I think that the new atheists resemble the early historical materialists in the misplaced scientism trying to replace religion with materialism: every suggests that it won’t work, and we have to ask at this point how the communism of the veterans of the French Revolution lost their subject to Marx. Marx rescued that original form and gave it an acceleration, and that answers that, but nothing in the idea of communism demands historical materialism. That should be obvious from the Reformation, the real birth of communism in a religious movement. But the idea of a ‘secular’ communism seemed a no-brainer in the generation moving from the collapse of the Hegelian school to the world of Feuerbach and this is when the ‘new atheism’ was really born, so to speak. But this perspective created a lot of problems for marxism, without ever yielding a robust version of secular humanism.
In Last and First Men the solution suggested is to simply free the path to communism from hard philosophic positions, and stay open with a dialectic of multiple viewpoints. A communist movement must create a culture, and a modern culture at that. Why should we eliminate the variety in modernity with a ‘come lately’ form of bastardize materialism, something 90% of the audience for communism won’t bother with.