October 24, 2008

The Myth of Fundamentalist Atheism is Alive and Well

Symbol of Humanism, white and golden version.Image via WikipediaThere is no such thing as "fundamentalist atheism." Those who use the label misunderstand the meaning of fundamentalism. It is not a synonym for close-mindedness, but a construct with meaning that renders it inapplicable to atheism. Unfortunately, the Institute for Humanist Studies does not appear to realize this. In a recent article by Doug Thomas, we see the myth of "fundamentalist atheism" being propagated yet again. As tiresome as this mistake is when it comes from the religious, it is far more discouraging to see it coming from within the secular community.

Once we understand what fundamentalism is, it becomes quite obvious that there can be no such thing as fundamentalist atheism. Simply put, there is no doctrine involved in atheism. We can certainly acknowledge that there can be close-minded atheists, atheist activists, and perhaps even atheist extremists. The meaning of fundamentalism, however, precludes application to atheists.

There are far too many misconceptions about atheism out there, and it takes quite a bit of effort to correct them. I would sincerely hope that the Institute for Humanist Studies would avoid spreading erroneous information about atheism.