As soon as you provide evidence of atheism having committed the same evils as religion, I will apologize to you. But you have not done so. You have pointed out atrocities committed by atheists, not in the name of atheism, and therein lies the key difference.
It's not a key difference, actually. Take the Communist example: atheism was a key component of the dialectical materialism that drove Marxist ideology. That it wasn't always stated simply "I don't believe in God, so you must die" (and in cases of Communist oppression of religion, it actually was
stated that simply, cf. the CCP vs. the Falun Gong as I pointed out earlier) doesn't change this. For that matter, religion doesn't always simply say "I believe in God, so you must die/be flogged/be stoned" when oppressing people either; you'll find a whole host of supposedly "pragmatic" reasons for reviving the Old Testament belief in stoning widows in the Islamic world for instance. Doesn't change the fact that the abuse is happening in a specifically and ideologically atheistic context in one case, and a religious context is another. Nobody
, including atheists, gets to claim "it wasn't explicitly tied in the rhetoric to this or that, so it's not relevant." Doesn't work that way.
Uncomfortable truths are uncomfortable.
Especially when they gore your own ox, right?
But the thing is I think atheists also
have to face up to the same uncomfortable truths that they ask others to face up to. And my original point, and still my point, is that if one is telling oneself that atheism will of itself banish intolerance, or bullshit, or hate, or fear, or has some greater purchase on reason or skepticism, one is telling oneself a lie. There are many reasons to be an atheist, that's why I am one. But "atheism is the cure for the sins of religion" is not one of them, and never will be.