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20 May 2010 @ 03:01 pm
The Dragon's Eye View: Just Not Letting This One Go  
A comment over at toob's journal prompted me to finally put down in words something that I've mulled over for a very long time.

Over the decades, I've seen a great deal of evidence to support the hypothesis that, no matter what faith they might nominally adhere to, Fundamentalists of any creed have more in common with each other than they do with more moderate adherents of their own creed.

From my observations, the common keystone in the Fundamentalist worldview is this:

We and we alone know the One True and Proper Path, and those who disagree with us are not merely in error, they are evil, they are our enemies, and any abuse we can deliver unto them is not only justified, but for their own good.

All too often, this becomes the Fundamentalist's primary tenet -- the specific details of his or her faith all become a distant second to the pure, blind assertion that I am right and you are not.

This is their true religion.

Proportionally, I've seen just as many Fundamentalists who think they're Atheists as I have Fundamentalists who think they're Anything Else, and their reaction to Thoughtcrime is just as zealous.

Did that last sentence piss you off?

Might want to run some diagnostics.

Tube: announcement!toob on May 20th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's accurate to call atheism a religion -- it's ideological, certainly, but it's not a religion.

That said, the angry, zealous atheist types are certainly very annoying, and very... lacking in self-awareness.
Bobyourbob on May 20th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
Religion: "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe"

Doesn't have to be ritualistic or supernatural. Atheism is a religion (therefore protected by 1st ammendment).

and angry, zealous people are very annoying and ...
Tube: religiontoob on May 20th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
I don't accept your definition of religion. Even within it, I don't think atheism has much to say about the "purpose" of the universe, so it wouldn't really qualify.

Edited at 2010-05-20 11:09 pm (UTC)
Bobyourbob on May 20th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
Feel free to not accept it. But, IMHO, if you use a word in public, you should know the dictionary definition (you don't have to like it, but you should know it). And that's what that is.
Tubetoob on May 20th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
Well, that's one definition, from one dictionary, and you conveniently omitted part of it.

You might have used the OED version if we're being authoritarian about definitions:

1. Action or conduct indicating a belief in, reverence for, and desire to please a divine ruling power; the exercise or practice of rites or observances implying this.

2. A particular system of faith and worship.

3. Recognition on the part of man of some higher unseen power as having control of his destiny, and as being entitled to obedience, reverence, and worship; the general mental and moral attitude resulting from this belief, with reference to its effect upon the individual or the community; personal or general acceptance of this feeling as a standard of spiritual and practical life.

4. Devotion to some principle; a strict fidelity or faithfulness; conscientiousness; pious affection or attachment.

Of these, you might for the fourth as indicative of atheism being a religion, but I'd require some sound convincing -- it is the least of the definitions. Note that the other three require a level of faith or spirituality. I doubt that atheism would qualify as a religion given the way most people use the word, and I think most would agree with me. And that's because I cannot accept that the mere refusal to accept someone else's belief system comprises a belief system in and of itself.

Look at it this way: suppose you knew a Christian Scientist who was deathly ill with an easily treatable but otherwise fatal disease, and this Christian Scientist, in accordance with her religion, was determined to heal herself solely with the power of prayer. If you care for this person, and you implore her to go to a doctor to receive a treatment so that she does not die, is your entreaty a religious one? I would argue not. If you think that to do so IS religious, then fine, we have a practical disagreement in definition. If you think that it is NOT religious, then perhaps you will reconsider my point that simply refusing to accept someone else's faith as an accurate description of the way the universe works does not in itself comprise religious belief.
Tubetoob on May 20th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Put another way: we are both atheists. I simply believe in one fewer religion than you do.