The "Secular-Fundamentalist Death-Spiral"

Several readers have asked me what I mean by that phrase in the quote below. Read the essay and you'll find out. I'm talking about the polarization in America between religious fundamentalists who proclaim their inerrancy and certainty as the only legitimate form of religion and the secular atheists who agree with them. There's no question in my mind that America is suffering from a dialogue in which excessive fundamentalism spawns an understandable but misguided anti-religious sensibility that borders on contempt for all people of faith. This is the culture war cycle that is consuming the country and polarizing the political parties into religious and secular camps - a dangerous development. My point is that one important response is for non-fundamentalist believers to speak up more, to take on the fundamentalists, to refuse to have their faith coopted, and to fill the growing vacuum in the center of American life. That's what the essay is arguing about and it's what my book tries to make a long and careful case for.