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15 July 2007 @ 09:04 am
The fundamentalist atheist?  
I get along fine with the majority of atheists I encounter. I feel no need to push religion on the unwilling. But I read the statements of a few and am baffled by their apparent intolerance of people like me. This is an interesting blog post about Richard Dawkins and fundamentalist atheism that I found interesting.

One of the few things that does set my teeth on edge, besides being told the world would be a better place without religion, is when an atheist makes a very simplistic statement about belief in God or religion in general that seems to stem solely from a view of Christianity, ignoring the many other views of Deity from impersonal Brahman to the Buddhist complete lack of a personal god or goddess. Lumping us all together really bugs me. I know there are a variety of atheists in the world--is it too much to ask that they also acknowledge that there are a variety of spiritual beliefs and believers in the world too?
labrys6 on July 15th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
I frankly don't understand what seems to be a madness to make everyone one meets agree with your own beliefs...atheist or theistic. To me, those attacking so vociferously from either side of that line tell more about themselves than they may intend: it betrays a insecurity of their own. It seems to me the only excuse for such attacks....on radio, television, books and yes, message boards, can only stem from an almost pathological need to have private beliefs validated by converting others, or worse...and not 'almost' but surely pathological---a need to CONTROL the beliefs of others. Perhaps I am a wuss of some kind---I see no reason to impress my own spiritual struggles and beliefs upon others. For one thing...only a fool would claim such certainty of rightness. But that is a whole blog post....and I won't clutter yours with that!
Tapatitapati on July 15th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, by all means, feel free! I am happy to have your views published here!

I used to be a fundie type--when I was a Hare Krsna--and we were fueled by the notion we had to save people from hell. I am not sure what atheist fundies are saving us from--the intellectual ghetto?
labrys6 on July 15th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
An intellectual ghetto? Wow, what a phrase, lol. I have to go away and build that concept in my mind for a bit. Actually, I have been trying to work out an essay on that whole hard core Pascal's Wager sort of reasoning I see a lot of lately....since I think it is a noxious and DANGEROUS wager to take. And the talk about the venomous arguments revolving around religious choices keeps it on my hot mental front burner lately. Alas....lots of other things sharing the fire...
squirrelboilersquirrelboiler on July 16th, 2007 07:27 am (UTC)
No a fundie, just bog-standard atheist
I wouldn't try to save anyone from anything but something hurtful I could prevent. Intellectually, that comes down to a purely subjective idea and I have no remit to mess with other people's ideas.

However, if the ideas are dangerous , ala ' condoms don't stop H.I.V." , "Drink this Kool-Ade laced with Strychnine", " The death of your child is of no consequence, they will live again" and so forth, I start to get a bit itchy in the face.

Look around the world at how many atrocities are being committed in the name of 'religion'. Look at how much information is being stopped or suppressed.

I think Theocracies are inherently bad - that is, they lend themselves to the manipulation of some person or idea that cannot be touched because of the word 'religion'. ( and yes, I feel the same way about dictatorships etc.). Indeed, I see little difference.

'Religion' is an idea. It is (to me) a purely subjective idea. I find the notion of having someone elses subjective ideas of what is right and wrong, beautiful or ugly , or the general regimentation of my being to be repugnant. Thing is , these things are done all the time. It's just that 'atheist' always goes with 'religion' and 'religion' is a prime mover in human affairs hence 'atheists' make good targets.

If someone were to say, " I happened to like this painting, but it's cool if you don't", I hardly think people would get their knickers in a twist about it, yet whole books are written about 'Art Appreciation'.

Illgrace - who believes in the right to believe, unless someone is made to suffer for it.
Tapatitapati on July 16th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
Re: No a fundie, just bog-standard atheist
No a fundie, just bog-standard atheist

I never imagined you were, LOL, I know you better than that!

I would say that political fundamentalism has caused as much harm as the religious variety in world affairs. The thing is, people who want to disregard the well being of others will do so regardless of the rationale or belief system they have available to use as a shield. If not religion, then something else.

And I refuse to give up religion just because others misuse it, just as there are many tools we have that are misused by others. :)
bitterjesusbitterjesus on July 16th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
Re: No a fundie, just bog-standard atheist
The difference between political and religious fundamentalism is that people of a religious bent have the capacity and tendency to turn to some mythic divine entity or force that theoretically has a higher moral authority than any mere mortal. Which is not to say that people won't confer a higher authority on people (or ideals), but a religious framework relies on such authority inherently. As a result, people who can be convinced of the validity of that authority become willing pawns of the people who declare themselves its agents, hence the power of televangelists, the Vatican, etc.
bitterjesusbitterjesus on July 16th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
I suspect that Dawkins, having carried the flag of intellectual atheism for so long, and having been so thoroughly reviled for it, has made a conscious decision to stake out the extreme end of anti-religious atheism. I see his potential reasons as being to create some breathing room by allowing other atheists to appear less extreme or simply being fed up, in his old age, with having to appease the vocal minority of the religious majority.

In general, I think most atheists declare themselves as atheists in response to the extremes of religion, which, in the West, is most often Christianity. Most atheists don't study religion, in the same way that most vegetarians don't cultivate an appreciation of meat, except to criticize the harmful behavior that surrounds it. I can agree that it constitutes a degree of intellectual laziness, but it's one that seems to pervade the human experience: few people make the effort to truly understand and empathize with people they view as the opposition. If more people did make that effort, of any persuasion, the world would be a more peaceful place.
3treekisser3treekisser on July 18th, 2007 09:28 am (UTC)
+++Most atheists don't study religion, in the same way that most vegetarians don't cultivate an appreciation of meat+++

I think that's an excellent analogy. Mind if I store it for future use?
bitterjesusbitterjesus on July 18th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
Sure, go nuts. :)