The Taliban of atheism
In my younger and more vulnerable years I once got into a debate with a fundamentalist Christian about the morality of capital punishment. Her view was that the Bible sanctioned the death penalty, and as far as she was concerned that was the end of the matter.
What struck me most about her attitude toward the subject was her contempt for anyone who might see the question differently.
Recently I’ve gotten into several debates with some equally zealous atheists, and the sensation has been quite similar.
It’s a typical irony of life that fundamentalist atheism should have so much in common with what it most despises. It’s even more typical that its adherents are generally blind to these parallels.
Needless to say, just as most religious people aren’t fundamentalists, the same holds true for atheists. Those who are, however — what we might think of as the Taliban of atheism — often have a prominence well beyond their sheer numbers.
Like their religious counterparts, fundamentalist atheists tend to combine considerable arrogance with a level of intellectual naivete that can be charming in precocious children, but is merely annoying in adults.