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A new fundamentalist strain of atheism

A new fundamentalist strain of atheism

Great essay here by W. Hunter Roberts on what she views as a new, angry, fundamentalist strain of atheism:

When did atheists become the new fundamentalists? I have known many atheists beginning with my wonderful dad, who insisted I not use the word “God” or pray at his funeral. But this new breed is different: closed-minded, entrenched, and bellicose, shouting and proselytizing their disbelief in the God of their fathers as determinedly and humorlessly as their forebears proselytized with such certainty for a definite, iron-clad system of punishments and rewards in a pie-in-the-sky afterlife. Why do these new atheists allow the Christian fundamentalists to define their reality? And why are they so angry?

Read more at Huffiington Post.


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Dennis, sometimes I like to read/discuss articles about Palestinians, w/o discussion-sidetracking “But Wot About Israel???” And sometimes I like to read/discuss articles about Israel, w/o a “But Wot About Palestinians???”


Is it not possible to read/discuss an article called “A new fundamentalist strain of atheism” just once w/o a “But Wot About Fundamentalist Christians???”

[Especially when “The Lead” runs articles about the latest obscenities of Fundamentalist Christians Almost Every Day]

JC Fisher

Personally, I feel *smothered* by anyone’s certitude—whether it’s a theist certitude, or an atheist certitude.

Marshall Scott

Theresa, there’s nothing new about the anger of a few atheist fundamentalists, nor about allowing fundamentalist and Biblicist Christians to set the agenda. Having heard Madalyn Murray O’Hare nearly 30 years ago, and seen her derisive, dismissive responses to folks who tried to engage discussion, I have found little new in Richard Dawkins.

The thing is, the proportion of – what shall we say – “counter-evangelical” atheists is perhaps like the proportion of “evangelizing,” proselytizing Christians (which makes for greater numbers of Christians). Most are determining how they want to find their way in the world without a need to “disabuse” anyone else.


Perhaps the anger comes from years of watching just how awful and smug (and even angry) Christians can act? Perhaps the anger comes from years of mistreatment in the churches of their youth or from seeing the horrid political leanings of many Christians? Anger can be a great motivator, for bad and for good. If their anger is a motivator to respond to some of the worst elements and influences of religion and religious people in our nation and society, then perhaps it falls under the category of righteous anger. Whatever the source of the anger, I am struck by how often Christians focus on this alleged anger of the new atheists as a way to avoid addressing the issues and the arguments that they raise.


Bob Manning

Thank you, Theresa Johnson, for sharing this article. I agree completely with Roberts that the New Atheists can be extremely fundamental and off-putting with their tirades. For years I used to listen to radio new book interviews with Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc., and marvel at the anger and insulting superiority. I just couldn’t grasp the ‘why’ of it. Finally, I was driven to read them all. I began with Dawkins, The God Delusion, moved onto Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and others. It was wonderful (although, I much prefer to listen to Dennett whose writing can grate on me). I still don’t understand why they are so insulting and aggressive and unyielding, which they really are not if you let them freely discuss philosophy or the absence of it at length with each other (check out youtube), but I am glad I got past it, to experience a wealth of new ideas. I think the evangelical fundamentalist and the atheist fundamentalist alike, would better serve their own causes if they would try and rationally educate rather than insult into submission their readers/listeners.

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