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Austin Cline

Greg Epstein vs. Atheist "Fundamentalism"

By April 1, 2007

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The humanist chaplaincy at Harvard University celebrates its 30th anniversary in April, 2007. Unfortunately, humanist chaplain Greg Epstein doesn't seem to think much of some of the more prominent atheists in the West today. Epstein sounds like one of the nonbelievers who would prefer that other nonbelievers not be so unapologetic and forceful in their criticisms of religion — in other words, that atheists shouldn't "rock the boat."
Epstein and other humanists feel their movement is on the verge of explosive growth, but are concerned it will be dragged down by what they see as the militancy of New Atheism.

The most pre-eminent New Atheists include best-selling authors Richard Dawkins, who has called the God of the Old Testament "a psychotic delinquent," and Sam Harris, who foresees global catastrophe unless faith is renounced. They say religious belief is so harmful it must be defeated and replaced by science and reason.

Epstein calls them "atheist fundamentalists." He sees them as rigid in their dogma, and as intolerant as some of the faith leaders with whom atheists share the most obvious differences.

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

What justification does Greg Epstein have to label any atheists as "fundamentalist"? None, as far as I'm concerned — it's a false category created by religious theists who are trying to draw a false analogy between unapologetic atheists and fundamentalist religion. There is nothing in atheism to be "fundamentalist" about and religious theists use this label as little more than an ad hominem for the purpose of getting atheists to self-censor and/or to get others to ignore atheists.

Here, Greg Epstein is playing into their hands by using the same label himself — not because the people he is criticizing have anything "fundamentalist" about them, but simply because he disagrees with their tactics or manner. That's irresponsible and does serious harm to atheists in America by lending unjustified, unwarranted, and unnecessary credence to theists' as hominems against atheists.

I'd also like to know what he means by saying that certain atheists are "intolerant." As I explain elsewhere, disagreement and criticism are not intolerance — but it's precisely disagreement and criticism which are usually at issue. Moreover, much of what might be meant by "tolerance" cannot legitimately be expected from atheists. No one should expect or insists that atheists be "tolerant" of religious theism in the sense of lacking opposition or being indulgent, for example. Some people toss around labels like "intolerant" without explaining what they mean and, I fear, without really understanding what they are saying. If they have something important to communicate, then listeners should demand that they define these key terms and then we'll see if they really are saying something relevant. I won't hold my breath.

What's particularly ironic is that if atheism and humanism really are "on the verge of explosive growth," then one of the reasons for this is almost surely the books and arguments from people like Harris and Dawkins. It would be wrong to lay all of the credit at their feet, but it would also be wrong to pretend that it's merely a coincidence that they would occur together. There are many good reasons to think that it is precisely the forceful nature of their tactics which has been paying off so well for atheists. It's true that they attract a lot of negative attention, but it's not as though atheists were widely loved and respected a few years ago.

Writers like Harris and Dawkins may not be saying anything very new, but they are garnering a great deal of attention and publicity — far more than any humanist chaplaincy has managed. It's possible that Epstein has done a tremendous amount of important work at Harvard, but his name and position are not broadly know throughout the rest of America. Greg Epstein hasn't done anything that has been getting people talking about atheism and atheists in the same way that people like Harris, Dawkins, and Dennett have done. By refusing to play the expected roles of obsequious, submissive atheists, these writers have forced others to take notice of them and what they have to say.

Even more important, their willingness to be so public and unapologetic is encouraging others to do the same — to be open and public about their atheism, skepticism, and rejection of traditional religion. All of this has an impact — and if there is enough initial impact, it can become a self-perpetuating cycle that grows into something much, much larger. It's possible that Epstein is wrong about "explosive growth," of course, but if he's right then he shouldn't pretend that sort of rhetoric he mislabels as "fundamentalist" may be playing a significant role in that.

Epstein worries the attacks on religion by the New Atheists will keep converts away. "The philosophy of the future is not going to be one that tries to erase its enemies," he said. "The future is going to be people coming together from what motivates them."

No philosophy can effectively stand for something if it doesn't also stand against something. You can't effectively stand for justice if you don't forcefully condemn injustice. You can't effectively stand for equality if you don't forcefully condemn bigotry and discrimination. You can't effectively stand for peace if you don't forcefully condemn violence. Anyone who tries will only end up sounding mealy-mouthed for spreading little more than insipid platitudes.

