The Intolerance of New Atheism

One of the myths atheists like to perpetuate is that religious belief is inherently intolerant and uncivil, and that it’s elimination will render our society more tolerant of various beliefs and behaviors.

Now obviously this has been definitively disproven in places like the Soviet Union, but modern atheists cling to the idea anyway. Nonetheless At a recent meeting of the The Council for Secular Humanism, Paul Kurtz who is one of the founders of the council who was ousted by New Atheists, claims he was censored by the organization for the first time in his life. Consider for a moment what that means – a man who has spent his life challenging the religious majority his entire life faced his first censorship from a New Atheist dominated organization. That this should be the case should come as no surprise to those who are familiar with the history of secularism. The atheist Soviets who desired a overtly atheistic order became increasingly strident, the Stalinists killing off the Trotskyites whom they didn’t see as committed enough to the cause.The Maoists felt compelled to drive large segments of the population into re-education camps to ensure their conformity, as did the North Korean leaders later still.

That the New Atheists lead by PZ Myers and others should purge the ranks of those they don’t find sufficiently committed to the cause is merely another instance of this intolerance. They see civility as weakness, not comprehending that it is instead the foundation of civilization, a state they seem to disdain.

The freest society in history resulted from the Christian Reformation for a reason; inherent in that movement was the respect for human conscience – it is becoming increasingly apparent the New Atheists are a threat to this fundamental belief.


4 Responses to The Intolerance of New Atheism

  1. Justin says:

    It’s amazing how clearly the atheist position can be understood and seen in action, and the self-contradictions it contains.

    A vast majority of the atheists I talk to do not believe in objective morality. When pushing the issue, many go so far as to say that their morality is based on not violating the rights of others. Pushing just a bit further, they then concede that without a God, there are no true “rights” (such as those the Founding Fathers believed in). It’s a bit refreshing to see honesty from the atheists on this point, though shocking at the same time to see them admit that there are no rights, only privelidges bestowed upon people by a government.

    Other atheists I’ve talked to admit (without taking the route above) that there are no God-given rights.

    It seems to me that the consensus among the hundred or so atheists I’ve visited with that 99% of them don’t believe in objective morality or objective rights.

    It’s then easy to see why they, most of the time associated with modern liberalism as well, have no problem with larger and more encroaching government.

    No rights.
    No morals.

    From here, there’s no obligation to help the poor, except via government-mandated solutions. There’s no real need to observe the rights enshrined in the Constitution, since those are merely subjective outdated principles.

    I only hope that Alister Mcgrath is correct in seeing a decline in non-belief, because a world devoid of those who support morality and rights is not going to be a very kind place to live.

  2. kenetiks says:


    The intolerance swings both ways. I’ve said before, this antagonism doesn’t do any good. We need honest thoughtful discussions of the real and not imagined problems of our day.


    Dare I even comment?

  3. nate says:

    I don’t think Jack was trying to say that atheists are, as a group, more prone to intolerance. Obviously people are intolerant not a particular worldview or belief or non-belief or whatever. It begins and ends with people.

    On the other hand when I tell Jehovah’s Witness’s to go away they do, and they don’t start lecturing me on how my beliefs are wrong because I’m catholic. Atheists, on the other hand, typically do rejoice in lecturing me on everything their minds can come up with at that moment.

    There must be some Jehovahs witness’s out there that would stand and try and lecture me but I haven’t met them at my door or anyplace else. Of course doing so at my door after being asked to leave me alone would, most likely, prove hazardous to ones health.

    I’m sure on the whole they are no more intolerant than any other group, but a few, as with everything, give the rest a bad reputation. “He who shouts loudest has the floor” as they say.

  4. kenetiks says:

    @nate so Atheists won’t leave your door trying to explain you’re wrong? =)

    Atheists tend to be more aggressive I think because we are constantly bombarded by religion.

    How many churches per 100 people does one need? How many billboards exclaiming how I’m evil, sinful, worthless and an fool if I don’t find any compelling evidence for beliefs in gods? How many pamphlets and mailers do I need to get? How much of a stigma is acceptable for a person who identifies as an atheist?

    How many people do I really need to hear exclaiming the wonders of jesus who don’t have the first inkling of knowledge about one single thing they are saying; no world history, no logic, no nothing, not even a minuscule understanding of what they actually believe and yet I’m the one that’s damned?

    This is why atheists tend to push back.

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