At Reason “Free Minds and Free Markets,” we learn from Kennedy (March 10, 2012), “Atheism Is a Religion: Or at least it requires a God for you not to believe in”:
I didn’t know what fire and brimstone was until I made a throwaway claim recently during an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. It seemed pretty unaudacious at the time, but by dropping the simple sentence “Atheism is a religion,” I opened a biblical floodgate of ridicule, name-calling, and abuse.
My Twitter feed and Facebook page became engorged with angry responses. “Your adherence into adulthood to what is usually an adolescent phase (Libertarianism), speaks volumes about your confirmation bias levels,” wrote Kernan. Touchstone Supertramp added; “Damn girl you got a big forehead.” A guy named Kevin and about 70 other people shared this bumper-sticker nugget: “?If atheism is a religion, then off is a TV channel.” Liz wrote, “Kennedy, is that if atheism constitutes a religious belief than anorexia is whenever you don’t eat.” Michael wrote: “religion /ri’lij?n/ Noun: 1. Whatever Kennedy says it is.” That was awesome. Beth called me a minor celebrity and a major troll—and it was also awesome to have somebody think I’m a celebrity.
I was called names and insulted in ways I haven’t heard since the first Clinton administration, when leading scientists still believed the Internet was created by Al Gore in only seven days.
Well, that’s pretty much what the old atheists are generally saying about the new atheists: New atheism is just a nut-out without any clear basis in serious ideas.
Traditional atheism wasn’t a religion; it was a dissent from an existing religion. New atheism is definitely a religion, with grand plans for us all, mostly stuff we don’t want.
See also: “You have betrayed atheism. Go over to the other side and die!