"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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That definition would and I posted it there because an earlier post stated a different definition and arguing against calling oneself a fundamental atheist.
I think there's a difference between "fundamental atheist" and "fundamentalist athiest." ;)
Dogma and evangelism is surely antithetical to atheism. I'm yet to meet an atheist evangelist although they may exist. Militancy in the name of atheism is also conspicuously absent and I hold as proof the lack of Fox film footage. Can you imagine violent atheist protests not running 24 - 7 with commentary by all of the usual theistic pundits and doomsayers. Fundamentals are another matter entirely. Is there not an argument to be made that rational thought a desire for evidence are fundamental to atheism. If fundamentalism is defined as an absolute belief without wavering, I suppose I count myself an atheist fundamentalist under those terms. Of course the xian fundies have hijacked that term as eloquently pointed out in previous posts.
Fundamentalist atheist is a falsehood. It simply does not and cannot exist for reasons I don't think I need to explain to anybody here. Militant, evangelical and dogmatic atheists, on the other hand, can and do exist. At times they can be problematic but they can also serve a useful function. As one person on another forum I frequent says to theists who constantly question our "right" to be there:

The last time we left you unchallenged was the Dark Ages. We're trying to avoid a repeat.

Here's to constantly challenging that which puts us all in danger.
Amen irRev. E.V.

It is time for us to join together in unity and demand equality.
In my various atheist meetups and groups that I belong to I am always frustrated that there are a good number of members that do not like to use the word atheist in communications (letter writing, letters to the editor etc) because of the "stigma" attached to the word atheist. If we are always hiding our beliefs than there can be no advancement of our rights as non believing citizens. Promoting our cause can be a simple first step such as showing our faces to the world.
My brother, who calls himself agnostic, gives me a really hard time for calling myself atheist. He says that atheism means "I KNOW that there is no God" and he says that it's close minded. But I don't think that is what atheism means. To me, it looks like it could be taken to mean "I THINK there is no god." I don't think it necessarily has to be dogmatic.

I agree. I get really frustrated too that we can't freely call ourselves atheists. We SHOULD be able to. But I choose not to announce it to too many people just to protect myself, and in a way, go "under-cover", and that can definitely serve it's purposes. If we announce it too much, we might just be shooting ourselves in the foot and because of discrimination, miss out on the influence that we could have. Sometimes, it's serves our best interest to keep it a secret. Sometimes, it is good to announce it. I think it's all about timing and discerning situations.
Cher, that's funny because I give my brother a hard time for using the term agnostic. Mostly calling him a P.C. fence rider that doesn't really love Reagan as much as he claims or he would say it and stop being so Clinton about it. (Myself being the evil Liberal hippie of the family)
Of course we have the type of relationship where I can call him a lily-livered coward that can't say a big kid word like Atheist before we each talk about how awesome we are before arguing about books or whiskey. It is a good relationship; I'm older and meaner. ;c)
Well does your brother really believe that there is no god? If so, then I would think that he is 'atheist' too! :) But my brother's rightful term is agnostic because he really doesn't have an opinion either way. As far as the fence-sitting, he would say, "I like to sit on the fence, the view is better up here." I really like that. I use that regarding my political stances.
If "fundamentalism" means that one needs to comply with a number of fundamental points, it doesn't make sense that 'atheism' could be "fundamental" since the only real requirement for atheism is a non-belief in god or gods.

However, today's atheists often DO seem to have fundamental points that stray from just the simple definition of atheism. There are atheists that seem to have a very strict code of conduct that they expect from other atheists in order to be "accepted". Somehow, unfair assumptions have permeated the atheist culture. For instance, it seems that one has to believe in Darwin's Theory of Evolution in order to be atheist. Another assumption is that atheists need to be intelligent. Another assumption is that atheists are obsessed with evidence and/or proof. Another assumption is that an atheist view has to be scientific. Atheists tend to want to 'own' the terms 'rational', 'reasonable', 'logical', etc. but this too isn't a requirement for atheism.

One thing that has bothered me is how some atheists don't allow themselves to have a viewpoint unless it's already established science. This smells of fundamentalism because science has a limited number of "points" at any given time. These people have a very difficult time having discussions that don't include evidence or facts. Although facts and evidence are great, NOT every discussion calls for it! Sometimes people are just sharing their thoughts and ideas. Atheists who can't get past this seem fundamental to me.

The "sheep" of science are those that can accept only current science. The leaders of science are not afraid to have ideas beyond current science. Einstein has said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
I don't think fundamental atheism exist, there's another word for it. Perhaps absolute atheist? They aren't as extreme as some other fundamentalist. But I think most people call them fundamentalist because they aren't concerned about accepting other points of view as possibly valid. Only their point of view is acceptable to them.

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