Here is the answer.
Please note as background that I am a Catholic. Yes -- a reviled Christian.
It's common to read attacks by Atheists on practicing Christians on Daily Kos -- and, indeed, on the Internet at large. These attacks often infantalize Christians, assault their sense of reason, slander them or level broad accusations that have little support in fact. The context of these attacks is usually the All-Seeing Eye of the Atheist, which is capable to seeing into the minds of Christians and instantly understanding their motiviations, even when such motivations are cloudy or obscure to the Christian himself.
Some of these attacks are histronic and ridiculous.
I believe that is because the best and easiest argument for someone becoming an Atheist is also the most boring one: "I never really found a place for God in my life."
That hardly works on the Internet.
For a long time, I was really puzzled about why Atheists were so concerned with what is going on in my mind with respect to my religious beliefs. Yet, I have seldom found myself so exposed and criticized -- these telepathic mind-readers can, apparent, peer right into my brain and understand things about me that I find hard to understand about myself.
That was until it clicked.
And I saw Atheism for what it was.
As a person with a background in Catholicism, living now in a region where Catholicism predominates as the major religion, I know many former and lapsed Catholics, many of these non-religious and even non-believing people. I have asked around, however, and few of them have embraced the idea of Atheism.
Well -- Atheism in itself is a protest movement.
And for most lapsed or former Catholics, simply not going to church or letting has church leaders run their life is adequate protest -- and, by the way, a most deadly protest against church power.
Atheism with a Capital A -- the kind of people who rail on blogs against Christians, or travel the country hoping to touch the hem of Atheist leaders like Richard Dawkins -- are seldom former Catholics, though.
This kind of Atheism is a revolt against Protestantism, which is itself a protest movement against the evils of the world.
Just as Protestantism defined itself as a rebuke to the excesses of the Catholic Church, so Atheism has defined itself as a protesting movement against the spirits of Calvin and Luther. The Atheist mind-reader almost always implants beliefs that are particular to the Evangelical or the Charismatic into the mind of his Christian adversary, for example.
Sometimes I wonder whether it's a more extreme example of Protestantism, even. Minus Mr. Jesus.
And so ...
I started to see the Atheist movement in the context of religious history and development in the West.
Monotheism -- perhaps the world's greatest technological achievement, as where previously each God exercised his own law, Monotheism enforces a moral unity on societies of men.
Catholicism -- where the moral unity became universal and existed in constant challenge to the authority of states.
Protestantism -- Christianity as a form of protest or resistence against worldly evil.
Atheism -- a protest even against Protestantism, which is now seen as a blocking factor to self-actualization and truth.
But where is Atheism leading us? What does it have planned for humankind, being that this is a movement that espouses no plan at all beyond the individual exercise of reason? Does there need to be one?
No matter, for now.
It's content with being a force of resistence, a form of protest. It's direction is attack. Attack defines it, because this is what it is. And I'm steeling myself to get used to it, though I still have the random outburst in reaction to the All-Seeing Eye.
Funny thing, though.
Human nature is such that, on closer examination, the Atheist movement is full of the same weak, irrational, conflicted, myopic human beings that fill the ranks of the religious. We're all small -- tiny, really -- when compared to the grandeur of the Divine or the Universe. (Your choice.)
So, please. A little humility?