I find PZ’s (and other atheist blogs — I don’t mean to single him out, but he came to mind) unbridled hatred towards Muslims a bit grating and here’s why: Take those same people (the extremists to which they are usually referring), insert any other religion, and you’d get the same atrocities.
Christianity isn’t too keen on women or other cultures either, for example. So let’s tone it down, k? Muslims aren’t any more evil or loathsome than any other religion. Religions are all equally potentially dangerous in the wrong hands. So I get really annoyed when I read something that is extremely insulting towards Muslims in general as if it’s that particular religion, as opposed to fundamentalist thinking in general, that is the cause of all that is horrible in the world.
There are some that use religion as a personal crutch, a way to deal with hardships. That is fine with me on some level (*explained below). However, some people take religion as an excuse to be an asshole — making people’s lives miserable by picketing funerals, making laws restricting what people can do with themselves and each other, spreading messages of hate, condoning violence, committing violence, exerting dominance over women/children/other races, etc. That is not ok with me on any level. And there are fundies in almost every religion who do these things.
I find the “fight” against personal spirituality/religion is alienating me from some atheists and skeptics. *Yes, magical thinking is not the best thing and it can open doors to other magical thinking like Q-Ray bracelets and such. But these are the religious moderates who are most likely to be ok with our existence and help us maintain our rights/freedoms (and possibly gain more). We’re not going to make friends with them by likening them to fundie terrorists, which is an unfair characterization anyway. It’s apples and oranges. We are also not going to open them up to critical thinking by making ourselves out to be superior for already thinking this way.
We should focus less on “religion is bad all the time” (particularly “this ONE religion is the worst and bad all the time”) and more on “fundamentalist thinking is bad all the time” because I think that’s what most of us really take issue with, but the message gets lost when we sound like assholes and lump everyone together as if they are the same. They are not the same and we are in some ways acting fundie by refusing to acknowledge this difference.