In response to the comment on PZ sums it up for us:
1. Einstein was pretty much an atheist by modern standards although technically probably a deist. I agree with his notion of the mystery of it all and I don’t object to calling the mystery “god”, I just think it is a horrible name for it. Atheists are not like he describes us. We are mistaken for that because of…
2. Part of what you are feeling is that, once you accept atheism for what it truly is — a rejection of claims without proof — the coddling that religion enjoys seems utterly daft. I think religion is ridiculous. I am amazed at the number of highly intelligent people who do not reject its flawed, overblown and largely intolerant and unhelpful claims. Yes, religious people are capable of all sorts of great things. They are great people. Its just not their religion that makes them so. Often it is in spite of their religion that religious people are great people. The religion isn’t helping and according to some its hurting.
This is a painful observation to people who are spiritual. They don’t feel ridiculous and they are not happy with this characterization. I understand that. It doesn’t change the fact that I am not a radical by saying it. They are “radicals” because they believe a bunch of nonsense for reasons that, under scrutiny, are much more tenuous than they would like to believe.
Now add on top of this that religious people feel they have the moral high ground, that atheists are evil, immoral and will deservedly suffer for eternity in Hell and the fact that a large population in this country believes in creationism, a 6000 year old Earth and the Second Coming…it is we, the godless, who are force-fed the radicalism. And now that there are a few more percent of us speaking out, we take on criticism like this — that we are mean and hostile. It’s utterly fucking daft. We’re mean and hostile because we are surrounded by people who speak, as if fact, about how Jesus Christ entered their lives and speak of evolution, cosmology and physics as if they are bad lies made up by a conspiracy of evil scientists.
You’ll note that Einstein was solidly on the side of science. He was barely, if at all, on the side of the theists. He was uncomfortable with that last quantum leap, just like you.