The same is true for science, skepticism, and reason. You can't effectively stand for them if you aren't willing to reject gullibility, irrationality, and anti-intellectualism — including when those qualities are tolerated or even encouraged in other belief systems. It may be reasonable for some individuals to not want to focus all their time and attention on such criticisms, preferring instead to focus on what they believe in over what they disbelieve. What's not so reasonable, however, is to attack those who do think it's still useful, valuable, and necessary to focus on such critiques.

This, I believe, is the critical misstep which Greg Epstein makes: in his position as humanist chaplain, he may be completely justified in saying that it's more important for him to focus on promoting positive virtues of humanist philosophy rather than criticize their opposites. He is not justified, however, in acting like other atheists, humanists, and skeptics should adopt the same perspective. There can be no humanist philosophy with positive qualities that is worth promoting if there are no humanists willing to forcefully reject, criticize, and condemn things like injustice, violence, bigotry, irrationality, and anti-intellectualism.

 

Update: Brian Flemming has a good response to Greg Epstein's position, and a very strong response to Epstein's offer to apologize — but only if others do so first.

Robert McNally explains his reaction to the offer to apologize, and I find it persuasive.

 

Update 2: For an example of how religious theists will abuse Epstein's comments for their own agenda, we need look no further than Frederick Clarkson:

Religious people get it that Harris, or anyone who thinks like him, consider them "delusional" so why would they ever see such people as trustworthy allies? By the same token, why would atheists, who considers themselves "rational," cooperate with people they consider "delusional?" Harris et al, are in the business, wittingly or unwittingly, of sewing distrust and wreaking havoc among people who ought to be allies. As I previously noted, if they did not exist, the religious right would have to invent them.

People who seek allies and coalition partners need to be able to come to the table, or indeed, to the blogosphere, with sufficient respect and tolerance of one another to earn a place at the table.

We already know that Clarkson egregiously misrepresents others, but this goes much further. Apparently, Clarkson can't understand how a person can make common political cause with a person on one issue if they believe that person has ridiculous beliefs in another area. So, since I think the Raelian beliefs about visits by aliens are ridiculous, I could never make common cause with them on something like taxes.

I think that Frederick Clarkson shouldn't give up his day job in favor of becoming a mind reader. Once again, though, it appears that a religious theist is sending the message that "respect and tolerance" can't mean merely allowing a person to believe things without suppression, discrimination, or penalty. Instead, "respect" somehow gets extended to include attitudes like esteem and deference — as if a person's religious beliefs automatically deserve deference, regardless of what they are.

When Frederick Clarkson advises readers not to "drink the New Atheist Kool Aid," I read him as saying not to accept growing realization that religious beliefs don't merit automatic deference — because if religious theists suspect that you don't esteem their religion, they won't work with you. If that's the case, then the problem is theirs, not atheists'. If someone needs me to validate their beliefs by treating those beliefs with deference, then they need to look inward to better understand why they aren't comfortable with those beliefs on their own.

Comments
April 1, 2007 at 8:01 pm
(1) Greg Epstein says:

Thanks for your comments, Austin. I follow your site and you do very important work. I’ve enjoyed reading your criticism as well as that of others, and have also had a good experience corresponding with Richard Dawkins himself on the matter over the past day or two.

Your entry in particular is worthy of a longer response that I’m going to have a chance to post right now, but let me begin by saying I am really looking forward to the chance to communicate about all this at greater length in my own words, rather than in the words of a press release which is meant to pique the media’s interest (By the way, Dawkins, Harris, Fleming and the others choose to put things in the most provocative terms all the time for this purpose. At thenewhumanism.org I explain that I never actually called any of the above “atheist fundamentalists,” but rather helped put together a press release that read atheist “fundamentalists;” I understand how some may think this is a pretty small distinction but the fact is I was making it clear there should be some degree of ironic distance in addition to my obvious strong criticism– why is this not okay but Harris blatantly likening all theists to stupid people, as he does in the article in question, just fine?) or in the words of an AP writer who also earns a living by writing the most controversial story possible. He succeeded!

I also have no objection whatsoever, as I told Richard, to the idea that he and Sam and others like them have done an incredible amount to advance the cause of atheism recently. Absolutely, this is part of why we’re poised for explosive growth right now. But we can’t get anywhere, I firmly believe, if we don’t use this precious moment to start building more positive institutions, organizations, and communications that can serve real people in real ways– beyond the admittedly very important work of criticizing that with which we disagree. There are millions of people out there who feel Dawkins and Harris are heroes. Of course there are, and I have no problem with that. But there are many other millions who have the same beliefs about God that they do, but want to emphasize their desire to live in friendship and respect with those who feel differently.

