According to Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis:
No longer are they just staying in their classrooms or writing books and articles in the comfort of their offices. They are “the new atheists,” and they are aggressively going after your children, your liberties, and your faith!
This is the sort of hysterical rhetoric that is usually saved for people like child molesters and other criminal predators. We're "after" people's children? Perhaps in the sense that we are willing to tell children what we think, but Ken Ham makes it sound like atheists are lurking in public parks, inviting kids behind the bushes to get a look at Dawkins' latest book.
Then there is the claim that we are "after" people's liberties and faith. This makes it sound like atheists are really just totalitarian dictators who are biding their time until they get a chance to outlaw all religions. Many Christians suffer from a persecution complex, I know, but this is just too much. What's next, advice to members of Answers in Genesis that they start checking under their beds for atheists waiting to suck out their soul while they sleep?
According to the print media and websites, the new atheists say “evangelism is a moral imperative” to spread their “good news” in “persuading people of the virtues of atheism.” ...Some people might say to me, “But there’s no way Americans will go for atheism. Most people believe in God, even if they don’t take the Bible seriously as AiG does.” Think back to the 1950s. What if someone back then said to you, “Beware, the homosexual movement is on the march—if we don’t do something, ‘gay’ marriages will be legalized across the country.”
Almost all of us at that time would have said that there’s no way Americans would ever accept this. Most people believe that marriage is one man for one woman, so, no, this will never happen in America. But as you know, it has happened—and continues to happen!
Yes, it's true, atheists are interested in informing other people about what atheism is, what it is not, why atheists reject theism, why atheists reject theistic religions, and moreover why others should consider becoming more skeptical of religion, religious beliefs, and theism. This seems to strike Ken Ham as outlandish, but it can only be treated as such if there is something inherently wrong with people offering alternatives to theism and religion. Perhaps that's just what he thinks, but if so that's his problem, not atheists'.
The parallel to homosexuality is instructive, and Ken Ham is right to bring it up, but in his rush to demonize atheists he fails to note that gays have made incredible strides in being accepted which atheists have not. Polls show more people becoming more accepting of gays than of atheists and in a much shorter time, revealing that people's anti-atheist bigotry may be far stronger and more deeply-seated than their anti-gay bigotry has been.
As we’ve been saying for years, there’s been a change in this culture—at a foundation level. Generations have been indoctrinated by the secular education system and media to build their thinking on human reason, not the Word of God. And at the base of this is the creation/evolution issue. ...Friend, all I can say is that I praise the Lord that He has raised up ministries like AiG to engage the culture and the church to return to the authority of God’s Word.
Well, isn't this interesting? According to Ken Ham, the "problem" of increased acceptance of atheism can be attributed to the much more fundamental "problem" that children are learning to think by using human reason instead of simply relying on the "word" of God (which of course always goes through an interpretive filter of past and present religious authorities — people like Ken Ham, for example).
Frankly, I fail to see any problem with either. It's not a problem for atheists to be more public nor for atheists to become more accepted. It's certainly not a problem for people to rely more on human reason rather than what they are told to do and believe by religious leaders reading ancient texts which purport to convey the wishes and wisdom of an unknown and currently unavailable deity who, most conveniently, will only fully reveal itself after we're dead and can't do anything about it anymore.
Is it possible that the reason why the use of "human reason" is such a "problem" is because is causes people to see through the some of the shams perpetuated by some religious leaders? Could it be that more consistent use of human reason allows people to think for themselves rather than be led by the nose by people whose only power and influence lies in their ability to convince others that they can authoritatively interpret the wishes of some alleged deity?
At the base of this isn't the "creation/evolution issue" as Ken Ham says, but the science vs. faith issue: either people will use the tools of science, skepticism, and reason, or they will be misled into using false tools of faith, scripture, and prayer. The former will provide reliable, accurate information about our world as well as how to best use that information; the latter only serves to keep us in ignorance, fear, and superstition.