Atheism as a word just did not explain the danger and harm religion has inflicted on people. Positive or negative atheism as terms do not bring out the total rejection that religion should have anything to do with how society should be governed or considered a civic role to be involved in such a duty. That was why Hitchens used the term anti-theist.
Precisely because it is such a frequently used criticism of religious faith, the argument that war is a product of religion is worth considering. After all, we have recently had some horrific imagery from the Middle East that seems to suggest that religion is a bad thing. Nevertheless a number of points strike me.
Europe has an unhappy history in the way it has dealt with the made up 'crime' of witchcraft over the centuries. Professor Owen Davis of the University of Hertfordshire estimates that between 30,000 and 50,000 people, mainly women, were executed after being found guilty in witchcraft trials between 1450 and 1780.
Problems start back home, in poverty, with bad parents and poor role models, the children given no mentors or guidance as they're ignored by society at large. The only available guidance they receive - the dirty words from religious clerics and violent lyrics from music. It's all about becoming indoctrinated with vile bile.
Nothing should be off limits to discussion. No, let me amend that. If you think some things should be off limits, let's sit down together and discuss that proposition itself. Let's not just insult each other and cut off all discussion because we rationalists have somehow wandered into a land where emotion is king.
Everyone has freedom of (and from) religion and belief, and the right to practice however they like, but it should never impact upon the freedom of others to live their lives how they wish. That the government is choosing to uphold this basic but vital principle is a fantastic victory for secularism, humanism and feminism, and another step towards a more equal and fair society.
Students have rights, their beliefs don't. If there is one message universities need to hear at the end of this academic year, it's this. For non-religious students on campuses across the UK, 2013-14 has been the most challenging year to date, with criticism of religion censored and religious rules enforced in lecture theatres. It has also seen the start of a significant fight-back.
Religion is a topic which is a constant in the national discourse. Using vitriolic terminology to describe atheists is not conducive to respectable debate and will only serve to sow animosity between religious and non-religious people. Due to the passionate nature of the topic a rational, respectable debate is difficult to nurture, but if it is to be nurtured then such fatuous labeling needs to be rid of.