It’s an unfortunate feature of a certain strand of contemporary atheism that it doesn’t treat religious believers as fellow humans with whom we disagree, but as tards who function primarily as objects of ridicule. And ridicule has its place. But sometimes it’s gratuitous. Sure, there are stupid/crazy religious people; there are also stupid/crazy atheists, and black people, and white people, and gays, and straights, and Republicans, and Democrats, and Sixers fans, and Celtics fans, and so on. Focusing on the stupidest among those with whom you disagree is a sign of weakness, not of strength.
It seems to me that the default stance of a proud secular humanist should be to respect other people as human beings, even if we definitively and unambiguously think they are wrong.
What’s sad is that I share a lot in common with atheist philosophy. I am in favor of religion or spiritual practice being a private thing that does not have anything officially to do with our government, our public schools, and our public lives. What you do with your soul is your own business, not mine, and vice versa. But it’s the attitude that Sean describes above that usually puts me at odds with atheists.
Particularly when they hurl slurs around that, if (modified appropriately and) directed at someone due to their race, gender, or sexual orientation, they would find unconscionable. Not that religious/spiritual bigotry is worse. Just that, for some, saying nasty things about religious people doesn’t strike them as wrong the same way saying nasty things about black people would. But it’s all nastiness.