In their rush to throw out God, atheist writers appear to have given little thought to what should replace the deity.
I don't know, this atheist has thrown out God and replaced him with nothing. That's the definition of "atheist", isn't it?
Atheism is a purely negative ideology, which is its problem. If one does not believe in God, what should one believe in instead?
Belief in nothing is still a belief and is just as tangible and beneficial as a belief in something. This is getting very close to one of those "If it wasn't for the ten commandments what's to stop everyone going round killing each other?" arguments. One that takes things like rationality, the common good and humanity's basic decency out of peoples own hands and confers them on some "other". An "other" who just happens to have set down a bunch of rules that are a lot like those a simple bit of human common sense would have come up with with a few seconds thought. Not that those rules ever stopped anyone breaking them on the flimsiest of contexts, especially that adultery one.
The thing that's getting atheists out of bed in the morning is whatever motivates them, perhaps just the will to lead a full and rewarding life. Same as the theists. Daniel Lazare, the article's author, almost makes this point himself:
In short, humanity creates meaning for itself by liberating itself so that it can fulfill itself. This is also a solipsism, but one as big as all existence.
But spoils it by adding the following strange claim:
Odd, isn't it, that atheists can be right about God but wrong about religion and much else about the modern condition, while a believer can be wrong about God but at least on the right track concerning the current spiritual malaise?
It's not really odd in that it's possible, but I'm sure many atheists have much that is right to say about the modern condition and it's quite easy to believe that a believer is worried about those who share his beliefs.