All across North America, atheists are stepping out. Billboards. Greeting cards. Community meet-ups and coffee dates. A holiday festival called "HumanLight". Emboldened by the election of Barack Obama who, although a Christian, seems to espouse something approaching a rationalist worldview, nonbelievers are attempting to put their 'beliefs' into the mainstream. It's all very fun and cozy. It's also vaguely ridiculous.
I'm an atheist. For me, the non-belief in god/gods/magic is an intellectual choice. Not only do I reject the idea of religion, I also repudiate the functional trappings of organized religious activity. I seek no community of like-minded believers, and I don't proselytize. Atheism is not the belief in non-belief. It is just non-belief. By definition, it cannot be the foundation of an organization designed to replace conventional religion.
Don't misunderstand me- I'm all for atheists having the freedom to express their views in public, and have these views treated with the same respect accorded to the pious. But when atheists start imitating the structures and activities of organized religion- community events, festivals, creating a 'movement'- they betray their convictions. Atheism posits a world where morality and community can exist without religious dogma. Trying to pass off atheism as a substitute for religion is at best contradictory and at worst hypocritical.
So believe- or don't believe- what you will. But don't act like atheism is the thinking man's religion. If you do, then you're no longer an atheist.