Yes, atheism has been in the public eye more in recent years, largely because of a few atheists who've captured the public's attention through their books. They aren't large in number but they do tend to be aggressive in promoting their ideas.
Why have they drawn so much attention? One reason, I believe, is because they know how to use the media very effectively. They also appeal to people who want to be free from God or any moral restraints. Like the philosophers of Paul's day who were constantly looking for new ideas to debate, many people today eagerly latch onto the latest fad (see Acts 17:21). Atheism attracts their attention - at least for a while.
In reality, however, modern atheists have very little new to say. In fact, atheism has been around for thousands of years; even the Psalmist - writing hundreds of years before Christ - referred to them: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1).
Don't be misled by those who claim God doesn't exist - because He does. And the ultimate reason we know it is because He came down from heaven and walked on this earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ was God in human flesh - and He proved it by rising from the dead. Put your faith in Him, for He alone gives us peace in the present and hope for the future.