I don't know what other so-called "fundamentalist atheists" argue, but I am not concerned with how the world would be with or without religion. I care whether the religions are true or untrue.
And any non-insane, non-ignorant person can tell they are simply not true. Although I argue that we should start a war against fundamentalism (a war of ideas and culture), I am sure that RJ would call me a "fundamentalist" for my opinion that religion is indisputably wrong.
Am I also a fundamentalist for believing that 2+2=4? Or should I consider the idea that it might equal 5 because some people really have "faith" in that idea? I don't give a damn about their irrational faith in things that are clearly not true. And I don't have to respect it. It is dumb. More importantly, it is wrong.
Let me clarify with an example. In Leviticus, "God" explains that male homosexuality is an abomination! I am not sure if this mean they roast over an open fire for the rest of eternity or if they have simply displeased God greatly and will suffer some other lower forms of torture for their transgressions. Either way, fundamentalist Christians love that part of the Bible (as do many non-fundamentalists unfortunately). I am going to give them this one for now. So, let's assume for the moment being that insane and grotesque idea is true.
In the same Leviticus, "God" says that anyone who eats shellfish -- shrimp, lobster, crabs -- shall also suffer eternal damnation. If they are in the sea and do not have fins or scales, eating them is ... an abomination! So, if gay guys are such a problem for society, then the evil shrimp-eaters must be just as big a problem, right? How come I don't hear that one talked about in the press so much? Because it shows how absolutely nuts it is to believe in religion.
Does anyone reading this, or anyone who is religious, let alone fundamentalist, really believe that God will punish you forever for eating at Red Lobster? If you do, you are an ass-clown.
I know I'm the bad guy for pointing out the 100% clearly obvious. You see, there is no such God that made any such rule. There might be another "God" or higher forms of consciousness or other forms of faith in things unseen (I'm not even an atheist), but the God they talk about in the Bible and the Koran 100% does not exist!
If the shellfish example doesn't convince you for some maniacal reason (mainly because you have been brainwashed into your cult/religion and will not let it go no matter how many empirical facts are put before you), then let me give you one more. In the same beloved Leviticus, "God" says you are forbidden (with the attending grave consequences - read the Old Testament, you don't want to piss off God or break any of his irrational rules) to wear clothing with two different types of cloth in it. Do you know what percentage of the world has committed this grave crime? Nearly 100%.
So, I guess God hates everybody and he will roast all of us over an open fire. Well, then fuck God! Let's take the son of a bitch on. Because that is an evil, capricious, vain and ridiculous God. Zeus was more just. Thor looks like saint by comparison.
I could go on all day long with one dumb story after another from the Bible and the Koran. Just read it, for God's sake. If you still believe in these books after you've actually read them, then you are no longer ignorant, you are officially stupid.
There are many lovely religious people. There are many people who get lovely lessons from the Bible, the Torah and the Koran. There are many wars that had nothing to do with religion (are you satisfied RJ). There would still be significant social-ills if religion were wiped off the face of the earth.
But none of that makes religion true. If you can tell me with a straight face that you think it is true that it is an abomination to eat shrimp or wear wool and linen at the same time, then you can talk to me about how we should keep religion.
Good people like the Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings brings happiness to some people's lives. Not all wars are started because of the Lord of the Rings. But anyone who actually believes the Lord of the Rings is reality and that Frodo actually did save the world by fighting off the Dark Lord Sauron and casting off the ring into Mount Doom is mentally unbalanced. And probably slightly more sane than someone who believes the Bible literally.
Final question people ask: But what about the good and lovely people who don't take the religious texts literally and only focus on the positive sides of their religion?
It doesn't make their religion any more true. They might be better people than the clown fundamentalists, but they also base their beliefs on fairy tales that are not remotely based on reality or the truth.
Who knows, maybe the world will be a much worse place if we get rid of religion. I doubt it, but I agree with RJ that it is possible. But that is not my concern. If I was convinced that pretending that 2+2=5 would make the world a better place, I still wouldn't do it.
RJ is a friend of mine and he even co-hosts our show, The Young Turks, every once in awhile. It doesn't mean friends can't disagree and that one of them can't be wrong.
In this case, when RJ asks for empirical proof that the world would be better off without religion, he has an interesting point. When he stretches that point to imply that we should take religion seriously, that we should treat the religious viewpoint as if it might have some validity and that we should not fight to eradicate religion, he is wrong. Just as wrong as religion. Well, not quite that wrong.