No, New Atheism isn’t fundamentalist
I am sick and tired of every wannabe journalist with nothing interesting to write about making pronunciations on things they don’t really understand. Today’s annoying article comes from Rob Dreher at twincities.com, where his article entitled “You don’t have to be religious to be a fundamentalist” argues that many atheists display characteristics of religious fundamentalism.
As you’ve probably guessed, he brings up Nazis and Communism as proofs atheism can be just as deadly as religion. These tired claims have already been dealt with in some of my other articles, and the only response I have towards these accusations is this: how does a lack of belief in God lead human beings to commit atrocities? It’s fairly obvious people will kill one another if they want REGARDLESS of religious belief. Yes, humans can be savage, cruel, and even monstrous. Does anyone naively think if Stalin had been a Christian, he wouldn’t have been as cruel a despot?
I’m also tired of people claiming science and religion somehow don’t conflict. Science is a way of understanding the natural world, while religion is a way of denying physical reality in favor of mythology and wishful thinking. In the US, we’ve seen the sort of impact belief has on scientific progress; you don’t see a lot of other industrialized countries having debates over evolution.
I obviously realize for some, superstitious belief seems hardwired in our brains, but this idea is easily refuted by the fact a significant portion of the world is composed of non-believers (there are roughly 1 billion of us. Surprising, no?). Sure, when we are uneducated, we are bound to believe in primitive myths, but luckily over the centuries we’ve devised ways of understanding the natural world without the need to rely on supernatural forces. We call this technique science, and the results have so far been amazing. You live twice as long as your ancestors did because of advances in our understanding of the world. Now that we’ve grown accustomed to all the benefits of science, we take it for granted. Therefore, there will always be plenty of morons who feel their specific religion must somehow be greater (since it gives some a “purpose” in their lives), even though the only thing they seem very good at is taking people’s money and shunning, excluding, or sometimes even killing those who don’t believe in the same myths. Yeah, religion sure is awesome…
(props to superfan Paul for the find)