This node is the lone survivor of a purging. It is thus under revision. If you have any suggestions, please msg me...
When Michael A. Newdow of California successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, it touched off a fiery debate between those who believe in God and those who don't. The debate revealed what might be called a mutual resentment between the two camps; a resentment whose core might be thought to be the "me-too" aspect of Atheism.
To some people of faith, atheism seems to be a flimsy, poorly-thought out proposition, desirable because of its image, ennobling in its intellectuality, but ultimately taken on for the wrong reasons. It seems to them that atheists adopt their position only because they want to seem intelligent and witty.
While certainly there are Atheists who choose atheism ultimately for its image, the perceived value in atheism such Atheists find is more closely linked to a certain subculture than it is to atheism itself. Atheism, properly understood for what it is, is non-dogmatic, and can carry no implication about a person's intelligence or intellectual superiority on its own. In order for atheism to be associated with a certain Voltaire-esque lifestyle, it must itself be incorporated into a larger idea, memeplex, subculture, or whatever, which I might designate by capitalizing the word, "Atheism."
I have encountered many of these "Atheists" myself, people who, for whatever reason, view their decision on the non-existence of God to be an elevating decision, and I think they are quite silly. But not all atheists (small "a") are necessarily like of mind to such people, and there is no logical way to assert that they are or should be. Atheism's non-dogmatic nature makes it nearly impossible to say anything of the form "All atheists are X." Not all atheists are Atheists.
This is a relatively common oversight religious people often make when discussing atheism in contemporary society (well, in the United States, anyway), particularly around where I live. And certainly, I don't blame them for their error, since most of the outspoken atheists might be described accurately as "Atheists."
But still, just because a bunch of teens think it's cool to weird-out their private-school classmates by saying they're communists and avowing themselves to the non-existence of God doesn't mean that the more quietly atheist amateur philosophers out there don't have something legitimate to say about atheism.
It's been my experience that being an atheist outside the "me-too-ers" of mainstream Atheism is a rather daunting existence, and I wouldn't personally wish it upon anyone that could reasonably allow themselves to believe in God. Faith, however misguided it might be, is infinitely easier and more easily enjoyed than living a life where one is in control of one's own causes and effects.
Every serious atheist -- that is, anyone deciding they are an atheist of their own volition and not wishing necessarily to be part of any sort of Atheist clique -- must come to grips with the futility of life, and must struggle to find something to value in their life if they are to have any sanity at all in living their life. There is no God looking down on you to tell you that everything will be okay in the end; an atheist must grapple with the possibility that in the end, their entire existence will have meant nothing.
So anyone who thinks being an "Atheist" is cool or elitist or "Voltaire-esqe" simply isn't thinking hard enough about atheism. But that's okay; they can have their own faith, too.