If you really think about it there are fanatics on both sides. Religion is really only
a group of people believing in a certain way. Atheism to me is the same way
my beliefs and the right to them. I like to live my life with my own beliefs
so I do not begrudge anyone else in their beliefs.
Well, I could dig deeper to find a good source, but I think I can confirm this unsourced statement if you don't want to take it on face value (though I'm pretty sure that at least one time, somewhere in the USSR, somebody got killed because they were religious. It's really just the numbers which are historiologically contentious, not the very claim itself):
"Antireligion was the government's (note: USSR) policy, so many religious leaders, monks, nuns, and priests were executed by the government."
And sorry for being a smartass, but I don't like mistakes. :)
Sorry, but I don't think you will find a reliable source for that claim. The official policy may have been atheism, but the church and the clergy were not eradicated. Only those who opposed the regime, whether motivated by religion or politics, would have suffered this fate. If you look at the history of the USSR, the communists were surprisingly tolerant of religion at first. They did not ban it, etc.; they simply disfavored it (especially compared to the favored position it had held under the Tsars). They took church property, certainly, but they took anyone's property they felt they needed (or wanted). What happened was the that the religious declared war on them (to the extent they weren't already at war with them) over their atheism and their removal of the church's favored status. Very similar to what happened in Spain, Argentina, and Chile.
Cite me a single case where an atheist killed another person simply for being a believer. You can't because there aren't any.
From Red Terror (atrocities) on Wikipedia:
"Members of the clergy were subjected to particularly brutal abuse. According to documents cited by the late Alexander Yakovlev, then head of the Presidential Committee for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression, priests, monks and nuns were crucified, thrown into cauldrons of boiling tar, scalped, strangled, given Communion with melted lead and drowned in holes in the ice. An estimated 3,000 were put to death in 1918 alone."
Unfortunately, I cannot directly quote the book as it is not scanned by Google Scholar yet. However, if you are interested in double checking: Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev. A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia. Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-300-08760-8 page 156
The book appears to be a bit of a Bible on the subject, and the author is held in very high regard. I would additionally claim that the "communion with melted lead" bit could be concidered an act of pure anti-religion as it holds a massive amount of symbolism, and not just a punishment for "opposing the regime". I cannot substanciate this claim, but I cannot see any logicical reason why anyone else than the religious would be killed in such a symbolic way.
It's a pretty bold, and unprovable, asssertion that no atheist has ever killed a theist because that requires a perfect knowledge of history. I expect that more than once in history someone has discovered the hypocrisy of organized theism in a very negative way such as child rape or other priestly malfeasance and not only renounced theism but sought revenge through murder.
And there's a corollary tale here about assumptions we all may make from time-to-time about atheists. We hold no higher ground intellectually than theists if atheism is our only added value to society. The resort to violence to solve problems has long been a part of human makeup, and atheism, by itself, is not a cure or a prevention of that. If we seek to claim moral superiority merely through atheism then we're going to have to broaden the definition to include some moral code.While I would assume, lacking the means to conduct a useful proof, that the statistics surrounding murder of atheists by theists as opposed to the murder of theists by atheists is heavily weighted toward murder by theists, the really important distinction is that of theist-motivated murder in general, whether the victims were theist or atheist. And I further believe based on a gross-scale reading of history that the clash of cults of theists, poly- or mono-, has generally resulted in wholesale slaughters of innocents. But in fairness to theists, many of these slaughters were really territorial or ego confrontations which used theism as the excuse to instill blind obedience.
"I may have overstated my case. Though, I would say that even if true, it doesn't compare to the implacable hatred and fanaticism the religious have shown us."
Completely agree, and I apologize for having to make an attempt to disprove that particular claim... But if we allow ourselves to falsify our history like religion's claim of having been "mostly peaceful", we're just not any better than they are. And we should be imho.
I will note for now, even though I haven't read Yakovlev's book--much less any of its background sources, that it appears that only a relatively small number of priests, monks, and nuns were put to death. If the Soviets were killing them SOLELY for their religious beliefs, this would not be true--the number of victims would be much greater. I don't know how the victims were selected, but religious belief alone almost certainly could not have been the criterion even if the methods of execution indicate it played a role.
Thus, I am not sure that this refutes my original statement at all. My original statement was that atheists have never killed believers simply for believing. Believers, however, made the extermination of non-believers a centuries long campaign. Nothing except non-belief was required for imposition of a most gruesome death.