I have read several articles over the past few weeks that talk about the new atheism or rational atheism as led by Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins (among others). Some writers have applauded these folks and some have criticized them. But most of these writers have treated these modern versions of atheism almost like a religion. I have a bone to pick with that assessment.
There is only one thing that atheists have in common: A lack of belief or disbelief in a god or gods. That's it. If that is all one needs to view something as religious, then all people who don't believe in the tooth fairy, that the world is or that global warming is real belong to specific religions that deal specifically with those singular issues!
Atheists come in all shapes and sizes. While any two atheists might agree there is no evidence for a god or gods, these two people might not agree on anything else! One might be a flaming left wing radical and the other might be an old time conservative. They might not agree on gay marriage or defense spending. One might be a racist, while the other is not. These two might not even agree on the arguments concerning why there isn't a god or gods.
Consequently, because of the diversity of opinions and perspectives among atheists, there can be no dogma or orthodoxy. There are no shared creeds or rituals. There is nothing that binds atheists together as a homogenous group. The ONLY thing atheists share in common is not having a god or gods as their starting point for understanding and living in the world.
If atheism is tantamount to a religion, then so too is aclausism (all the people in the world who don't believe that Santa Claus is real)!