Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Atheist Fundamentalist is a Nonsense Term

A lot of critics of the more vocal "New Atheists" try to in cheap debating points by poisoning the well with the label "atheist fundamentalists". The strategy here isn't too sophisticated: imply that these atheists are just as closed-minded as their opponents. The problem is the two aren't remotely similar. Oh sure, there are stupid atheists, ignorant atheists, loud atheists, arrogant strident atheists and even atheists that are wrong about the big questions. But none of this supplies coherence to the term "fundamentalist atheists". It's an oxymoron. We aren't much fond of authoritarianism, tradition, dogma, or of course faith. That's a big part of what makes us atheists in the first place. We don't herd well. We don't pledge our devotion to any particular beliefs, or hold much of anything in stone. Ask three atheists for their opinions on gods and religion and you'll get four opinions. Ask them again in six months and you'll four slightly different opinions from what you got before. There's no fundamentalism in there.

So you critics of the New Atheists, dispense with the intellectual dishonesty and these erroneous terms like "fundamentalist atheist". It only reveals your gross ignorance of how atheists think, or your dishonesty in dealing with it.

10 comments:

GeorgeG said...

I decided to Google on "I'm a fundamentalist atheist" to see what I'd find.

I got lots of hits, most of which were said sarcastically or rhetorically, but it appeared that a few said it plainly.

Anonymous said...

Yes I got lots of hints, most of which were said sarcastically or rhetorically, but it appeared that a few said it plainly.

Send flowers to Karachi

Miss Mixie said...

It seems to me that lack of faith/belief (whatever you want to call it) doesn't need to be qualified in such a way. If you're an atheist, (as I am,) you don't believe in the existence of the divine in any form. Period. That's really all there is to it, no? One can definitely have different reasons for being an atheist or different arguments for atheism, but the idea of "fundamentalist" atheism vs. any other kind is a bit silly, in my opinion.

I guess what I'm saying is that there is atheism, which is an extreme view, and also faith, which is likewise extreme, and any slight deviation from either of the two falls into the land of agnosticism.

cyrus said...

Fundamentalist atheist, a crappy term for an atheist.
I don't have to elaborate on my opinion but this post was a great one. relevant enough. :) keep up.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer

Phil said...

Though "atheism" is supposed to be a term that simply disavows something & doesn't avow anything else - it typically does avow things like rational-thought-only (closing off the other parts of your mind, anyone?), religion is inherently bad for you, etc. There certainly is an unofficial atheist dogma & rhetoric. Even the term you used, "intellectual dishonesty," is part of it. Most my friends are atheists (I used to be but I simply dropped the "a-" as I grew up) and I've read enough writings by atheists that there is definitely a stream of thought that goes beyond an unbelief of one thing into a "therefore we have THIS opposing set of beliefs." That's fine, that's how belief-systems (or non-belief systems?) work. Not saying that calling them "fundamentalists" makes sense - but atheists have their groups and whatnot, saying they don't fit in a herd isn't true - it's just a different herd. We're all people and all want our little groups, after all. In the 21st century I think you'll find atheism is getting more and more popular...and what's more herdlike than popularity?

Sorry to be a dick, but I was reading something yesterday that made me think about this topic, then I happened to come across your blog. :)

Increase Height said...

Great articles nice postings I really appreciate on your hard workings. Well!! Keep going on and try more best as you can really impressive post that you have been done here…

Increase Height said...

Your blog is great. Your thoughts are also very good and i am very inspired from your post. That is why I visit this blog again and again and will come back in future too. Thanks

Rainbow Girl said...

'New Atheist'. I thought the Bible says not to judge others? I don't understand religious people.

pocket sliding door said...

Invisible all-powerful being who feels the need to punish homosexuals or some poor country. And how was that possible? To say that he is all loving, merciful and stuffs?
I really enjoyed the contents on your blog, thanks.

pocket sliding door

Infotainment Lounge said...

Thanks a lot. Hello people want to express my satisfaction with this blog very creative and I really like the views of the focus very good indeed Thank you for the helpful information. I hope you keep up the good work on making your blog a success!