Strangely enough, it was the rise of Protestantism that laid the foundation for the later emergence of atheism in the twentieth century. It was believed by some that the only way to liberate humanity from its bondage to the past was to attack this oppression's ultimate cause---the church.
But since not everyone could defeat the church militarily or politically, some developed the strategy of attacking its ideas, thereby undermining the credibility of its teachings. Atheism was seen as able to weaken and destroy the church, as well as to liberate from its repression.
Atheism merely extended Protestantism's criticism of the Catholic Church, without any need to promote the attractions of a godless world.
But it developed a sophistication as a world view in its own right. Now it was much more than merely a newfound intellectual freedom. A brave new world lay ahead...