It has been suggested in discussions, both here and elsewhere, that there are "atheist fanatics" and that they are "just the same" as religious fanatics.  Personally, I find this assertion ludicrous and loathsome.  To me, it is simply a new formulation of the "fundamentalist atheist" canard--it is just a way of trying to get vocal atheists to shut up by bringing social pressure to bear.  It is just another way of calling us "intolerant" for daring to think they are wrong.  I think this is the first step to forcing us all to either embrace religious belief again or go back in the closet and pretend to embrace religious belief. 

 

So the question for discussion is whether atheistic fanaticism really exists and, if it does, whether or not it is comparable to religious fanaticism.

 

As I think I have made clear, I do not think that atheistic fanaticism really exists.  I think it is just a label put on those atheists who dare to state that they are right and the religious are wrong as a matter of fact.  The religious can say this without a label being attached to them; we cannot.

 

I think it is also clear that even the most extreme atheists do not even remotely come close to the fanaticism of the religious.

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Without knowing more about the specific factors involved in those killings I can't say you're right.  While there is clearly an element of atheism presented by the facts, we don't know how the victims were selected or the complete motives of the killers.  One of the reasons I am hesitant to jump to the same conclusion you did is that those events were preceded by centuries of persecution of atheists by the religious.  Thus, I would like to know, at a minimum, the extent to which self-defense or retribution were motives and the extent to which the victims were chosen for their own intolerance toward atheists and opposition to the new regime.
I would have to agree with you for the most part there. I think that some people express their opinions in the extreme as a foil to an assertion or statement and such vociferousness can be mistaken for fanaticism. Sometimes when faced with strong opposition (from whatever quarter) it is hard not to bite back hard when you have such strong conviction. As I said in another post earlier this evening, it can sometimes be a question of finding some balance and be even-handed in open debate

I think there are two forces of thought at play here. 1> Not to be referred to as "fanatics" is to comfortably and smugly know that science and logic are on our side. And, when the religious try to brand us, as to identify and marginalize us, we can smile, shake our heads and be quiet. 2> But if we embrace the term "fanatics", and in doing so, 'fess up to who we are, we make it clear that humbly living in a world, dominated by the insane, makes US even MORE insane. When the rapture doesn't come, and lions don't lie down with lambs, the religious fanatics will lose what is left of their beliefs and do what all prisoners do when security breaks down, they riot and kill. They will have not themselves in whom to believe. There is nothing more scary than a Southern Baptist who finds out that he is wrong.

 

We know!! They don't. We'll survive!! They won't.

 

If Atheist fanaticism does not exist, then we need to make it so. 

Yeah, I have to agree with that. Damn', there are some smart people on this site. Some truly intelligent commentary
To add to my earlier comments I'd like to say that, YES, sometimes I do feel fanatical about Atheism. This is usually when faced with someone who is fanatically shoving god in my face. Then I just want to explode with rage and tell them what to do with their church. I don't of course because I'm a rational person and to lose my temper is just a waste of energy. Somedays though................just somedays..............even rational people can lose their rag
I think the answer to this one is a 50/50 thing for me. I don't go around preaching atheism to everyone I meet but if the subject comes up I open my mouth and speak my views. I know some atheists that just bring this crap up to anyone at the drop of a hat like it's a topic that consumes there lives. If you can't make it through the day without bringing it up, you may be a little fanatical. Don't convert everyone you meet. If they don't preach to me I don't preach to them.

I think atheist fanatics ... if they are exist, Then perhaps fanaticism is a part of their nature! just like racism..

or perhaps some of them grew up in a society that a dopts fascist ideas. or racist society.

If they are exist, then this is sad indeed.

Anyway atheists are not the same for sure.

Most of the atheists I've met are chill and just don't care.  But I suppose there are some out there that are pretty crazy.  Maybe not as crazy as some of the religious people, but crazy none-the-less.

Lots of things are theoretically possible, but I don't see any evidence to support the hypothesis that "there are fanatics on both sides".  In fact, what I see is a disturbing lack of engagement on the part of atheists.  The theists are actively trying to "take over" in many places, including the U.S., and impose theocracy.  Most atheists act like they just don't really care much about that.  In Europe, they are sometimes affirmatively aiding those who want to take over because they can't deal with conflict.  If there are atheist fanatics, I don't see much evidence of them.

 

I think what is usually meant by such comments is that people like Dawkins and Hitchens should stop speaking the truth.

I think it is also clear that even the most extreme atheists do not even remotely come close to the fanaticism of the religious.

Though this is very true, fanaticism is fanaticism... In all it's extremities. 

I consider myself an atheist fanatic. I see nothing wrong with this label. I consider myself an empiricist. As there is no empirical evidence for or against the supposed existence of god (as absurd as the idea is), the only purely rational approach is agnosticism. When I was ten years old, I realized there was no such entity. Now that I am 70 and though still healthy close enough to dying to not live in denial about my mortality, I no longer feel any need to pussyfoot around about the matter to protect fearful religionists.

At the age of 36 or so, I realized that I have the psychological makeup of a religious fanatic. As I have always been an atheist, and as I am not a sociopath (I am pretty sure, but don't test me on this), I am not harming anyone, so I might as well come out of the closet. If you are a religious believer (unlikely on this web site), just deal with it. If you are are squeamish about atheists who proudly ethical extremists such as me, we should just set a good example for religious fanatics by living in harmony and mutual forbearance.

Yes.

It is more about experience and what 'lessons' are 'learned'.

While it is very tempting to disagree in the strongest terms during debates or conversations, many times it would be better to listen and understand.

During a free church dinner last Friday, local neighbors were invited. During the dinner, I and a few folks that were overwhemingly more religious than I got into some rather intense conversations. I mentioned my philosophy training and suggested that there are 'good' people everywhere, some of which are 'not' believers. This was meet with a very terse response, 'but God's people are best'. To which I discontinued my conversation for fear that there was little room for kindness ahead of us, should I continue.

At the end of the dinner, as the group disbanded, I offered my thank-yous, and my little one liner 'thank you for your 'fellowship'. Over the years, I have noticed that, there is a lot of 'good' that can be done with and between persons of 'good will', but try doing the same in an armed camp and between the moments of bombing each other. I have tried to maintain this state of 'good will' as much as possible for fear that I have learned the 'wrong' lessons from my experiences and intellectual training. Debate is a good skill, but if debate destroys a useful relationship, how much 'good' is lost?  

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