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Atheist fundamentalism?

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Atheist fundamentalism?
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Blog of ReasonHelperUser avatarPosts: 240Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:28 pmLocation: League of Reason

Post Atheist fundamentalism?

Discussion thread for the blog entry "Atheist fundamentalism?" by Squawk.

Permalink: http://blog.theleagueofreason.co.uk/reason/atheist-fundamentalism/
Fri May 14, 2010 10:11 pm
5810SingerPosts: 982Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Well said Squawk.
Fri May 14, 2010 10:17 pm
DemojenPosts: 614Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:34 am

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Huzzah!

I'm reluctant to call it fundamentalism in any sense of the word, to do what these psychos are doing.
It is fundamentally fucked, but it's not fundamentally atheist.

"Atheist Fundamentalism" didn't start with coughlan or pat, that's for sure. I'm of the opinion calling an individual a fundamentalist and labelling his or her behaviour as a product of his or her lack of beliefs fundamentally flawed.

Would be sort of like calling someone peaceful because they're christian.
B might follow A, but that doesn't make A responsible for B.

Now I'm becoming increasingly bombarded with newage terminology coined by memes that might be suggesting a paradigm shift in society and how we are accepting the usage of words. Perhaps its something worth mentioning to Noam Chomsky, this..."Atheist Fundamentalism", as it relates to a series of made up terms being accepted on the face, that in being accepted is changing the meaning of its constituent parts..

Or maybe I'm thinking too critically.
Nunc ergo vos
"I think therefore you are"
Fri May 14, 2010 10:44 pm
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Militant atheism.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Fri May 14, 2010 10:47 pm
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5810SingerPosts: 982Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

How about "numptyism"?
Fri May 14, 2010 10:53 pm
SquawkModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2011Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:25 pm Gender: Tree

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

I don't for a moment mean to suggest that atheism is the cause of this behaviour. I don't think atheism has anything to do with it, other than serving as the aspect of the worldview that is binding these people together. However, you have a group of people acting together in a manner that I would describe as fundamentalist in nature, and the only thing binding them together is atheism.

It's almost a standard to rally around. Think of it in the same way as Stalin. Atheism did not inform his actions, but atheism was a part of his worldview. It's the same with these people. Atheism does not inform their actions, bigotry and intolerance does. Atheism just unites.
Pope Rat: "Exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

Squawk response: "O Rly?"
Fri May 14, 2010 10:55 pm
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

And now they are forming another 'league of the militant godless', very Stalin-esque.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Fri May 14, 2010 11:02 pm
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BaranduinPosts: 260Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:17 pm

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

I agree with pretty much everything. I've met many of them over the years; they were one of the reasons that kept me from identifying myself like "an atheist" for a long time, and indeed I stopped debating precisely because I ended defending the other side too often for my taste. So I can't help but wonder how many people, rational thinkers and allies, are we losing because they fear not only the stigma that could be associated with atheism, but also the stigma of being associated with them.

We are human beings after all. The same circuitry working for believers to trust their spiritual leaders can be working for us to trust other kind of leaders, or accept tenets, or proselytize. The difference is the way we choose whom to trust (and when), accept new ideas and challenge the old ones... and as for conversions, I'm a skeptic first and therefore an atheist, so I certainly don't want such people claiming to fight on my side :)

In short: good post :)

PS. I think that "Atheist Fundamentalism" is easily understood, describes perfectly their positions, and already has a wide usage. "Militant Atheist" may also include the most active and vocal defenders of atheism AND rational thinking, doesn't it?
Fri May 14, 2010 11:04 pm
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Baranduin wrote:PS. I think that "Atheist Fundamentalism" is easily understood, describes perfectly their positions, and already has a wide usage. "Militant Atheist" may also include the most active and vocal defenders of atheism AND rational thinking, doesn't it?
I agree with you in the sense of common usage but I'm objecting to that type of usage. Militant atheist should be someone who threatens and occasionally uses force to alter others behaviour. That seems to describe these atheists who are threatening to kill the YouTube user. Fundamentalism refers to a strict adherence to a particular set of principles (often found in an ancient text). Atheism does not have any principles (nor a book to follow) so cannot be fundamentalist. The active and vocal proponents of atheism and rationality (if you insist on religious terminology) I would call evangelical atheists.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Fri May 14, 2010 11:35 pm
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BaranduinPosts: 260Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:17 pm

