"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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I think this is called 'moving the Overton window'.

I don't know if this is a deliberate strategy by Dawkins et al., but it seems to be working.

I love what you did with the Atheist Agenda/SSA chapter......brilliant
Well, maybe we should all go and knocking at people's doors then so we will move the border of what is accepted behavior from an atheist ;)

Well, tbh, I have a little troubles understanding what you mean because I have never myself experienced of what you tell of. Oh the joy not living in the US :)
Someone once called me a zealot because of my strong atheism. I took it as a compliment. Having logic and rational thinking and defending it...one can call me anything they want. I am very content to be free of religion.
I've been called various things..... militant, aggressive, offensive, even intolerant (this last from someone who had previously remarked that they didn't like seeing gay men kiss in public)...... just for saying that religion is, basically, a load of old rubbish.

I just laugh it off when it comes from the religious. It does irk me a little when it comes from other non-religious folks, especially the self-styled 'agnostics' who evidently don't understand the words 'atheist' and 'agnostic'!

Religion has ring-fenced itself off from criticism. You know it's succeeded when it doesn't need to defend itself from criticism because it can rely on 'moderate' non-believers to do the work for it!
I am certainly very happy to label myself 'Anti-Theist Atheist' - but 'Fundamental Atheist'? Doesn't work as there is no such thing.
I don't see anything wrong with being an Anti-theist Atheist. I can't honestly say I could 100% respect someone who believes in gods. That's like oil and water to me. You can be as book smart as you want but then they can't even let go a belief in a pretend being? I just DON'T get it!!!
I've always referred to myself as an agnostic atheist.

They're going to cry they're persecuted no matter what we do, so we may as well be aggressive.
According to Christians, the simple act of not agreeing with them is attacking them.
Especially if you somehow prevent them from forcing their beliefs down the throats of other people's children.
Aren't persecution complexes fun?
"Especially if you somehow prevent them from forcing their beliefs down the throats of other people's children."


That's the worst of all!
Being anti-theist doesn't necessarily imply you're against theists themselves, just that you're against them being theistic. ;) It's opposition to the position, not the people holding it.
I didn't mean to imply I thought you were. I was just responding to the first line in your post.
In my opinion it's completely illogical to think a disbelief in a god can be damaging no matter how strong that disbelief is.

If you have a belief (or a disbelief) AND dogmatic, forceful tendencies then it could in some circumstances be damaging but even then atheism would fall near the bottom of dangerous stances.

Then again I hold the firm belief that peoples beliefs should be challenged including my own.

Shame it seems not too many others do.
At 2:12am on 12th July 2008, Patrick Altena said…
I can see what irritates you in some of the things you read here, but I don't agree with you if you combine the words 'fundamentalism' and 'atheïsm' to label atheïsts which behave aggresive and irrational. Many of them are obsessed with the believers and feel some need to insult and hurt them. For some of them, this might be understandable. When you suffer from the consequences of being brought up in a severe religious family it might be the only way to free your mind of long years of violent brainwashing.

But a constructive atheistic discourse should, in my opinion, do something different from name calling. It should show, again and again, why it makes no sense at all to believe that there is something or somebody speaking to us from beyond the limits of time and space and telling us what to do in order to gain happiness in this or another life. This is not an easy message. This is by no means an easy message, because, let's face it: acompared to religious beliefs atheism has not much to offer: no eternal happiness, no certainties that the good will prevail at the end, no escape from the consequence of disease, natural disasters and what have you. Only the truth...and although I am quite sure that this truth makes us free, I am in no way convinced that it also makes us happy. Being an atheist therefor means nothing else than facing the uncomfortable truth about 'the human condition'. There is absolutely nothing outside ourselves that can save us from ourselves. If anything can, it's only you, me and everybody else that can save him or herself.
Now the difference between this line of thought and that of any line of thought in which room is left for the existence of something or somebody transcending the laws of nature, somebody or something not created by the human brain, but the creator of that very brain, is obvious: the first line of thought is rational and in line with the body of knowledge we call science, the second is not. And I challenge everybody who thinks otherwise, to show me where I am mistaken. And it won't suffice just to say that I hold an opinion, which is nothing more than just an opinion. I hold an opinion which is supported by an asthonishing amount of evidence. Another matter is, whether or not I am prepared to use some form of intellectual or corperal violence to silence other opinions. I most certainly will not because I strongly feel that the world is a much better place to live in when people are free to believe whatever they want: they have the perfect right to believe that there exists a God, magical healers, that studying the stars and the planets learns you something about your own destiny, that it is strictly forbidden to eat pigs, or cows, or beans or that it is absolutely necessary to now where the city of Mekka lies, in order to do some odd gymnastics with your face in the direction of that particular town. I only believe that I can show some evidence that all this people are making a mistake when they think that the motivations for their actions have something to do with reality as we now it.

So, the people which made airplanes flying into buildings are neither in heaven nor in hell at the moment, because there are no places like hell or heaven. People who think otherwise, are simply mistaken. Science leave no room for souls that exists separate from our bodies and brains, and as a consequence, it leaves no room for places of eternal punishment or reward.

Atheïsm, in my view, does not necessarily make people better or worse, nor does it make people less or more happy. It is just true, and it is this truth we have to deal with, whether we like it or not. Delete Comment

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