Normal atheists are disgustingly normal. That is to say, they may believe in only what they can see and no more, but to them religion is just more data for that soft science they call anthropology. They are perfectly willing to join in whatever "superstitious religious ritual" you want, precisely because they KNOW there is no harm in it and many of them are jolly good fun besides. IF God does not exist, IF the occult does not exist, how could Satan exist? And thus, where is the harm in any religious practice, to the atheist?
However, in Western Civilization today, there is a new breed of heretic along these lines- the athesistic believer, the anti-theist. This is a man (or woman) that is lying to himself (or herself). They claim to be atheist, but they truly believe in the power of God to work through ordinary human beings. They also hold no love for God but rather a massive hatred of God and a disordered love of liberty. I say disorderd; because our Mother Church also preaches of Liberty- constrained, of course, by an objective morality and a rational God.
The anti-theist's liberty is one of selfishness first. They often cry out for many of the same ideals as a Christian: Personal responsibility, a right to be left alone with no control from other men. But their morality is subjective rather thean objective- even when it claims the lofty title of Objectivism. It is subjective because it fails to reach out to history, to culture, to humanity. These things are "living by somebody else's morality that is being forced upon me" to the anti-theist.
And that is, in short, why the anti-theist, claiming freedom from religion, religiously defends their own mind from any mention of diety. Examples abound, even recent examples. Richard Dawkins , in The God Delusion takes up a full chapter of anecdotal evidence about the abuse of childern by theists, despite several thousand years worth of evidence that religious myth is an excellent way to teach morality to young children. The young atheist from Rhode Island, Jessica Ahlquist, recently who was so offended by a dusty 50 year old generic prayer plaque on the wall of her high school, one that many other students never bothered to notice, that she sued the school for its removal. The recent battle in Montanna over a WWII monument of Jesus Christ put up by the Knights of Columbus out in the woods before there even was a Forest Service or a Freedom From Religion Foundation to complain about it.
Anti-theists are not just anti-God, they are anti-history; for as many of lower intelligence remind us, history is HIS-story. They would tear down the monuments and traditions of the past. And in so doing, they tear at they very foundation of Civilization itself.
But anti-theism, if it is to be a real hersy, must infect the Body of Christ as well. And in fact, we find the same Love of Liberty over Love of God had its beginnings in the Protestant Rebellion itself. The denial of the control of Mother Church, was the beginning of "my way or the highway", the rejection of objective morality.
But it did not stop there. After Vatican II, many Catholics as well choose to reject the teachings of Mother Church, becoming Cafeteria Catholics, using their own uninformed consciences. They choose to vote for pro-torture or pro-abortion politicians, never giving the faithful Catholic politician a second look because "a vote for a third party is a vote for the other side". They persist in sins such as homosexuality and promiscuity because they cannot imagine a man who has taken a vow of celibacy has ever had to battle the temptations of lust. They persist in economic crimes against poverty, because they cannot understand a man who wears clothing woven of gold that comes from a museum and owns nothing himself would know anything about trying to make a profit. Their imagination is limited; so they do not see what profit other people being objectively moral has already brought them.
I do not have good answers to this heresy; other than to point out that without an Objective Morality revealed by a Rational God, civilization itself would have ended with the fall of the Roman Empire; and there is no reason whatsoever to assume it would have arisen again without Christian monks safeguarding the real treasures of the past from barbarism. Anti-theism is just the latest threat to that great treasure chest of history; the latest barbarism to be conquered.