My point about tolerance is this: An atheist will look at an Islamic fundamentalist differently than will a Christian. Where you are looking from always influences what you are looking at. The different religions tend to bicker with one another.
You are probably right, atheists stand on neutral ground to a certain degree. I tend to divide the world into those who have compassion at the core of their Philosophy, and those who do not. The border runs through many Religions and Philosophies and brings us together in a way some people can't even imagine.
I was talking to a man the other day who wouldn't be seen dead in the church in the next village - even though it is the same confession as his own. It became very obvious to me that I wasn't going to understand this mindset, but made me very aware of how much the religious betray their beliefs by such peculiarities.
I am sure that there are some intolerant Atheists. One finds bad apples in every bunch. To my mind Atheists tend to be more tolerant, however. I never really thought of Atheism as neutral ground, but you're right, it is. It is almost as if we are to a certain extent segregated from the warring factions of religion.
Hey, cut the self-righteous caring-about-others crap! It's not an argument but an emotional appeal!
Christianity which has no compassion but only accuses and threatens is fake! Christians that proclaim such nonsense are really only promoting their elitist racist views on how bad the world is and waiting for redemption - or worst still, they rabble on about an axis of evil and how they represent the "new Israel" that is to fight Armageddon against it's godless enemies.
This is bad stuff and a long way off from a merciful and compassionate and jewish Jesus, who stood up for the oppressed and weak. I'd rather have a peaceloving atheist than a warmongering Christian anyday.
I admire Jesus. He seemed a loving, caring man not afraid to associate with the poor, nor afraid to tangle with the elite, rich priesthood. "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." Where are the Boddhisatvas of today? I suppose i'm a bit of a mystic myself.
As to why Atheism might be good from a religious perspective...
I am an Atheist. I don't generally advertise the fact and i don't attempt to convert people. Atheism is not a belief, it is the absence of belief in any supernatural deities like Gods , devils, angels, demons, etc. Atheists are neither moral nor immoral by virtue of their Atheism. Some people ask me, "How can you be moral, if you don't believe in God?" and i always have to stifle an inner chuckle at that one. The two are not incompatible. I can not speak for Atheists, because the only thing that Atheists share in common is that absence of belief. But i can tell you what it means to me. I know that if the World is to be a better place, i must make that happen. All of the prayers, sacrifices, and supplication in the World will not put one grain of bread in a starving Ethiopian child's mouth. As an atheist i accept responsibility for my own World. I rely on my reason. I will not cauterize the genitalia of young girls, or commit other acts of cruelty based on longstanding enforced moral codes that have never been questioned. I do not believe in heaven. When one must be rewarded for one's virtue, heaven is already unattainable. I do not wish to live forever. Death gives a sweet poignancy to life, and i give thanks for the grim reaper every day. I love my fellow man, not because someone says i must or because God commands it, but because i can and because i have personally come to the conclusion that it is the right thing to do.