^Sorry if I'm being over-sensitive, but did you mean to say that all religion promotes "ignorance or crazy made up ideas"? ...for reals, Niels? There's plenty of religion and religious belief that promote truth, a quest for knowledge about the 'real' world and above all common sense and compassion.
There are plenty of atheists that are ignorant, racist or homophobic who use "science" as their excuse, rather than God. Darwin's "survival of the fittest" has been particularly notorious for being misused to mean "if I can oppress the ones weaker than me, it's only right -survival of the fittest". This was used for example with sterilising the disabled which was widely used in the early 1900's, up to 1950s, as well as using those weaker than you for human experiments. These base entirely on "science" and "atheist values" (as in, values based on reason and science, not religion). Not to mention communism. Communism doesn't support any religion which is why religious people were hunted down in soviet union and still in China. Being an atheist doesn't mean that you're particularly more clever or better as a person.
That said, not being a religious person, either. But I think it's also important to see the difference between culture and religion, though they are entwined in some ways. Muslim religion doesn't oppress women any more than Christianity, the middle-eastern culture does. Also, religious books were products of their culture, which is why they are now out-dated. Sensible religious people see this, and find the essential message of their religion to live by it. For example, "loving your fellow man like you love yourself" is still very valid idea, I think.
I agree, for the most part. I think any philosophy, be it a religious or an atheist one, can be twisted into an excuse for vile behaviour. But so can it be taken as a way to do good and live well in the world. My faith inspires me to treat people with love and respect and to work for peace, truth and equality in the world. I know I don't manage it very well all the time, but it's my belief in the divine that motivates me to try.
I do agree about the difference between religion and culture, I think that's a good point. Christianity can be an astonishingly liberating religion, but in the hands of misogynists, racists and homophobes it turns into a culture of hate. In the same way, atheism can be a life-view that opens the world up to endless possibilities and pursues truth and equality for all - or it can be a culture of ignorance, bile and closed-mindedness. Philosophies and religions are glasses through which to view the world, it's up to us how we interpret what we see.
I think the thing that annoys me about some atheists is their absolute certainty that they're right. Not only does it directly mimic the absolute certainty of the religious people they object to, but it's in opposition to the scientific ideal that they often claim to hold in such high regard. Uncertainty is the foundation of faith and
science, and both are ways of trying to find, if not certainty, then something to believe in that helps make the world make sense until something comes along to say otherwise.
It's also frustrating to have religion and science put across from each other like they're talking about the same thing. They're just not. Taking, for example, the Bible's omission of any talk about dinosaurs as equally valid to the theory of evolution as the scientific evidence is a serious mistake. It's like applying literary criticism to bridge building - 'But what is the engineer trying to tell us about the society we live in?' is not an appropriate question xD In the same way trying to say that science has found no physical proof of God is a misapplication of ideas. God and the divine, faith and belief, they're words we use to talk about something beyond the physical, something personal and spiritual. Applying scientific method to that area is as ridiculous as asking how many lorries the Mona Lisa could hold across a ravine.