(Original post by Mequa)
Let me quote David Hume on this point:
If the doctrine (mythology) put forward was finite punishment for finite sin, I wouldn't have a problem with that.
The problem is, mythology (as I see it) is not merely false stories, but something which actively shapes the attitudes of the believer in it, vis-à-vis, religious bigotry.
As for "thought crime", even if all humans are born in sin, for a god to only save those with beliefs he approves of is indeed to judge on the basis of a thought crime. If, according to a doctrine, all atheists are (deservedly) damned to Hell because they (in many cases) cannot see adequate justification for belief in God, following their own conscience regarding intellectual integrity, while only believers of the correct stripe get a chance at eternal bliss, that is a pretty sickening and bigoted doctrine. I reject anyone as a personal friend who subscribes to it, for the same reasons I wouldn't be friends with a militant racist, sexist, fascist, etc. Bigotry is still bigotry, with or without a halo.
Only I would argue it is worse in the case of the fundamentalist Christian, as they actively justify the notion that it's right and just for all atheists to be tortured forever for not sharing their beliefs. Eternal torture implies infinite suffering - much worse than what Hitler or Stalin dished out. So morally speaking, one who worships a supposedly all-powerful being who they believe to oversee eternal torture (especially on the basis of belief making the difference between "a chance" and "no chance"), believing this to be totally just and deserved somehow, is not only no better than a person who idolises Hitler - he is worse. And if this bigotry is subscribed to based on dogmatic belief in the inerrancy of an old book, he is pretty deluded too. Why not treat it as a reductio ad absurdum instead, and give up on the inerrantism?
Is this persecution? No, move to North Korea if you want to experience that. Personally, I think fundamentalists deserve to have their moral stance ripped to pieces. If they want freedom to spread their message, others also deserve the freedom to counter it. Logic alone is ineffective - a combination of logic AND rhetoric is the best combination to really get the message home. I've had people on this very forum (both Christian and Muslim) tell me openly that my atheist friend who died in a car accident age 20 is now in Hell for all eternity. And that they don't care and I should run to my mother for sympathy. And that I'm a bigot myself for not showing their stance more "tolerance" (which they somehow feel entitled to). Jesus Christ.
If someone goes around pushing such a message, can't they be said to be courting hostility? And are those who object really "intolerant bigots" themselves, lacking a belief in the rightness of eternal torture in contrast?
By all means, have freedom of speech, but that doesn't mean speech should be without consequence. I'm all for moderate Christians, Wiccans, Jews, Satanists etc. having freedom of worship, but the moment someone pushes the belief on me that eternal torture for all atheists is right, that my friend is damned to Hell forever and that it's only right that I follow if I don't come across to their way of thinking, they can expect their "sacred cow" to be torn apart publicly and without mercy.