You would think that atheism was simply the lack of religion, but it's not, atheism has become just another religion, and that trend is increasing. Does real atheism cease to exist if it becomes just another faith?
If you search for atheism on youtube, or the blogosphere, or any other part of the web, one thing becomes very clear: the most vocal atheists aren't just pro-atheism, they're very, very anti-religious.
Atheistic evangelism has become a very active part of life on the web. I'll probably get a few hits and emails just for mentioning it. The problem is that if atheism becomes just another religion then it ceases to have any use as an alternative to religion.
When religious groups start tearing down other religious groups (as can be their nature) red flags immediately go up. They're labeled a hate group or worse and become targets of groups like the southern poverty law center or tolerance.org, but the same standard doesn't apply to atheist groups. When atheists attack other beliefs, it's called enlightened and reasonable.
I completely get that part of this is payback for all the crap religious groups have pulled over the years, but are we really improved when atheist groups start adopting the tactics of the Westboro Baptist Church? What's next? Will they adopt the tactics of Al Quaeda?
Perhaps these patterns of behavior are so ingrained into the human condition that atheists had no choice but to fall into them. Atheists have given up on the search for their own ways of being and bought property on church row.
Go to a college campus. At the beginning of each new school year religious groups set up tables in public places so new students can find their own denomination to join up, and right in among them, the atheists have their own table advertising their own spaghetti suppers and bowling nights.
There was a time when atheism was a legitimate alternative to religion, but it has long since become a matter of them playing the same game as the religious, just with different jerseys. Don't be surprised if the next time there's a knock on your door, it's an atheist wanting you to give you a copy of his atheist watchtower pamphlet.