What in non-existant God's holy name is 'atheistic fundamentalism'?

BBC: 'Atheistic fundamentalism' fears

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has described a rise in "fundamentalism" as one of the great problems facing the world.

He focused on what he described as "atheistic fundamentalism".

It seems to me you're either an atheist or you're not. It's not the sort of thing you can be by degrees. Atheists don't tend to get into arguments with each other about which gods they don't believe in, or about how their unbelief is better than anyone else's. There is only one rule as far as atheists are concerned: there are no gods. I suppose that's pretty fundamental, but I don't think it's quite what the archbishop has in mind.

The word fundamentalism usually means opposition to liberalism and secularism, and insisting in the unerring accuracy of scripture. That seems a very strange adjective to apply to atheism. We're in serious oxymoron territory here—with the emphasis on the moron.

However, the Archbishop of Wales is reported as saying that atheistic fundamentalism:

[advocates] that religion in general and Christianity in particular have no substance, and that some [atheists] view the faith as "superstitious nonsense".

Erm… Well… Yes and no.

Unless I'm very much mistaken, all atheists would advocate that religions in general—but not Christianity in particular—have no substance (if, by substance, we mean real, actual deities backing them up). And all atheists would, almost by definition, view any religious faith—not just Christian—as "superstitious nonsense".

It seems that, when the archbishop uses the phrase atheistic fundamentalism, what he actually means is atheism. But cop a load of these examples he cites of atheistic fundamentalism:

situations such as councils calling Christmas "Winterval", schools refusing to put on nativity plays and crosses removed from chapels

Those aren't examples of atheism (fundamental or otherwise); those are examples of urban mythical political correctness.

The archbishop is clearly a very confused and paranoid man.

See also: Motes and Planks

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. I think that peopleassume the word fundamentalism means 100% blinkered committment.

  2. I have a sneaking suspicion that the archbishop is really talking about Richard Dawkins and his ilk, who won't quietly have their say on the garbage spouted by the churches of the world (did I give myself away there?). BTW is an archbishop just a 'camp' type of bishop?

  3. I'm sure he has Dawkins and Co. in mind, but the examples he gives (which I cited) seem totally bizarre to me.

    I don't see how you can have 'blinkered commitment' to atheism. That would imply that there is clear evidence for some sort of deity that we atheists are deliberately ignoring. Nothing would make me happier than to have clear (or indeed any sort of) evidence that there was some sort of benevolent deity to care for us. There just isn't.

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