Modern naturalism is often promulgated with a missionary zeal that has powerful religious overtones. The popular fish symbol many Christians put on their cars now has a naturalist counterpart: a fish with feet and the word “Darwin” embossed into its side. The Internet has become naturalism’s busiest mission field, where evangelists for the cause aggressively try to deliver benighted souls who still cling to their theistic presuppositions. Judging from the tenor of some of the material I have read seeking to win converts to naturalism, naturalists are often dedicated to their faith with a devout passion that rivals or easily exceeds the fanaticism of any radical religious zealot.
My two cents
I like this account of the current-day situation; I think it’s accurate. Perhaps there are plenty of dispassionate naturalists, but I guess the only ones you hear from are the vocal types—a case of confirmation bias. Either way, it’s interesting how terms like rational (i.e in the context of rationalism) are a bit loaded—despite its devotees linking it with objectivity.
The slightly frustrating thing is how with these quotes, I tend to get the most comments (especially on YouTube) from militant internet naturalists, rationalists and atheists—when they’re not the group I’m trying to have ongoing dialogue with.
Grace to You. (2010). Naturalism as Religion. Available: http://www.gty.org/blog/B100427. Last accessed 4th Feb 2011.