"Yeah, but like Christian atheist?"
People have actually said that? WOW!!!
I am pondering my answer.
My age makes it difficult. My awareness of death without an afterlife or god figure was probably around five-years-old. I probably started coming into my own on personal philosophy, religion in my community, and my lack of religion around the ages of seven to nine. Some time between the ages of nine and twelve I developed a pretty clear understanding of where I fit in with regards to atheism, agnosticism, and a number of well know religions. So from twelve to now you can safely consider me philosophically atheist. That's about sixteen years.
The problem is, from childhood to my early twenties, my perception of the world and the culture I live in has changed for a large number of reasons. It can be hard to tell if, in a decade and a half, the world has changed with regard to atheism, or if it is merely my perspective changed. Probably a combination of both.
My mother was an atheist when I was born. She seems to have had mixed feelings on raising my brother and I without religion in a predominately religious culture. She's a pretty strong woman, and has always been outspoken where ethics and morals are concerned, but I think, going back three decades, the idea of religion as a benevolent cultural institution was much stronger. It's not that people had to go to church or believe; just that a certain amount of lip service and respectability was afforded to religion as a social norm.
In this day and age, I think that religion has lost much of its inviolability. Religious symbols have lost some of their sanctity. I'm not entirely sure what caused this. Part of it is that I am part of a generation that seems to value immediacy more than the sense of history and tradition that empowers religious authority. Part of it is that religion is losing cultural relevance. Part of it is that we are culturally insular and tepid. I think that atheism is growing with less passion and more stability. There is less fire and rebellion to becoming an atheist, which can be a bit dull, but perhaps it is making it more accessible for those who are losing their faith.
Religion, on the other hand, is either adapting to the times by becoming more accommodating and considerate of modern needs and values (which is fine by me), or throwing temper tantrums in the face of growing apathy and general disregard towards it. In the places I've lived, the former group seems to be much larger than the latter.
So, that's my rambling reply for the moment. It's a big topic, and multifaceted too. I find it difficult to focus my thoughts.
From what you've said, I can state that you're among the luckier ones, that had gotten over the god problem pretty early, and that had support from someone close (your mother).
There is less fire and rebellion to becoming an atheist, which can be a bit dull, but perhaps it is making it more accessible for those who are losing their faith.
When I finally realised that I can't believe in (a) god anymore, it didn't felt like I was doing something rebellious at all. It was very normal and right, and it felt like I was supposed to do that a long time ago. The main feeling was relief. So I guess you're right, it is a bit dull, especially after a while. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad thing. It slowly becomes something normal, natural, just another part of you.