Firstly, being an atheist does not require one to despise religion– organized or not. There’s no reason whatsoever to waste time, energy or emotion on hating a man-made cultural phenomenon that’s been with us since the beginning of time.
Religious rites and practices of every denomination are nothing more than a psychological “story” or ritual narrative humankind has been revising and retelling for tens of thousands of years. It is responsible for the early forms of science, astronomy, history, cosmology and philosophy, if not the very origins of civilization and government itself. The way we tell ourselves stories and dreams may be essential to the evolution of our entire nervous system as well.
It is incumbent upon atheists to speak out, but not to denounce, decry or destroy religion. That would be as senseless and destructive as trying to destroy ancient forms of literature or the Mayan Codex. Modern scientists, thinkers, philosophers and storytellers are learning and will continue to glean vital information about how, why and what makes humans believe the things they do by studying all forms of religion from the most primitive to the New Age. Learning about religion, mythology, psychology, evolution and neurology will be the lineaments of a future science yet to be defined.
The reason we speak out, aside from whatever legitimate grievances we might have, is not to persuade, convince or convert the religionist, the fanatical “true believer” or the blind follower, for that is an impossible, thankless and futile task. We speak out without fear of reprisal, because we have but one goal in mind, or as Lawrence Krauss reminds us: As educators our duty is not just to educate, but to destroy ignorance.” We speak out relentlessly and indefatigably with one purpose in mind i.e. to encourage others to do the same and no longer remain complicit with the ever encroaching regressive ignorance, prejudice and nescience that “believers” would impose upon us were we to remain as silent as we have in the past.