To prove a point to myself, I tried googling “atheist violence”; “atheist intolerance”; “religious violence” and “religious intolerance”. The scores were as follows: 0, 0, 43, 120. I thought that perhaps ‘atheist’ was the wrong word to use, so I tried these: “secular violence” and “secular intolerance”. Zero again.
So why do some people claim that religion has nothing to do with violence, war, oppression and intolerance? Or that there are atheist fundamentalists who are intolerant of religion? The arguments made by people like John Gray and Rowan Williams that doing away with religion wouldn’t decrease violence, suffering or war – or that there might be such an entity as ‘atheist violence’ just don’t seem to be justified.