It's just too easy to poke fun at religious fundamentalism, but recently I was wondering whether it can actually help increase the numbers of atheists. The rise in atheism and decline in religiosity in recent years might be due in part to people becoming disillusioned with the messages they are hearing coming from religious fundamentalism. Hearing that god hates fags and that evolution is really just part of a worldwide conspiracy from scientists and people in academia to turn people away from god so they can better perpetuate the homosexual agenda, actually can help people turn away from religion.
It seems plausible. Think about it. Imagine you are a kid today growing up in a Christian household. As you get older you learn the scientific point of view of the world in school and through the internet. Overtime this makes more and more logical sense compared with religion. You now have an irreconcilable conflict between science and faith. In most cases as you grow older, especially when you get to college, you're going to side with science because it is evidence based and not faith based. Accepting evolution is just the first step. Using your knowledge of biology and science you also conclude like most people that homosexuality is natural and not a sin. Now when you hear fundamentalists preaching that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, you will likely regard them as uneducated fanatics.
If religious fundamentalists pit the debate by making a person choose between religion and science, or evolution and Christianity, religion will lose in the long run. No properly educated person is going to believe that the universe was created in six literal days just 6,000 years ago. Many theists today recognize this and so they've adapted their interpretation of their faith to incorporate evolution. I predict that doing so will be the only way religions like Christianity will be able to survive in reasonable numbers into the 21st century.
So this brings me back to my opening question. I think religious fundamentalism actually helps atheism quite a lot because rational people can easily point the finger at fundamentalists and make fun of them and argue about the problem of extremism. Many educated young people are simply going to reject religion if it means they must compromise their scientific knowledge of how the world really operates. The growing acceptance of homosexuality is also going to make people who call it an evil sin become so marginalized that no rational person will want to be a part of a religion that holds those beliefs. The bottom line is that fundamentalism brands religion and religious people as being uneducated, unscientific, close-minded, hateful, intolerant fanatics; a belief that rational educated people don't want to be associated with.
Evolution says that those who cannot adapt will go extinct. Religious belief will have to adapt if it doesn't want to go extinct. But, I want religion to go extinct or at least get as close to extinction as much it can. So, I technically should be in favor of religious extremism and fundamentalism. I want fundamentalists to hold up their signs that read "GOD HATES FAGS"; I want them to believe evolution is a conspiracy and a hoax; I want them to believe Jesus rode on the back of a dinosaur; I want them to believe in Noah's flood and Jonah living inside the fish. Nothing actually helps grow the number of skeptics, free thinkers, agnostics and atheists than having to hear someone who believes these things are actually true.