Every Atheist blogger will be writing about this tragic story today, about a man who opened fire with a shotgun in a Unitarian Church because he was frustrated over their "liberal views." And on the same day, we find that four women, in a coordinated suicide bombing, blew themselves up in Iraq, killing at least fifty seven innocent bystanders, all Shiite pilgrims.
Most religious people have swallowed the Godly Origin of Morals Meme, hook, line and sinker. They believe that without God, there can be no morality. Never mind that actual facts don't back this up – sociologist, historians, religious scholars and atheist scholars have done plenty of studies that demonstrate that people are people, and pretty much behave just as well or badly regardless of their religion.
Unfortunately, there is a corollary to the Godly-Origin-of-Morals Meme: Not only do morals come from God, but so too does the very meaning and purpose of our lives. Without God's plan for us, there would be no reason to exist. Or so we're told. To an atheist, this idea is almost laughable, except that it's not funny today. Dozens of people died today, as a direct result of this belief.
To a religious person, life is just the very first step in an infinitely long journey, and death is the doorway to the next step. Death is unpleasant, leaves grieving loved ones behind, and perhaps leaves unfinished business on Earth, but the promise of the afterlife, heaven, and reunion with loved ones when they die, vastly mitigate the pain and sorrow of believers. In God's grand scheme of things, death is more of an inconvenience than a tragedy.
Contrast this with the Atheist's view of life and death. There is no greater gift than life, because you only get one chance, and there is no fate worse than death, because when you're dead, that's it, you are gone forever. Our lives here on Earth last a mere six to ten decades if we're lucky. There is nothing more precious than life, and our husbands, wives and children are worth more to us than anything else in the world. It is only through our children, and our deeds here on Earth, than we can have any legacy to Earth's future.
A religious person can convince himself that murder is justified, because first, the victims aren't following the morals that God explained so plainly in the Bible. (Never mind that this "plain" explanation seems to be different for every person you ask.) But worse, because death is just the doorway to the afterlife, the religious zealot can convince himself or herself that the murders aren't really hurting anyone. If the victims are innocent, but the murder helps restore God's morals to society, then the murders are really OK. It's a case of the greatest good for the greatest number – a few lose their lives (an inconvenience, nothing more), but God's laws are restored.
This sort of logic is unthinkable to an Atheist.