A quick definition of religion in 3 points from first to last:
I think its a case of mixing technicalities with what a person who does not follow religion or god does about it. While there might be a few who go out of their way to drum up support for it there are some who don't do anything about it, they don't believe and they don't go around people that they should think the way they do.
For a person deep rooted in a religious upbringing hearing the word "Atheist" is like saying the "Devil". You see if you take away the religious ideals from someone who is deeply religious then there is a void that leaves them questioning everything they believed. That is something to painful to conceive so they repel any talk of there being no god far from them.
I believe most people are irreligious and not true atheists and not many people (From both sides) understand the difference. Some of the "Atheist" preachers are so zealous declaring their "Freedom from the shackles of religion" (Any religion, but usually Christianity) and in the end they are in the same level with the passionate priests.
From a true humanitarian scope, there should not be any debate, especially so passionate one, as of what anyone believes and who (Or whos' belief) is better. We do not need religion to have a moral compass and be civil with eachother and make true and creative conversations or exchange of ideas.
One of the things that gives credibility to the points that atheists make are the men in leadership that pontificate religious rhetoric and yet do the total opposite of what they say by keeping dark secrets of their own that are later exposed.