You wrote I’m not justified in acting like other atheists, humanists, and skeptics should adopt the same perspective. Firstly, why should the “new atheists” be justified in acting like others should adopt their perspective, but not someone who happens to take a different approach? Is there one approach that is “essentially” atheistic and everyone else be damned? I don’t think so. I believe we are going to build a broader, more successful movement not when Brian Fleming adopts my personal style or vice-versa but when the world realizes that there are hundreds of millions of us, and that we actually DO differ enormously on many issues– the same way Conservative Evangelical Christians and Liberal Episcopalians differ enormously! Part of the huge social power of Christianity (and I don’t necessarily use the word power here with admiration, just realism) lies in the fact that no one would ever stop to think that just because of the huge differences among the above groups and other Christian groups, plus the fights that said groups are constantly in with one another– almost no one would ever think to argue that all those groups aren’t legitimately Christian. Any movement worth its salt has got to find a way to deal with having more than one prominent voice, with containing more than one strong perspective.

I am overjoyed, actually, at the hard-earned success of the “New Atheism” because if it continues it will finally give us a real opportunity to look at the real powerful possibilities of Humanism, and a debate between those of us who want to get started on that right away and feel like enough may be enough with religion-bashing as our primary message (though we will always need to strongly bash the unethical, exploitative, violent bullshit that *some* religion can bring) and those who feel it is urgent to continue, maybe even indefinitely, with more of the same that we’ve had for the last couple of (admittedly productive in some ways) years.

I want to end this by reaching out in respect and friendship to you, Austin, and to others who identify with what we can call (even though it’s probably not the best term) “New Atheism,” *as well as* to more “Friendly Atheist” types *and* to theistic believers of all stripes. Not because I think we can or should all get along and sing Kuumbaya. But because it’s just basic human decency to try to find places of respect for one another even when we inevitably disagree. I’m not even necessarily the most friendly guy in the world but I’ve noticed that in many ways I like those who disagree with me on religious matters as much as I like those who agree with me. One of the leading “professional atheists” out there, whose name I won’t reveal out of courtesy, told me that actually he is really a much more open, accepting guy than he comes off as in the media, but the media wouldn’t cover him if he presented that. I think it could be a terrible tragedy, in fact, if the media does not start to represent the fact that we atheists and Humanists are about so much more than pointing out why belief in supernatural beings is deluded. I invite you and others to do more with me (or to spite me, if you think I’m really that much of a jerk) to do more in the coming year and years to get the positive word about Humanism, atheism and agnosticism out. Austin, again, I know this is something you’ve already done and said much in support of with this very site. I really am a fan, even after this post. But we all can and must do more.

April 1, 2007 at 11:07 pm
(2) Doug Berger says:

Thanks for posting about this. It just boggles my mind when like-minded people degrade other like-minded people. Epstein sort of “clarified” his statement but it doesn’t seem to be any better. He said:

“A small quibble with the article in the Times- I did not actually call bestselling authors Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris “atheist fundamentalists.” That part of the story was taken from the press release about our conference, (thanks to the talented Duncan Crary of the wonderful NY-based think tank, The Institute for Humanist Studies {http://www.humaniststudies.org/}, for again helping place a Humanism-related story in the international media) in which Dawkins and Harris are referred to not as “atheist fundamentalists” but as atheist “fundamentalists,” scare quotes intending to denote we know there is a huge difference between Harris and Dawkins- whom I greatly respect but also respectfully disagree on some issues about how to advance Humanism- and actual religious fundamentalists, who can be incalculably worse.”

April 2, 2007 at 2:32 am
(3) Patrick Quigley says:

I find myself in general agreement with the principles of secular humanism, but so long as people like Epstein are spokepeople for that movement I won’t identify myself as a secular humanist. Epstein’s concept of tolerance is that the theistic majority should have the right to promote their views without comment from the non-theistic minority. Well, Mr. Epstein I’m an atheist who won’t be quiet any longer and I’m not alone. Get used to it.

April 2, 2007 at 4:16 am
(4) Greg Epstein says:

Dear Austin and others,

Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments. I like this Agnosticism/Atheism site a lot and I want to take this opportunity to say a bit more.

