A bitter rift is apparently opening a schism in the land of atheists, according to an article by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, who quotes Stuart Jordan, an atheist who advises the evidence-based group Center for Inquiry on policy issues. He says that this divide between those who wish to wage a more aggressive, often belittling posture toward religions and their believers and those who think that religions and the people who support them should be shown respect even if we don’t agree with them on all issues is causing a schism in the ranks of atheists. She goes on to quote the Centre for Inquiry’s founder Paul Kurtz on this new approach, who says, “I consider them atheist fundamentalists. They’re anti-religious, and they’re mean-spirited, unfortunately. Now, they’re very good atheists and very dedicated people who do not believe in God. But you have this aggressive and militant phase of atheism, and that does more damage than good.”
The point would be a good one if the examples of such a worrisome aggressive and militant phase weren’t so pathetic: PZ Myers nailing a cracker, people drawing less than flattering pictures of Jesus, such as one that shows him painting the nails not on his fingers but in his hands, and a few quoatable quotes from the curmudgeonly Hitchens. Now compare that kind of ‘militant’ behaviour with religiously inspired acts of mass murder and brutality, and see just how ”fundamentalist’ the new atheists really are.
The new head of the Center for Inquiry, Ronald Lindsay, says, “The new atheists counter that they believe in reason, science and freedom from religious myth. We take the high road, the low road, country roads, interstates, highways, byways, — whatever it takes to reach people.”
Wow. How shockingly aggressive is that?
I don’t know if atheists can ever fully recover from such a bitter rift.