http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-w-austin/can-atheism-replace-relig_b_8556076.html: Can Atheism Replace Religion?
This is the wrong question. Atheism can be a part of religion, as it is in buddhism. and moving beyond religion does not mean you have to negate the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm exists above and beyond religion, and the two are not the same. The question then is what spiritual life will one have if one leaves religion.
The new atheists do a disservice here: they expect those who reject god ideas, in reality the confusion over god ideas, to reject any hypothesis of the spiritual.
The question is muddled by the false distinction of ‘spiritual’ and ‘material’. We can, in the mode of Samkhya, declare all spirituality to be an aspect of the material, even if we don’t quite understand that, but it is nonetheless useful sometimes to speak about the spiritual, and this in a way that might also reject religion. Thousands of new agers rejected religion in order to study the realm of the spiritual. The equation of atheism with the narrow views of people like Dawkins is pointless and no improvement.
The analysis here is cockeyed. But I think atheism seems to increase because theism has become incoherent and is easily exposed as nonsense. Buddhism atheism isn’t increasing or decreasing. One problem is that atheism is as incoherent as theism. A more intelligent version of theism would alter the picture at once. The question is idiotic: the way things are marketed, promoted or induced via any number of psychological tactics determines the question. Advertising would work either way. Theists in religious groups can’t change their views: if the views of infantile believers are challenged, everything falls together…