First of all, I do think highly in many ways of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, as well as others such as Brian Fleming who has also posted a thoughtful critique of the AP article. Brian’s site doesn’t accept comments, but this one fortunately does, otherwise I’d be happy to take the time to post on both.

Richard wrote to me in response to my clarification about the use of the word “Fundamentalism,” (in short, I used it, but in scare quotes, and no I absolutely do not think Dawkins, Harris, etc. are actual fundamentalists) and pointed out that it is “interesting” that our movement is suddenly doing so well now that he and Sam have been speaking out so strongly this past year, and he questioned whether this might not have something to do with why are in fact doing better now than we have been at any time over the past 30 years. I couldn’t agree more– actually it’s probably been 35 or 40 years since we’ve had it this good at least in American public life, and the “New Atheism” is to be credited with a lot of that.

I don’t have a problem with “rocking the boat.” I don’t have a problem with us speaking out and telling the world what we don’t believe in, and why. I encourage it. I don’t even have a problem with all the people who are blogging about me right now and slamming me as some kind of representative of “appeasement,” as Brian Fleming put it. Some religion and some religious people have produced a lot of terrible, mendacious, violent sentiment over the years, and they’ve caused enough pain and harm that people desperately need to be able to speak out about it. Some of those people are clearly under the impression that I’m denying them their right to do so right now, so why wouldn’t they bash me? They should go ahead. But the thing is I’m not denying them anything. And again, I actually find Richard, Sam, Brian (and of course you too, Austin, I like your stuff as well) to be not just right about a lot of arguments against theism but generally entertaining and really clever. As I told Brian Sapient the other day, don’t worry, I get pissed off at one or another aspect of traditional religion too sometimes and when I do I’m glad the New Atheists are out there to speak up so eloquently and forcefully on my behalf.

There are of course a few things that deeply concern me about all this, however. First, I don’t care how effective certain writers can seem to be, or how many copies of atheist books they are selling right now, I believe we have to do our best to be the change we want to see in the world. One of the changes I want to see is, I don’t expect religious people to change overnight and become like me, but I’d like to see them reach out to me in friendship and respect and work with me on that which we have in common, such as the desire not to see the environment go down the sewer. We atheists and Humanists can’t solve that problem alone. In fact, no one single group of human beings can solve any problem alone in the world we live in today. We have to find ways to work with one another, and to see the good in one another. I feel the general spirit of the “New Atheism” (which I admit is a sort of unfortunate name, but let’s work with what we’ve got for a bit here) has simply not done nearly enough to offer the kind of respect it would like to see. We want to be treated as equals? Let’s raise hell about it, fine, but perhaps think twice about slamming me so hard as some kind of Uncle Tom (I definitely heard that one on a few blogs) if I want to speak for myself, and for the millions of atheists and Humanists out there who actually *like* and care deeply about a lot of religious people and don’t feel the need to hurt their feelings in addition to disagreeing with them. Sam, in the AP article in question, had no problem implying pretty bluntly that religious people are all stupid. Richard was quoted as saying that teaching about hell might be worse than sexual abuse. These kinds of statements are not simply the height of rationality and science. They come off as extremely obnoxious to a lot of people. Is it as bad as violence? No, for goodness sake, no. Is it hate speech? No. But is that what I called it? Also, no. I figure if Sam is willing to imply that an entire several billion people who don’t agree with him on religious issues might not because they’re stupid, then he might also be okay with the fact that I can allude to the idea that this might sound at least slightly reminiscent of fundamentalism to a goodly number of people out there. Thus, my use of the f-word, albeit in scare quotes.

And as for the fact that you can’t effectively stand for something unless you stand against something as well? Well said, Austin. Again, I really agree with you here. This is another example of the AP using language that just isn’t my own to make their point. As I’ve commented on other blogs (I am forcing myself to stay very short on sleep these few days in order to be able to say to myself– and others– that I did what I could to rectify as many misunderstandings as I could about this piece, and as I admit I am a sensitive person I hope some will consider appreciating that a bit) AP writers make a living by writing the most controversial stories possible– controversies sell, and AP stories need to be bought or “picked up” by newspapers in order to make money. Well, Jay Lindsay took one controversial thing that I said– that Dawkins et al are “fundamentalists,” again, with the scare quote marks– and he also took some of the most controversial statements possible out of Harris & Dawkins’ repertoires, so that should show you what he was looking to do– but the rest of the things that have been most strenuously objected to are not in quote marks, because I did not say them. I understand that to Jay it probably seemed that there wasn’t much difference between what I believe and the idea that the “attacks on religion will keep converts away.” But that’s not what I said and it isn’t what I meant.

