"You fundamentalist/militant/dogmatic/evangelical/[insert projected pejorative adjective here] atheists are just as bad as those you stand against."

Imagine how much I love reading that. Not so much from the religious; I expect it from them. No, I regularly hear/read this from other non-religious people, which disappoints me, to put it mildly.

So, what to people think?

Is there some merit to this accusation?
Do we need to take it to heart?
Or is it simply nonsense?

Here is Richard Dawkins response:

"do not mistake passion, which can change its mind, for fundamentalism, which never will. Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may “believe”, in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will."

Read the rest of the piece here.

Tags: atheism, fundamentalism

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Define aggression.

You're playing their game for them. I love how people seem to apply these terms very asymmetrically. It seems that the threshold for being branded 'aggressive' is very low when it comes to criticising religion. Read the Dawkins piece I linked to: people criticise other aspects of society with far more vitriol without being branded aggressive fundamentalists.

Plus if we're to apply terms like 'aggressive' fairly, then there are an awful lot of aggressive christians out there.

Whatever we do, the christians will claim that they're being victimised. It's what they're best at, and there is no escaping it.
Yeah, but, as members of a martyr-cult they like being victimized...
Or you completely misunderstood what I meant with being fundamentally aggressive. I mean things like knocking at people's doors, using the game Christians and other religious do to promote their religion. Ie, shoving down our view down peoples' throats.

To aggressively spread information is not the same thing if it's only information we spread: which means that we actively link to this site, tell our friends and family about it, write blogs that can be read by anyone etc.

I would say Anon is aggressive in the ways they promote themselves. I am not saying we must go out and demonstrate on the streets, but on a level a little lower than that.
Well I apologise if you didn't mean it like that, but atheists are frequently branded aggressive simply for making any kind of critical comments about religion. Which is what I was getting at when I started this thread.

If there are genuinely any people going door-to-door shoving atheism down people's throats then it's news to me. I smell straw.
I have heard about it, there is actually some site somewhere with some kind of SERIOUS fundamental atheist movement who demonstrate, print t-shirts etc...

However, the rest of it is sadly bollocks. Of course, which was mentioned before, they just play the Christians' games, making them look more victimized which is not something we wish to aim for.
Christians will create a we vs. them mentality even if no one attacks them.
It is not only part of the whole martyrdom cult thing, but is also an effective means to promote social cohesion within their group.
I'm all for radical activism in atheism- I think it's about time- and the right time- for atheists to stand up and tell religions to ******** . Too long have religions played the 'respect' card without respecting any others' views - often including sects of their own religions! Too long have religions pushed their agenda forward without thinking of the effect on anyone else. I say be radical, be vocal, be active and above all, do not be 'polite' - polite did not get women the vote and did not free South Africa from Apartheid.
I agree that there needs to be some sort of assertiveness in atheism. Although, like LeaT said, there is no need to go knocking on doors. But people shouldn't just sit around twiddling thumbs, either. There are so many people out there who have no idea that there are so many other free-thinkers out there. Without the activism of some people, those lonely pups wouldn't realise they are not alone. I can easily thank authors/philosophers like Russell and Dennet that I feel comfortable (mostly) stated my world views when asked.
Dawkins had it right. Atheism is the lack of belief, and much of us want to spread intelligence, skepticism, and sanity--if anything needs a passionate and militant support base, it's those three things.
It appears that religion would be the opposite of all those things ... which makes me more adamant about atheism because I hold intelligence, skepticism and sanity to such high regard and I think all people should be supporters of those things. Sadly...they're not.
One of the problems that I have noticed is that any whiff of atheism gets branded as extreme. The problem is that we have these crazy nuthouse fundamentalists on one side, liberal xtians in the middle, and then some really nice like Dawkins on the other side. It appears that the "average" is liberal xtian. Dawkins is considered extreme.

We need a variety of positions in our community simply to grant legitimacy to the movement as a whole.

I've heard of chapters of the Secular Student Alliance getting harassed, having their fliers torn down and defaced, and generally discriminated against. The chapter of the SSA that I started at my University didn't. Why? Because I also started a group known as The Atheist Agenda which WAS aggressive and offensive in every way imaginable. Atheist Agenda drew a lot of people in, and many left for the more moderate SSA. Most importantly, The Atheist Agenda legitimized the SSA in the eyes of the university community.

I think this is exactly the problem that Andrew sees. A polite, rational atheist is seen as militant simply because there are only a few people to point to and say "No, THATis militant."
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