We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It is legally interesting, but in my experience most atheists have faith in some thing or some things as a life foundation, mainly pagan or materialist sorts of things. In the US, most atheists live on a Christian foundation.
Most non-believers in the US live on a Christian foundation.
Atheists, however, live for their all-consuming HATRED of Christianity.
There's an enormous difference between people that simply don't believe and people who self-describe as "atheists". The organized atheist movement in the US exists for the purpose of destroying Christianity.
I think it would be helpful to clarify what the understanding of the term atheist, in this context, means, including (but not limited to) what sort of belief system(s) would be included in it. My Buddhist friends, for example, are atheists in the strictest sense. My materialist friends are also atheists, but their respective conceptual frames of reference are very different from one another.
A similar situation exists with the understanding of what is meant by religion. Four decades ago, a newly-minted sociology professor offered me something along the lines of the following, "Religiosity is that set of concepts from which one derives one's highest ideals and core beliefs." IMHO, this is a useful point of departure for such a discussion. I would self-identify as a Christian, for example, but really have no more interest in the Church Institutional that the members of the early church as described in the Book of Acts. By my [former] professor's definition, I would be religious (as would be many fans of professional athletics, for example), 'though most good churchmen would probably disagree.
in my experience most atheists have faith in some thing or some things as a life foundation...
My experience is that it is a negative belief system. In other words, most of what they have to say is about the other person's belief system, not theirs, and what they have to say about it is that it's a "fairy tale" -- wrong. The atheist perceives, and accurately, that faith does not work scientifically; it doesn't wait for the facts to arrive, and conclude after pondering them. Of course, if faith did such a thing, then it wouldn't be faith.
My experience also is that their hand can be easily forced: Simply ask the atheist to explain the things that are on our mind when we speak of "Creation" -- you, me, us, the planet, the solar system, flora & fauna. I have noticed very often, at that point, the agnosticism stops. They've got an explanation for all of it. And it seems they don't notice that the explanation relies just as much on faith, and just as little on the evidence, as any church catechism, anywhere.
So once you ask how the universe came to be, yes, atheism is a religion. If it doesn't start out that way, it becomes that. On the spot. Again, this is an observation of a general pattern. I understand there are exceptions.
Morgan K Freeberg