Jack, few things get me more annoyed than when I write seriously about religious issues (as an atheist) and then get a bunch of pile-on comments from people who THINK they agree with me, spouting tripe like the old man in the sky trope.
Or, “Religion is the root of all evil,” or “Tax the churches,” or some other clearly not-very-thoughtful responses.
Religion is obviously not inherently evil, and atheists who try to push their (lack of) beliefs on others are as obnoxious as street-corner evangelists.
And now that I’ve mostly agreed with you, it’s my experience that some religious believers are more sophisticated than others. Obviously, nobody raises their hand to the Old Man in the Sky trope, but believers I was raised among came pretty close to that in some senses.
I was raised to believe in an angry God who could be best understood anthropomorphically.
Which may be what some atheists mean when they raise the issue. I don’t think most of them are being literal either.