Atheism simply means not believing in the existence of a god. That’s all there is to it. Unfortunatelty, not everyone understands it that way. In fact, very often, atheism gets lumped in with secularism, maltheism, naturalism, antireligion, the value of science and logic, and materialism. There’s even a bullshit belief that not believing in god makes you smarter, and that believing in god makes you stupid. This is the fault of what is only generously called “new atheism”.
These guys are responsible for the current of image of atheists, and they are complete posers. I don’t mind that they criticize morality of god, but it seems like they forgot they they’re supposed to be atheists, because for a brief moment it appears that they actually believe in the Christian God, just that they hate him. This is especially true of Christopher Hitchens (in fact, that’s what he’s most famous for). The difference between “new atheism” and actual atheism is that real atheism just says there’s no god and nothing else, while new atheists believe that “religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises”. That does not describe atheism. It describes antireligion.
To be fair on them, though, they may be both atheist and antireligious, but I have never seen their criticism of religion being treated as antireligious, which it actually is. All their antireligion and secular advocacy has been misguidedly lumped in with atheism. Why? Maybe because “new atheism” gets the most media attention, but that only comes from the fact that, most of the time, all they do is promote themselves and proselytize their views. Their books sell for millions of dollars and are considered best-sellers, and some of them make documentaries solely for the purpose of espousing their viewpoints, far from exposing the truth as they’d like you to think. Probably the king of new atheist promotion is Richard Dawkins, who, though good at criticizing Christianity, tends to be incredibly condescending towards religion in general and anyone who believes in anything that isn’t scientifically proven. His fame probably comes less from his outspoken advocacy of atheism and criticism of religion and superstition, and more from the fact that he’s had nine TV documentaries and several publications all promoting said views.
I swear they’re no different to fundamentalist Christians or evangelists, in fact one could call them atheist evangelists. Why? Because they treat their own opinions, and science itself, as a gospel of truth. Now I’m opinionated and somewhat judgemental myself, but at least I’m not going around creating a secular religion for all to follow and making idiots of those who don’t. Even then, all that matters to me as that, in my eyes, they’re all posers.
What I also dislike is that, much like the dogmatic fundamentalist Christians, they miss the bigger picture. Life isn’t all about science and logic. In fact, there’s a lot about life science can never prove, and religion can’t prove either. Lots of times, life is about your own judgements. But for new atheist thinkers, science is a gospel and a secular religion, though they’ll never say that. The problem is when religious scientism and militant materialistic atheism become the atheism of the modern time, or, in other words, the “new atheism”.