So why are New Atheists so intolerant?
First, it is crucial to remember that New Atheists are more than mere atheists. They are anti-religious atheists. It’s more accurate to think of the Gnus as anti-religionists than atheists.
Second, the anti-religious, militant atheists tend to think in simplistic, black-and-white terms. Consider something that Jerry Coyne wrote on his blog (it is something Harris or Dawkins could just as easily have written):
Our writings and actions are sincere attempts to rid the world of one of its greatest evils: religion. Whoa, there’s that accusation of “fundamentalism” again! What, exactly, is fundamentalist about noting the evils of faith?
Evil? Rid the world of evil? Clearly, if you think the other tribe is “evil” and that we must rid the world of this “evil,” intolerance will thrive. For it is not our natural instincts to tolerate “evil.”
Gnu atheists are so extremely intolerant because they think in extreme terms – they see religion as “evil” and something that must be gotten rid of. It’s part of their fundamentalism. If you dare to let Christians run a federal agency or speak at a commencement, you are allowing Christianity some form of public credibility. And if you do that, how in the world are you ever going to rid the world of such EVIL? Y’see, the faith-based approach of the Gnus’s has them believing it is absolutely crucial that we rid the world of one of its greatest evils: religion. That’s how we create a utopia – a Gnutopia, where everything, while not perfect, is supposed to be much, much better.
The ironic thing is that Coyne, Dawkins, etc. are supposed to products of academia, or “higher education.” They are supposed to excel at sophisticated thinking. Yet they blatantly promote intolerance and black-and-white thinking, even to the point of railing against EVIL. They are blind to the fact that they violate the values of academia and higher thought. So breathlessly caught up in their extremism and agenda, they never pause to engage in some self-reflection and ask if their simple-minded views really do match up with reality.