The prominence of evil in the new atheism—evil attributed to God, his followers, and the hostile, indifferent planet he is claimed to have made—suggests that the issue is not, as it is often presented, “rational” atheism vs. “superstitious” religion. Rather, the issue is between rival theodicies. If religion is thought to be the root cause of much of the evil in the world, a worldview which urges its removal represents a kind of theodicy. Evil is identified as such, its causes are described, and a way forward is recommended. What is not provided is a plausible account of why human beings should have such a strong moral reaction to the nature of our environment in the first place.
The current instantiation of protest atheism, like similar kinds in the past, relies more heavily on the moral capital accumulated through several millennia of Christian influence than it cares to admit. As such, the theodicy offered by the new atheism, while demonstrating an admirable (even biblical!) degree of moral sensitivity, is, ultimately, inadequate.