The new atheists have been extensively criticized, and by me, but they represent the increasing revulsion of many toward legacy spiritualities. That used to take the form for many of seeking out new age legacies but even those are beginning to pall.
Check out this quaint video of Yogananda. It seems prehistoric now (though timeless in another): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-life-of-yogananda-guru-author-of-autobiography-of-a-yogi_55dba1dde4b04ae4970435c8?utm_hp_ref=religion
The realization of the dark side of buddhism was the turning point and will bring down this religion like an elephant in the sights of an elephant gun.
Xtianity is something you snap out of and then it becomes impossible to really get back in tune. Sit down and watch a Hollywood version of the life of Christ: Hollywood is actually a fairly good transmitter of Xtian values: lies, fake miracles, unfactual histories, and the sudden sense of sadness and disappointment watching this cinematic trash as your faith simply snaps out of hypnosis.
The problem here via the new atheists is that rejecting religion is not the same as rejecting the reality of a spiritual realm. And the ‘after religion’ realm has no handle on theism or atheism. Both are postreligious. I think the point of atheism now is a reflection of that revulsion we spoke of. But the issue of god probably won’t go away. It may not matter as people float between theism and atheism and back again. The latter is almost healthy and most Kantian. The point is essential. Once you leave religion you have to provide for your own spiritual life and future and that is a trek fraught with peril, but with a sudden new form of energy: your other Enlightenment, the one that occurred in the eighteenth century, and its foundation in autonomy, that core of ‘you’ buddhists declared ego, thus evil and not your own, as you became a buddhist slave. Your autonomy may be ‘ego’ and may be tanscended, but you must transcend it autonomously! Here modernity has an edge over pious buddhism, with its crocodiles shedding tears over your samsaric plight.
Your allegiance to all these religions was subject to hidden spiritual taxes, so to speak, as you were mostly stripped of conscious energies (extraction of surplus value). The sudden experience of your basic quota of consciousness, not to be exaggerated, is an eye-opener. No wonder the sudden surge of interest in mindfulness and the like.
With xtianity, the legacy churches are fading away. New problems multiply: look at what’s left: young and idealistic xtians must now share this religion with…almost noone, except Washington politicians who are just about the worst spiritual influence, machiavellians, murderers, discussing their faith to get elected. It is pukeworthy stuff and its audience is slowly dwindling.
Buddhism is growing and expanding in the west, but that phase will soon pass. I could be wrong, but whatever the case we should learn from buddhism and then leave it to its Axial Age graveyard. It is too wounded by its battles to be long viable for the future.
We need to be vigilant in a postreligious context because cultural groups can easily go into nosedives and irreparable harm done is very hard to repair. There are a host of simple remedies, but people won’t usually take them…the first can be to simply study the history of religion…
You may be out of xtianity as a former believer, but you have graduated to a much harder task, understanding what that religion, now history, as they say, was about, and how it happened.