by Patrick Appel

Daniel Dennett is disturbed by tolerance:

Today one of the most insistent forces arrayed in opposition to us vocal atheists is the "I'm an atheist but" crowd, who publicly deplore our "hostility", our "rudeness" (which is actually just candour), while privately admitting that we're right. They don't themselves believe in God, but they certainly do believe in belief in God...I am confident that those who believe in belief are wrong. That is, we no more need to preserve the myth of God in order to preserve a just and stable society than we needed to cling to the Gold Standard to keep our currency sound. It was a useful crutch, but we've outgrown it. Denmark, according to a recent study, is the sanest, healthiest, happiest, most crime-free nation in the world, and by and large the Danes simply ignore the God issue. We should certainly hope that those who believe in belief are wrong, because belief is waning fast, and the props are beginning to buckle.

I consider myself an agnostic or pantheist depending upon how you define such labels but still have an acute nostalgia for my Catholic upbringing. I find the certainty of some atheists and most fundamentalists deeply grating.

Robert Wright will be guest-blogging this next week (Andrew reviewed his new book a few months ago). I imagine Bob may have some thoughts about Dennett's dismissal of believing in belief.

(Hat tip: 3QD)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.