The new atheism tends to get religion wrong. The focus is always on the out-dated metaphysics of religion, its belief in personal creator gods, miracles, souls and so forth. [...] However, there is much more to religion than the metaphysics. To give a non-exhaustive list, religion is also about trying to live sub specie aeternitatis; orienting oneself to the transcendent rather than the immanent; living in a moral community of shared practice or as part of a valuable tradition; cultivating certain attitudes, such as gratitude and humility; and so on. To say, as Sam Harris does, that ‘religion is nothing more than bad concepts held in place of good ones for all time’ misses all this. The practices of religion may be more important then the narratives, even if people believe those narratives to be true.
While Baggini is liberal, his criticisms echo those of conservative non-theist philosopher Roger Scruton. Scruton, in an article for The American Spectator, defends a form of Enlightenment humanism and existentialism that still sought to affirm human life and ideals, whereas the New Atheism is primarily destructive:
My parents too thought belief in God to be a weakness. But they were reluctant to deprive other human beings of a moral prop that they seemed to need. … [When] I look back at the humanist movement that I encountered as an adolescent, one thing above all strikes me: that the old humanism was not about deconstructing God; it was about constructing man. It was a positive movement, devoted to seeking things worthy of emulation and sacrifice, even if there is no God to promote them. Its principal fear was that, deprived of religious belief, people would let go of their ideals. Hence it urgently sought a new basis for moral restraint in the idea of human dignity.
If Scruton is too conservative for you, another excellent contribution along this line of thought is made by philosophical literary theorist and Marxist Terry Eagleton in his book Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate.