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More people DO need to speak out and challenge immoral and unethical, unhelpful and ignorant, messages and behaviors but the pejorative use of fraught labels, especially where we enjoy so little consensus regarding their meaning, should be avoided. A great deal of the confusion, as I see it, results from poor critical thinking and philosophical category errors (confusion between the methods of science, philosophy, culture and religion), so I tend to address those, presuming ignorance but not malice.

It is not sufficient that Bill Maher be right in THAT religious fundamentalism is incorrect and a problem, even a real danger. It is also necessary that he gets right exactly WHY it is incorrect (and it is not because the religious fundamentalists' literal readings of Scripture are not logically consistent with the Enlightenment fundamentalists' literal readings of Scripture, for example). Rather than subvert religious fundamentalism, Maher dignifies it on its own terms because he fails to understand why it is in error. Both religious and Enlightenment fundamentalists need to accomplish the same paradigm shift, which draws methodological distinctions between descriptive sciences, normative philosophies and interpretive religions. (One has to feel sorry for some of the NALT atheists, too. Maybe they, too, need to beef up their challenge of their own petty, narrow-minded and militant cohort.)

Finally, even when one so happens to be right, and of course Maher is right regarding some immoral behaviors, there is a RIGHT way to be right. People may not be able to strictly define it but they know meanness when they hear and/or see it. 19 minutes ago · Like John N Veronica I understand and appreciate complaints aimed at extremists on both Left and Right but resist any broad generalizations re: secular vs religious, liberal vs conservative, left vs right, and so on. I prefer to engage the best a tradition has to offer and not its worst elements, authentic representatives and not caricatures. 2 seconds ago · Like I am curious: How can you be a follower of Christ's teachings and at the same time justify violence (even for self-defense)? You might be a follower of the church which would allow certain exceptions but how is it possible to ignore "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies"?

Doesn't be a follower of someone mean to follow THEIR words and not the reflec ons by other people in the following years? 2