There is an experiment one may do to see what type of atheist a believer would make. If you are an atheist, ask your theist test subject how they feel about as many of the following as they’ve heard of:
Church of Satanists
The Order of the Solar Temple
The Church of Bible Understanding
The People’s Temple
The Church of the Lamb of God
Likewise, if you are a theist (and apparently read my site in order to electively fulfill your persecution quota), you may imagine what you would be like as an atheist by analyzing your answers to the above. Hell, if you’re Protestant, you could include Catholics, and vice-versa.
How do theists respond to these groups? I have found it is largely based on what the theist has heard about that particular organization. Most people have heard of Scientology, and most non-Scientologists are pretty critical of it. An alien bringing souls to Earth trillions of years ago (in a universe possibly only billions of years old, mind you) seems far-fetched to people, but it actually seems as plausible to me as some unexplained divinity blowing air into dirt thousands of years ago.
The truth is, most people know little or nothing about the actual beliefs or practices of Scientology. Most non-Scientologists are content with hearing the ridiculous parts of Scientology and making a judgment, whether they are atheist or Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist or agnostic or anything else under the sun.
Scientology isn’t very popular, but how do theists feel about Aum Shinrikyo? “Um Shin what-e-o?” Exactly. If I told you this is the name of the group who orchestrated the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway which killed 12… I’m confident I could guess your stance, even (or especially) if you had not known about them before.
These are some of the more common responses to being asked how one feels about a foreign faith. The truth is, most people remain ignorant of beliefs outside of their own, and this is especially true of monotheists. Even though many of the organizations on that list are monotheistic off-shoots of major religions, members of the larger orthodoxy tend to either ignore or attack splinter groups.
My last question: how does a theist reconcile the silly stories and/or violence in one’s own religion, while these are enough to dismiss other faiths? Perhaps most monotheists can only judge a book by its cover. Hopefully, they close their Bibles and take a good hard look. [They won’t.]