The Atheist Fundamentalists

My fiancé and I have had an ongoing discussion about how closely some of the modern anti-religion atheist writers seem a lot like faith based fundamentalist themselves. She recently showed me an article published recently in the Guardian. The article, titled: “The Atheist Delusion” (a take-off on Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion) is a very in depth look at how these modern writers error. First the author shows how and why these atheists have picked up the traits of religious fundamentalists. He writes:

The urgency with which they produce their anti-religious polemics suggests that a change has occurred as significant as the rise of terrorism: the tide of secularisation has turned. These writers come from a generation schooled to think of religion as a throwback to an earlier stage of human development, which is bound to dwindle away as knowledge continues to increase. In the 19th century, when the scientific and industrial revolutions were changing society very quickly, this may not have been an unreasonable assumption. Dawkins, Hitchens and the rest may still believe that, over the long run, the advance of science will drive religion to the margins of human life, but this is now an article of faith rather than a theory based on evidence.

The author goes on to show how atheism has played roles in Nazism and totalitarian communist states. These writers are blind to what religion brings humanity that science cannot. The author writes:

Yet Dawkins seems convinced that if it were not inculcated in schools and families, religion would die out. This is a view that has more in common with a certain type of fundamentalist theology than with Darwinian theory, and I cannot help being reminded of the evangelical Christian who assured me that children reared in a chaste environment would grow up without illicit sexual impulses.

The author also states:

Religions have served many purposes, but at bottom they answer to a need for meaning that is met by myth rather than explanation.

Through my own experience, there is not a doubt in my mind that religion is the most important element of human existence, and precisely for that reason, the most dangerous.


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4 Responses to “The Atheist Fundamentalists”

  1. k3vin Says:

    “These writers are blind to what religion brings humanity that science cannot.”

    Maybe I’m blind to that too.. because I can not think of anything that can’t be done through secular means that can be done through religious means. Can you enlighten me?

  2. shankarwolf Says:

    k3vin, what about a sense of belonging, a meaning beyond the rational, a reason for existence, an explanation for consciousness

  3. Evolouie Says:

    shankarwolf said:
    “what about a sense of belonging”
    A belonging to what?

    “a meaning beyond the rational”
    What kind of meaning would it have if it were not rational?

    “a reason for existence”
    Here you ask for something you wanted to move beyond in the previous question.

    “an explanation for consciousness”
    Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum

    Look it up.

  4. Eric Kirk Says:

    There are some good resources on this, and somebody, I can’t think who, debated Chris Hitchens (an atheist fundamentalist if there ever was one). It might have been Regis Debray.

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