My experience is that if one is an atheist in America today, they must accept the role of a demeaned religious minority, and find satisfaction in their own minds, rather than with society as a whole. Mr. Peter Steinfels, writer in the NY Times, published a column which touches this subject today.
He wtites on a new book by Ronald Aranson, “Living Wthout God”. There has been a flurry of new books on athesim published this decade, but none addressed “the most urgent need” for secularists today: “a coherent popular philosophy that answers vital questions about how to live one’s life.”
He also reviews “The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality”by Andre Comte-Sponville, from which he notes: “Mr. Comte-Sponville does address one political question, of the broadest sort. While he has no doubt that individuals can live without religion — he is, after all, a happy atheist — whether societies can live without religion, he feels, is a more complex matter.”
He will review Phil Zuckerman’s newbook on Sweden and Denmark, “Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment” (New York University Press 2008), in a future column.