Is Atheism the New Fundamentalism?

Atheists have been around for a long time, but until recently, they usually tended to keep their free-thinking disbelief to themselves, both because they considered their opinion a personal matter and out of politeness for believers. The rise of increasingly extremist religious fundamentalism over the past few years, however, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, has stimulated a growing numbers of nonbelievers to end their silence and publicly subject religious belief to the same kind of rational scrutiny that we all naturally tend to subject every other kind of belief.

For some, this "new atheism" is perceived as strident, militant and just as fundamentalist and dogmatic as the religions atheists tend to criticize. For others, like philosopher Daniel Dennett, this perception of fundamentalist atheism simply reflects the double-standard of deference we have historically accorded the sacred cows of religion for no particularly good rational reason other than tradition.

In the following fascinating and thought-provoking debate, Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries and journalist Charles Moore team up to defend the motion that the new atheism is the new fundamentalism. On the other corner, with a combined weight of expertise in philosophy and evolutionary biology, A.C. Grayling and Richard Dawkins oppose the motion.

Enjoy the intellectual blood bath :)

Want real fundamentalists? Get a load of the agnostics fundamentalists: The Church of the Holy Undecided :)

Oh, and this is the double-standard cartoon Professor Grayling mentioned:

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