first .. I'm not even atheist, I am agnostic. (but I'm still going to hell.)
There are some situations in which I feel the need to defend religion and its followers from hateful atheists.
Everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe, and to worship what they want to worship. There is no rule in any lawbook that says otherwise. You can be Jewish, Buddhist, you can worship the ground, nature, space, or goats. It doesn't matter, you have that right as a citizen. (Now, keep in mind I'm talking about America because I am not sure about other places.)
There are Christians who openly bash and persecute peoples of different religions and cultures. There are Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist people who do the same thing. Pagans and Wiccans, Satanists, and Atheists.
There are some atheist people out there who are unforgiving and unrelenting in their bashing and hatefulness towards peoples of any religion.
The one thing I was taught in life were morals and ethics. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Christians preach love for all, and there is a bible verse in which it says (roughly, don't know word for word)"He who gets slapped in one cheek, turn the other and ask no questions, for it is your duty to forgive." I took this to mean that you should let people walk on you. Of course, they don't, and neither does an atheist. Unless that's your personality.
So occasionally, I will meet an atheist whose purpose in life is to be hateful towards Christian people. I feel ashamed of these people. I am, as agnostic, a part of this "disbelieving blasphemous group" and people like those who actively seek to be hateful offend me. Their screams of "GOD ISN'T REAL, YOU'RE A STUPID MORON AND YOU NEED TO JUST KILL YOURSELF AND GO TO YOUR HEAVEN SO THE REST OF US CAN LIVE PEACEFULLY" and etc are offensive to me.
They are the types of atheists that religious people think of when they think of atheists. It is human nature to take a little bit of good and a mouthful of bad, and then complain and bitch and moan about the bad, while ignoring that tiny piece of goodness.
These are the same atheists that scream respect from religious people and tell the religious people they are not following their God's wishes by being angry and spiteful in return.
This comes back to, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Religious people can be just as hateful, but I am not talking about that group, I am talking about OUR group. They should be ashamed of themselves just as much as hateful atheists should be ashamed of theirs.
Sorry this was so long and I hope I don't lose any friends over it. It's just something I was thinking about.