I've read comments in certain Internet forums where theists ask atheists why they hate religion and why we feel the need to speak out against it. After all, what's the harm if people want to believe in these things?
The reason we need to speak out against the ridiculous beliefs held by so many people is because of cases like this:
A woman who starved her 1-year-old son to death at the behest of a religious cult leader was given a sentence Wednesday that won't require her to serve any more jail time.
Ria Ramkissoon, 23, pleaded guilty last year to child abuse resulting in the death of Javon Thompson. She admitted denying food and water to the 16-month-old child when he did not say "Amen" before a meal. Javon wasted away over the course of a week before his heart stopped beating.
Ria was told by her religious leader, Toni Sloan, (also known as Queen Antionette) that Javon had a "spirit of rebellion inside him." Sloan recommended that the spirit would leave the child if he were deprived of food.
If that weren't sick enough, it gets worse.
After the boy's death, Sloan apparently told her followers to pray for his resurrection and Ramkissoon spent weeks with the child's body waiting for his life to return.
Ramkissoon's attorney said,
She was really sucked in and duped by these people. I think she is starting to realize, albeit painfully realize, that there will be no resurrection, that Queen Antoinette never spoke with God.
Now I can hear all of the good Christians out there saying, "But we'd never do anything like that."
Good. I hope the hell not.
But that's not the point. The point is that this kind of delusional thinking is inherent in virtually every religion. It's the same delusional thinking that tells people not to use birth control because God will be angry; or not to grant equal rights to certain people because God will be angry; or to take a razor blade to your four-year-old son's penis.
Yes, letting a child starve to death is the delusion taken to the extreme, but it's the same thinking involved; God said it, so I must do it.
I'm not saying that atheists can't commit horrible crimes, they can, but to sit there and watch your child starve to death requires a special kind a lunacy, and in more cases than not, it's called religion.
This is the reason we speak out.