Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is There Such a Thing as a "Fundamentalist Atheist"?

Is there such as thing as a "fundamentalist atheist"? If so, what is a fundamentalist atheist?


decrepitoldfool said...

Atheism isn't a body of doctrine about which one could be a fundamentalist in the technical sense. I think when most people refer to a "fundamentalist atheist" mean that they have the same attitude and sort of sound the same as religious fundamentalists.

It's a nontechnical use of the word, "fundamentalist".

CorgiGuy said...

It would be someone that's locked in on atheism, and extreme case.

Paul, i think you might enjoy this site, great podcast on philosphical topics.


decrepitoldfool said...

"Locked in on atheism" - yeah. I mean, I don't believe in god, and that (dis) belief is very strong in the sense that extraordinary evidence would be needed to dislodge it. But I have bigger fish to fry - war, poverty, pollution, ignorance, all that.

Some claim religion is at the root of all those evils; I claim that those are part of the human condition, religious or not, unless we identify them specifically and work directly and constructively to end them.

CorgiGuy said...

dof, it sounds like you are a fundamentalist when it comes to atheism, or possibly a skeptic.

Paul said...

I don't think DOF makes a very good example of a fundamental atheist, Corgiguy. You might check out PZ Meyers' blog:


Not only Meyers, but many of the people who comment on his blog, have at times been described as "fundamentalist atheists".

By the way, thanks for the podcast link.

CorgiGuy said...

paul, i was not familiar with that term.

The deity/god has never talked to me so is hard for me to vouch for it

decrepitoldfool said...

The religious term "fundamentalist" refers to someone who adheres in a non-negotiable fashion to a fundamental body of doctrine. It was first coined around 1910 as an answer to "modernism". Over time they developed a particular recognizable style of argument, even in some areas a cadence of expression. They were convinced that fundamental Christianity was the answer to everything.

Though atheism is too narrow a thing to even have a body of belief, some people lock in on it as if it were the answer to everything. I don't. I think atheism is the answer to just one question; "is there a god?" It isn't the answer to any other ethical or socio-cultural question.

Many people confuse secular humanism with atheism. The former often but not necessarily contains the latter.

marxsny said...

I would suggest that within the broad definition of atheism there are smaller, more specific types of atheists. I know atheists who fall into 2 categories. Those who have never been exposed to any type regular religious practice or teaching. And those who have invested time into practicing a religion but at some point have chosen to reject the existence of God.

If fundamentalism with regard to religion revolves around the unconditional acceptance of specific doctrines, in order to accept these doctrines I would think an individual would have to have a clear understanding of the doctrines.

If an atheist is one who rejects these doctrines, a fundamentalist atheist would be an atheist who has an understanding of these doctrines before rejecting them.
An atheist who has not had any exposure to religious practice would not have an understanding of the doctrines before rejecting them.

Just a thought, employing some convoluted logic and based on my experience with atheists.

Elton said...

I believe that the underlying metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics works, so therefore, Atheists are always right according to their current understanding.


Anonymous said...

I think we should do away with the word "atheist" except for describing "fundamentalist atheists." Standard atheists could just be called "reasonable"...much the same way as we don't call people who don't belive in the Loch Ness Monster "anti-Nessians"...sane works well enough. That way "atheist" could mean what I
(an atheistic fundie)want it to mean...I don't believe in God and I think those who do should be publicly ridiculed.

Webs said...

There is no such thing as a fundamentalist atheist, just people that do not know how to speak to religious folk and get all up in arms when an intelligent person or a scientists says they believe in God. These atheists appear to be fundamentalists in their actions, but really are poor at debating and listening. Check out the PZ crowd.

I call the fundamentalist, but not in the true sense of the word as DOF has explained.

There could only be a fundamentalist atheist if atheism was a religion. It's not.

And I think the word atheism is a fine word to describe those of us that do not wish to believe in magic sky chappies. Why should I change because Christian Extremist don't care to learn what an atheist really is and what we are all about?