The truth is attacks on religion probably will win some converts to atheism. But I’m actually not even interested in “converting” people, in the sense that I believe in allowing all people the dignity of independent choice, so while I can inform them of my beliefs and I can loudly and proudly reach out to them in the name of my beliefs, I will not try to force my beliefs on others. And when my outreach does work, I’m just as worried about quality as I am about quantity. What are we going to do with these “converts” once we’ve got them? Are we going to lie to them and tell them that if everyone were just to be like us, the world’s problems would disappear? Would that things were so simple. The truth is there are good, decent people, and sick criminals on both sides of the theistic fence, and it will always be so. I hope what we will do is organize ourselves into a movement that actually does some real, concrete good in this world and in our local communities, explicitly in the name of Humanism and Atheism. Because with the notable and commendable exception of defending science, I haven’t seen nearly enough of that from the “New Atheism.” What institutions has it built so far? What hungry children has it fed? What human rights violation has it sent a team of protesters to intervene in? I am looking forward to the day when we spend less energy bashing religion (not to mention each other) and more on doing some of these positive things and others as a movement, as an organization, as a force for good. And Austin, you might rightly say, well, give it some time, these guys haven’t had enough time yet to do that sort of thing. But what about giving me and others like me some time, then? You brought up that I haven’t done as much for the atheist cause as Dawkins or whomever, but I too am just 30 and am part of a whole generation that is just getting started. I know we are going to do amazing things together. If it’s fair to criticize us for not having done enough yet for argumentative atheism then it’s fair to criticize others for not having done enough over their long careers for positive Humanism. I envision a world in which we can criticize and lecture about religion to our heart’s content– I call this “speaking and debating” in a recent interview with the Humanist Magazine, which I think had some really important points in it, points that I didn’t necessarily come up with myself but that I believe in the need to highlight (though maybe if the word fundamentalism had just been thrown in there somewhere it would have received half this much attention) — but if that is ALL we do we are not worth our salt. We’d be like the religious folks who just bash atheism all day but are totally hypocritical when it comes to good works. Let’s put more energy into creating a Humanism that speaks and debates but also sings and builds. Once we’ve torn down, I want to know, how can we build back up together?

Finally, I want to conclude with a response to Brian Fleming’s really witty blog entry title, “Greg Epstein wants you to join him, asshole.” I seriously mean it when I say Brian has an awesome sense of humor, as do Sam and Richard, and that line made me laugh out loud, –at myself, not at Brian. He makes some interesting and good points, as do you. And I really wouldn’t ever, ever want to see a world without voices like his in it. I understand he grew up around some real fundamentalist types. I admit I grew up around much more liberally religious and New-Agey types, so maybe I’m just more naturally predisposed to have some degree of sympathy for the “other side.” In any case, I am not suggesting we New Atheists and New Humanists or for that matter New Christians or New Buddhists or New Jew-bu’s or just plain old fashioned people should “all just get along.” I like to sing but I’m not into Kuumbaya. To the contrary. I believe Humanism will become a true force to be reckoned with when we all begin to understand that we are a diverse movement with real disagreements and even some real dislikes, and yet it doesn’t stop us from being considered united on an important level. Think about, for example, Conservative Christians and Liberal Episcopalians. When it comes to so many things, they don’t just disagree–they flat out hate each other! And yet the very social power of Christianity (I don’t necessarily admire that Christianity has so much social power, I’m just trying to consider it realistically here) is that these two groups can co-exist in their differences and resentments and yet almost no one would ever think to suggest that either group was not Christian. That’s what we need! We need for there to be the New Humanists and the New Atheists, the Greg Epsteins and the Brian Flemings and the Richard Dawkins’s and the EO Wilsons and all the rest, and despite our obvious differences, no one in the world would think to question the obvious fact that we are all part of one diverse but united Humanist/Atheist (or if you prefer I personally have no issue with your calling it Atheist/Humanist) movement! *That* would be progress. I can’t wait to make progress along side you.

Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity to respond to your eloquent criticism! All the very best!


