness the demonization of those who lack faith. Therefore, clergy will seek out every opportunity, large and small, to criticize, ridicule, and pity both particular atheists as well as the idea of atheism. This is done, sometimes, even to the extent of making false claims.
Who are these 'people' you speak of that 'cringe'? Religionists? If so, I don't really care what they think.
These people that cringe...hmm...the majority of Americans that I have ever spoken to?! I just keep my lack of religion to myself, otherwise I seem to get slanty eyes or rude words spoken to me. This has come from, family, old friends, people at school. But mainly the family. They tell me that they are so worried about me because I am going to "Hell" I just look at them and say something like "really? Hell, a firely pit where you will forever be in pain?" It just bothers me because I find that most of the people who "cringe" seem like they would be intelligent people, how can they believe in such nonsense!
Well, the point I was trying to make was that the people who respond negatively are the very people you'd expect to. In regards to your question, "why does 'atheist' have a negative connotation with [religious people]?" It's because they're religious.

When I meet a apatheist/agnostic, that's when I care about their opinion, because it isn't biased to the extremity that believers have.

Objection:

Atheism is also a religion

If you equate religion to simply a worldview or philosophical belief, then yes, atheism could possibly be defined as a religion. However, I think most define religion as a group of people who worship the same supernatural deity or deities. That being the case, atheism is the antithesis of religion – quite literally.

no.atheism is not a religion in that it has no belief in the supernatural.

It is really surprising that anyone on this forum can think so. It would be good if he can define religion and show how atheism can be a religion.

It only has a negative connotaion if you allow it to, the more I read of some of the posts on here the more i see the 'oh I am only a poor ickle atheist and all these christains are bullying me' well you know sorry it just doesn't wash.Stand up to these people tell them to fuck off and stop being a victim.
T.A. Dahar is right. I don't really care if people are saying these things, like thinking we are immoral ect ect. I just do not understand why they feel this way. I am in no way a victim. I promise.
It is logically impossible to worship Satan and be an atheist.
With us, atheism is regarded as bold, but not necessarily evil. The clergy are the villains who have exploited us for centuries, and atheism is therefore an assertion of independence. I always get the impression that America was founded by religious nutters...
Exactly. If someone is talking about Satan, they're still hung up on Christianity.

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