Tuesday, November 14, 2006

fundementalist atheism

From an article in Wired Magazine on New Atheism, the radical form of atheism espoused by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett:
"The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it's evil..."
"My Pilgrimage is about to become more difficult. On the one hand, it is obvious that the political prospects of the New Atheism are slight. People see a contradiction in its tone of certainty. Contemptuous of the faith of others, its proponents never doubt their own belief. They are fundamentalists. I hear this protest dozens of times. It comes up in every conversation. Even those who might side with the New Atheists are repelled by their strident tone…The New Atheists never propose realistic solutions to the damage religion can cause…The New Atheists care mainly about correct belief. This makes them hopeless, politically."
(I'm less interested in the critique of atheism than with the critique of fundementalism, which is definitely something those of us in the religious community should bear in mind.)


  1. I'm not sure what people mean when they refer to a "fundamental atheist." A fundamentalist is primarily someone who is religious.

    FUNDAMENTLAISM "a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming."

    To call someone a fundamental atheist seems like a contradiction in terms.

    What is fundamental about not having a god belief?

  2. Your definition, Beepbeep, is limited to Christian fundamentalism. As it is worded, it would exclude any other form, including Islamic. So it is, I'm sorry to say, an inadequate definition due to its too limited contextualization.

    Furthermore, to sound pedantic,(hey, I have the credentials for that ;-)) one of the forms of concept development is to stipulate a particular meaning for the term employed. Thus one can employ the term "fundamentalism" in a new context, including that of atheism.