Greg M. Epstein
Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University

April 2, 2007 at 6:20 am
(5) Austin Cline says:

Doug: you’re right, it doesn’t really change anything. Putting the word fundamentalist in scare quotes does nothing to alter the impact and consequences of what he wrote.

Patrick: not all secular humanists are like this.

April 2, 2007 at 3:34 pm
(6) Austin Cline says:

I’m sorry your comment didn’t appear immediately, Greg, but the system flagged it for moderation and I only just now discovered that.

I’ve read through your comment twice now, Greg, and I don’t see any justification for your use of the term “fundamentalist.” If you think that some atheists are rude or obnoxious, fine. Say so! But “fundamentalist” is not an epithet for people who don’t behave in a manner you personally like.

Just because someone is an atheist doesn’t mean you have to like them, like how they behave, or approve of their clothing style. Criticize away — just do it in an accurate and justified manner. Even if Richard Dawkins were 100x more arrogant and obnoxious than he currently is, that wouldn’t justify calling him a “fundamentalist.” The problem isn’t that term is harsh or mean, but that it’s wrong.

I feel the general spirit of the “New Atheism” … has simply not done nearly enough to offer the kind of respect it would like to see.

Just as “intolerant” was not defined in your original press release, “respect” isn’t defined here – and without definition, it isn’t a fair or justified criticism of anyone or anything. Respect has connotations which religious theists can legitimately expect from atheists, but it also has connotations which religious theists cannot legitimately demand from atheists. You can expect me to “respect” your beliefs in the sense of not trying to suppress or silence you, but you cannot demand that I or anyone else “respect” your beliefs in the sense of esteeming them, showing them deference, or showing them reverence.

AP writers make a living by writing the most controversial stories possible– controversies sell, and AP stories need to be bought or “picked up” by newspapers in order to make money.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the “fundamentalist” line was the lead line in your press release, which means that you cannot blame an AP writer for focusing on that. Putting that up front not only made it the focus, but gives the impression that you were specifically selling it on the basis of controversy. So, naturally, that’s what news writers focused on — but the responsibility lies with those who wrote and approved the press release, not with AP writers who did as should have been expected of them.

Because with the notable and commendable exception of defending science, I haven’t seen nearly enough of that from the “New Atheism.”

That would be because atheism, new or old, is just disbelief in gods. It isn’t a philosophy, world view, religion, or ideology. Not should it be. It has nothing to build with or build upon. Once people give up belief in gods, they will have to find their own way towards various atheistic belief systems: humanism, existentialism, Marxism, Buddhism, whatever. That is as it should be.

You brought up that I haven’t done as much for the atheist cause as Dawkins or whomever…

I didn’t make that claim because what you have or have not done is irrelevant to the point which I was making. The actions of Dawkins and Harris have drawn much more national and international attention to atheism than your actions, but that isn’t a criticism — they’ve done more than most others, including me. I can’t criticize anyone for not being Richard Dawkins! The problem is that you express happiness at possible “explosive growth” which is likely dependent on the actions of Harris and Dawkins but then you turn around and criticize them as “fundamentalist.” It’s not legitimate to happily benefit from someone’s actions while attacking those same actions (and with an incorrect label). That’s hypocritical. If there are flaws in those actions, it’s legitimate to note them – but not without admitting up front that you’re likely benefiting from them, and perhaps might not be seeing the same benefits without those flaws.

If you don’t personally feel comfortable with their approach, fine. If you feel better about — and expect to make more progress with — a different approach, great. I’m not going to criticize anyone for not adopting the exact same tactics as Dawkins and Harris. If I wrote a book, it probably wouldn’t sound just like theirs either. A multiplicity of approaches will surely be better than just one or two. Once again, though, nothing in my post is critical of anyone for simply adopting a different approach.

April 3, 2007 at 2:06 pm
(7) Kenneth says:

I am almost sorry for:

Not playing nice with people who don’t play nice…

Being intolerant to people who are intolerant…

However, I am always cool to people who are cool…

Tlingit, Navy Vet, Citizen of Earth

April 6, 2007 at 11:38 pm
(8) John Hanks says:

A fundamentalist or a fundanazi thinks that god is a commodity. Atheists do not think that something imaginary is a commodity.

April 12, 2007 at 3:56 pm
(9) Austin Cline says:

Not all secular humanists are like Epstein. Indeed, I believe Epstein himself is a Religious Humanist.

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