1. It requires just as much faith to be an atheist as to believe in a god.
2. Atheism is a religion.
Here's why this is not true, at least for me.
Atheism does not require faith. I suspect that some atheism requires faith - not all atheists are atheist for rational reasons. The argument cannot be levelled at atheists such as myself, however, who believe there is no god based on rationality and experience. A bold claim? No. But to see why, we first have to understand where this idea comes from.
The theist believes that their deity created this and that because their religion/priest/deity/scripture told them so. It therefore follows that the atheist believes that no god made this and that because their atheism tells them so. Atheists "have faith" that there is no god and therefore that there is a godless explanation for everything. They ask atheists whether we believe certain things that cannot be proven - such as the spontaneous origin of life without divine intervention - and then cry "Haha! Faith!" when we acknowledge that we do.
This is wrong. It is wrong because they are making the ancient and oft-repeated mistake of confusing correlation with causation. I do not believe that life spontaneously arose without divine intervention because I am an atheist. I belief that life spontaneously arose without divine intervention and I am an atheist for the same reason. Nothing that I have experienced in my life (including my 18+ years as an evangelical fundamentalist Christian) has required a deity to explain it. More than that, nothing I have experienced could be better explained with a deity than without. The rest is simply extrapolation.
I do not need faith to believe that gravity will not switch off during the night and that I am safe not tying myself into my bed; I simply extrapolate from a lifetime of experience. For the same reason, I do not need faith to be an atheist or believe that there is a god-free explanation for life; I simply extrapolate from past experience. Every satisfactory explanation for anything I have ever encountered has come from science, not religion. Only science, in my experience, honestly and openly adapts its position in the light of new data, and rejects assumptions found wanting. Only science produces predictable, testable and demonstrable outputs, including all the modern technology that makes my life convenient and all the modern medicine that makes my life longer. I don't need faith to believe in these things. For me, atheism is simply an extension of that. No faith needed. (Does this mean that additional evidence or experience could lead me to reject atheism? You betcha. Although it would have to be quite spectacular at this stage!)
There is no "Atheist Religion". This is a simpler one. Atheism is not a religion because it has no dogmas, churches, priests or creeds. There is no atheist scripture or Chief Atheist telling us what to believe. There is one unifying idea - the lack of the existence of god - and that's it. It annoys me when forms have "atheism" and "no religion" as two options under religion. Atheism is not a religion, it is a (lack of) belief! You can have atheist buddhists and theists without religion. Humanism is probably the closest to an atheist religion, fulfilling many of the same roles as religion, but even this is not right because you do not have to be atheist to be a humanist nor humanist to be an atheist.
So, criticise my atheism all you like. Take issue with my materialism and unwillingness to accept certain "alternative forms of evidence". But please, don't accuse me of having faith or religion; I have neither.