Divide et Impera (“Divide and Rule” — also known as “Divide and Conquer”), is a strategy used by states since the Romans. The British used the Divide and Rule strategy to control India under the British Empire. India had 3 major religious groups: Hindus, Muslims & Sikhs. The Brits would go into Indian towns which had a Hindu majority and appoint a Muslim major and appoint Sikhs to run the police. In other towns of Muslims, the Brits would do it the other way around. Then Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs would fight each other while the Brits kept actual power. The method kept Indians fighting Indians until they realized their common enemy.
Sure, atheists & agnostics have huge differences with theists, but in many situations their differences can co-exist peacefully if it weren’t for governments. Below are some examples.
Education: If there is one public education system for the whole country (government schools) both atheists and theists will fight each other for control of its curriculum.
Women’s Health: If the government decides what all women can and cannot do with their bodies — from abortion to prostitution, then different groups will fight to control that policy.
Marriage: Marriage should be a private contract between two individuals, confessed in front of the community of their choice. Marriage should not be a government institution. Since Government controls this, we fight each other over who should be married and who should get tax cuts for marriage. If we took government intervention out of marriage, much of our conflicts could disappear and we could let live and let live.
The web is full of atheists accusing religionist of killing millions. Indeed religion has been used countless times as a rally to kill. But the vehicle of mass murder is always the same — government. When it comes to killing, atheist and theists alike are murderers and they use governments to do it. Here is another example where we have to stop focusing on our differences but focus on the greater enemy — the misuse of government. Politicians will put on whatever religious or philosophical cloak they need to rule. We can not afford to be fooled by the clothing when we have a common enemy. See R.J. Rummel’s book and website — he has coined the expression “Democide”.
The State often causes groups to fight each other — they Divide and Rule. These groups (Atheists and Theists) could otherwise being living a peaceful, albeit tense, co-existence in spite of their differences. When we argue our issues, though our differences are real, we must remember that much of our frustration is artificial because it stems from the fact that our government has overstepped its proper role.