First of all, I am an atheist. When I downloaded this essay, I had supposed that it was an essay about atheists. However, it is mostly just propaganda against atheism.
The author is French. He remembers Charlemagne in the best light as a symbol of freedom and religious belief, while Napoleon and other near contemporaries as those who have been lost to atheism.
The more interesting parts were his suggestion that atheism is driven by science and the complementary and associative disciplines (ie., math). Lamartine writes,
...the habit of believing only in the tangible. These are the beings who, so to speak, live and think in the dark.Of course, this is ironic, since faith itself is based in the dark, and he is saying that scientists and the followers of science need to see evidence in order to have a belief in something. Of course, there is no evidence of the existence of God.
But what I liked most that he wrote was, "We have not perceived God in the smoke of any of our experiments." In other words, there's no way to prove the existence of God in any experiment.
Science and religion are opposed. Although there are many who practice religion who are also scientists or have studied science, in general faith in the science of the Bible (the date of creation, the age of the universe, etc), contradicts the hard science of geology and paleontology.
He also says that atheists cannot have morality, as morality is a religious law. However, of course, atheists do not believe in Godly appointed laws, but rather in laws of humankind. The laws of the Bible cannot possibly suffice for modern humankind, since, we now agree that women are people with souls. Homosexuality is not inherently evil.
Alas, atheism does not necessarily result in peace anymore than any religion has. China and the USSR are examples of atheistic nations which have great violence in its recent history.
I don't really recommend reading this essay. In modern terms, it is a 'fluff piece' with no real value.