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Aught3 wrote:I agree with you in the sense of common usage but I'm objecting to that type of usage. Militant atheist should be someone who threatens and occasionally uses force to alter others behaviour. That seems to describe these atheists who are threatening to kill the YouTube user. Fundamentalism refers to a strict adherence to a particular set of principles (often found in an ancient text). Atheism does not have any principles (nor a book to follow) so cannot be fundamentalist. The active and vocal proponents of atheism and rationality (if you insist on religious terminology) I would call evangelical atheists.
Agreed, but whenever I see "militant atheist" I think in something like this. It's a (derogatory) term that already has a meaning - something like outspoken atheist - for some people. A meaning that includes a lot of atheists/rational thinkers/evolutionists/whatever. Well, ok, we can hijack the term.

Indeed, I think that "evangelical atheist" fits pretty well as a descriptor of these very persons: if you don't "convert" to "their" idea of atheism - an idea that only they seem to share; no book needed -, you receive a menace. The difference is that evangelicals threaten you with Hell, while atheists can't do that without sounding extremely ridiculous. Hmmm, yeah, I'm certainly liking that expression. May I borrow it? :)
Sat May 15, 2010 12:29 am
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Baranduin wrote:Agreed, but whenever I see "militant atheist" I think in something like this. It's a (derogatory) term that already has a meaning - something like outspoken atheist - for some people. A meaning that includes a lot of atheists/rational thinkers/evolutionists/whatever. Well, ok, we can hijack the term.

Indeed, I think that "evangelical atheist" fits pretty well as a descriptor of these very persons: if you don't "convert" to "their" idea of atheism - an idea that only they seem to share; no book needed -, you receive a menace. The difference is that evangelicals threaten you with Hell, while atheists can't do that without sounding extremely ridiculous. Hmmm, yeah, I'm certainly liking that expression. May I borrow it? :)
By all means, it's not mine I got it from Dan Barker. When I see the phrase 'militant atheist' I think of the Soviet group whose aim was to eliminate the church and all references to God from the Soviet Union, they often resorted to threats and violence to try and achieve this goal.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Sat May 15, 2010 12:55 am
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CaseUser avatarPosts: 1080Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:40 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

I agree with the general tenet of your post, might post a video about it, too. It's sad so many people prefer categories over complex systems, stereotypes over balanced evaluation and disrespect over respect.

Squawk wrote:When/if fundamentalist behaviour emerges from that group I feel it is correct to call it atheist fundamentalism.

I disagree. First of all, there is no message about atheism that tells anyone what to do which would constitute a fundament to be fundamental about.
Their behavior is extremist, not fundamentalist.

Teach rationality, teach critical thinking, teach tolerance.

Right, and all that's left is for everyone who holds these in high regard to become a role model.
I am determined that my children shall be brought up in their father's religion, if they can find out what it is.
Charles Lamb (1775 - 1834)

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
Sat May 15, 2010 12:55 am
5810SingerPosts: 982Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Maybe I'm being overly simplistic, but why can't we call these people what they really are?

They're arseholes...

It really doesn't matter what other label you put on them, in fact it might only serve to take the focus off their arsehole-ishness, and ultimately it's arsehole-ishness that's the real problem.

I realise I sound flippant, but the point is really quite serious,......would bigotry, fundamentalism, extremism, terrorism, etc, exist in the first place if there were no arseholes?

I think arsehole is a very democratic word,...ecumenical,...all-inclusive,...atheist or theist, conservative or liberal, we can all be arseholes.
Sat May 15, 2010 1:26 am
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Well done post, Squawk. :)

Arseness mentioned above notwithstanding, I rather like the term 'Athiest fundamentalism'. Christian Fundamentalists are literalists and don't question their beliefs. There is a thoughtless kind of atheism characterised by lack of critical thinking and questioning, and you could call it a kind of literalism. 'Militant' is a different kind of meaning.
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Sat May 15, 2010 4:46 am
popovichUser avatarPosts: 6Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 7:12 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

