The way I see it, atheism is an answer to a question - nothing more. "Do you believe a God exists?" If the answer is no, then you're an atheist. It is not an ideology, it does not inform anyone else about what the person believes and it most certainly isn't a religion. But that's not what most people mean when discussing "atheism." I was linked this video by YouTube agitator Stefan Molyneux because it summed up my friend's views on atheism. Watch it if you want, but I do need to tease out the misconceptions.
Here's the rub: almost everything we consider to be the institutions of the modern world haven't really changed since the Romans and before them, the Greeks. The only reason we're still talking about Christianity in 2016 is because it moved north from the Levant, picked up the tools of logic and rationalism thanks to a guy named Paul before being chosen at a whim by the Roman emperor Constantine - an action which he thought helped secure him the throne.
Once Christianity became the official state religion of Rome, the structure of the church replaced (not introduced) the institutions already extant across the empire and into antiquity. Taxes became tithes, priests became clerics, emperors became popes, temples became churches, etc. In other words, nothing changed - only the hands controlling the puppet strings were switched.
As history moved on, Christianity splintered and atomised into thousands of sects, some of which were quite powerful. But the old regime of Greco-Roman social structure remained and evolved. At only a few points in time were a handful of new institutions introduced into the Western process of government. Essentially, lawmakers in Rome would understand exactly how to run USG or any Western government, even if their language skills might need a little updating. Today, the current iteration of Western government/social structure is conducted and organised by a group of people adhering to the ideology known as 'progressivism'. Almost the entire developed world (and many of the developing nations) structure government in pretty much the same pattern.
The legacy of Christianity has proven to be an incredibly effective coordinating ideology for humans, but the institutions of government were not formed by its adherents, they were only inherited. To understand the modern world, and to see how Stefan comes close but misses the critical truth, is to know that progressivism and modern atheism are simply the latest versions of Christianity.
If you unpack all the goals for both and overlay them , you might be surprised how well they match. In other words, progressivism is actually a post-Christian idea. Humanism and atheism are best understood as non-spiritual sects of Christianity. I would even go as far to say that ONLY Christians can become atheists. Other religious believers may lose their religion, but they will not become atheists or secularists. That occurrence can only be formed within a Christian context.
So, Stefan's threads don't quite pull together. On the one hand he complains about atheists and leftists, without comprehending that these are actually modern iterations of Christianity. However, he appears to appreciate standard Christianity - he uses examples of charity and compares killing records of both the official church and the state of the 20th century. But this is a contradiction, the two are the same - although one is an atavism of the other. He likes standard Christianity because it has no power today, but he wouldn't have liked it (I assume) in the past when it did have power and was connected to the institutions of the state. Today, the latest iteration of Christianity (progressivism) is in control of state institutions, which is why he identifies his hatred in this direction. But it is still Christianity.
Although I can sense he might notice something's wrong with his thinking and may soon pull his ideas together, the target of atheism here is not accurate for his goals. And deeper than this, his inability to frame the problem outside of politics is the cause of his myopia. The first step, if he wants to enact change, is to identify the problem. Otherwise he is probably only gaming for power and shouldn't be trusted.
To fix this, he needs to understand that there is no such thing as a benign form of Christianity. Then he must be prepared to question the necessity of the nation state structure itself and all its institutions. And finally (but before any of the other steps are taken) he must ask what he will replace those systems with. Remember, the institutions are the problem, not the force which governs or coordinates them.
Other than that, he appears to be sceptical of atheism because he's unconvinced that trying to bring about Nietzsche's "superman" for most people is a good idea. That's something few people are capable of or should even attempt. The reclusive German once said, "God is dead and we have killed him". But he was only half right. I prefer to add on one last piece to that sentence: God is dead and we have killed him, but what did you replace Him with?
This is what Stefan notices when he talks about the state as a proxy for God. It isn't a proxy for God, it is a proxy God. Humans, it seems, cannot live without some concept of the "omnipotent other." If it can't be found in church, then we make a new building to house it.
The key driver of this madness comes from a deep drive to never face a moment where we sit alone with our thoughts and truly contemplate how alone we really are. The "omnipotent other" gives us someone to blame/love/burden/command. So it's not surprise that people choose to believe the version of God that most aligns with what they already feel is true about the world. But the test for a true view of the world must be: if you kill Him, what will you replace Him with?