The question of the future role of religion in the West is far too important to leave to the fanatics or to atheist fundamentalists. (Alister and Joanna McGrath, “The Dawkins Delusion?” p.83)
The dark and aggressive tone of the new atheism critique of religion suggests that fanaticism may not be limited to the ranks of those who defend religion. (Alister McGrath, “Mere Theology,” p. 124)
It has been observed that a fanatic “is someone who feels more strongly about something than I do.” Thus we may hear or say something akin to, “Well, sure, I like sports but that guy’s a fanatic…I would never wear face-paint at a preseason game!”
But most often, when we hear or read the terms fanatic and fundamentalist, we envision folks who are overly zealous but not overly thoughtful in regards to their beliefs—particularly if those beliefs are religious in nature.
Even so, it is becoming increasingly clear that atheist fundamentalism is every bit as unthinking, intolerant, aggressive, and fanatical as the religious variety.
We do not wish to reply in kind to the aggressive and sometimes vitriolic attacks on faith that are found in some of today’s “new atheism” which is often quite fundamentalist (to use a word they love to level at us) in its dogmatic unbelief and which is sometimes remarkably intolerant of those who are, as they would say, so silly and naïve as to “still” believe nowadays. (David J. Randall, “Why I Am Not An Atheist,” p. 9)
Atheist fundamentalists are irrationally hostile towards the Christian faith. But what would happen if Richard Dawkins and his ilk were to successfully rid the world of Christianity?
Would an irreligious world enjoy a golden age of atheist utopia? Hardly! Nevertheless, despite the evidence, this is certainly what atheist fundamentalists dream of or…Imagine. Atheist fundamentalists (you may say they are dreamers) habitually ignore the undeniable facts of history.
In one of his more bizarre creedal statements as an atheist, Dawkins insists that there is “not the smallest evidence” that atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. This is an astonishing, naïve and somewhat sad statement. Dawkins is clearly . . . disconnected from the real and brutal world of the twentieth century. . . . He has a fervent, unquestioning faith in the universal goodness of atheism which he refuses to subject to critical examination. (Alister McGrath, “Mere Theology,” p. p. 130, 131)
Fundamentalisms are often dangerous—atheist fundamentalism is no exception. When religious convictions are gotten rid of, other convictions become transcendent and take their place. And when one thinks about it—whether one loses one’s head to Allah or to liberty—one is just as dead.