I'd simply identify those people for what they are: fanboys.
People in general, have a tendency to "like the man, rather than idea".
It's understandable, because we are social beings, and we feel the need to
attribute a face to certain ideas, to make them more personal.
It also allows us to remember the person who originated the idea and
realized it into action. It gives us the chance to remember and respect the person.
But, like in all other instances, there is an extreme side to it: fanboys.
And I would also like to add, that fanboys have always existed, but in modern age,
where young people are less and less taught to respect others and to think critically,
but selfishly, they feel the need to aggressively defend their ideas because
they are not psychologically capable of taking other points of view into account.
Those people zealously grow an attachment to a person and defend it no
matter what. They fail to realize that we all make mistakes and that we all have flaws.
Instead of striving to cast out bad ideas and bad elements, they cast out the
messenger, so to speak, who points out the flaws and errors.
And we should treat them as such.
Simply said, muppets, without personal identity of their own.
Those persons are incapable of being extremists or fundamentalists on their own,
they are as extreme as their role models are. All it takes is for their role model to
recognize his/hers mistake, and to admit it publicly. And the fanboys will submit.
That's all.
Sat May 15, 2010 7:34 am
SquawkModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2011Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:25 pm Gender: Tree

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

popovich wrote:Those persons are incapable of being extremists or fundamentalists on their own,
they are as extreme as their role models are.


Personally I'd argue they are more extreme by far, but I agree entirely with your deductions.
Pope Rat: "Exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

Squawk response: "O Rly?"
Sat May 15, 2010 8:50 am
5810SingerPosts: 982Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

popovich wrote:I'd simply identify those people for what they are: fanboys.
People in general, have a tendency to "like the man, rather than idea".
It's understandable, because we are social beings, and we feel the need to
attribute a face to certain ideas, to make them more personal.
It also allows us to remember the person who originated the idea and
realized it into action. It gives us the chance to remember and respect the person.
But, like in all other instances, there is an extreme side to it: fanboys.
And I would also like to add, that fanboys have always existed, but in modern age,
where young people are less and less taught to respect others and to think critically,
but selfishly, they feel the need to aggressively defend their ideas because
they are not psychologically capable of taking other points of view into account.
Those people zealously grow an attachment to a person and defend it no
matter what. They fail to realize that we all make mistakes and that we all have flaws.
Instead of striving to cast out bad ideas and bad elements, they cast out the
messenger, so to speak, who points out the flaws and errors.
And we should treat them as such.
Simply said, muppets, without personal identity of their own.
Those persons are incapable of being extremists or fundamentalists on their own,
they are as extreme as their role models are. All it takes is for their role model to
recognize his/hers mistake, and to admit it publicly. And the fanboys will submit.
That's all.
Whilst I agree with what you say, I'm sure you'll concede that what you just wrote took a lot longer than: "They're arseholes..."

But ultimately "arseholes" is what you've described, wether you used the word or not.
Sat May 15, 2010 8:53 am
CaseUser avatarPosts: 1080Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:40 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

Andiferous wrote:I rather like the term 'Athiest fundamentalism'.

Main Entry: fun,·da,·men,·tal,·ism
Pronunciation: \-tə-ˌli-zəm\
Function: noun
Date: 1922

1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence to such beliefs
2 : a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles <Islamic fundamentalism> <political fundamentalism> (Merriam-Webster)

It's not fundamentalism, as there are no basic principles to atheism in the sense of maxims.

popovich wrote:All it takes is for their role model to recognize his/hers mistake, and to admit it publicly. And the fanboys will submit. That's all.

Not quite, group dynamics are more intricate than that. The flock will disperse into subgroups, some will abandon the 'movement', some will try to keep what they think the idea to be going, others may further radicalize it. Which is pretty much the same thing that happens to any existing group formed on an idea rather than survival/necessity.
I am determined that my children shall be brought up in their father's religion, if they can find out what it is.
Charles Lamb (1775 - 1834)

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
Sat May 15, 2010 10:32 am
borrofburiModeratorPosts: 3527Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

radical extremist atheists? No... I think I might have to agree with Singer: connecting their asshole behavior to the word "atheist" does not really have any justification: they're jerks, they're not necessarily jerks because they're atheists, they're just jerks.
Sat May 15, 2010 3:27 pm
SquawkModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2011Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:25 pm Gender: Tree

Post Re: Atheist fundamentalism?

I don't think there radicality (is that a word?) has anything to do with their atheism, but they are a group of people whose only uniting feature is atheism. Well, that and the fact they are moronic.
Pope Rat: "Exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

Squawk response: "O Rly?"
Sat May 15, 2010 5:40 pm
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