Definition of Militant Atheist

Militant atheist is defined as one who is militantly opposed to theism, theists, and religion. Militant atheists have an extreme hostility towards religious theism that entails a desire to see religion suppressed by force. The label militant atheist tends to be used interchangeably with fundamentalist atheist, new atheist, and anti-theist.

This definition of militant atheist is usually meant pejoratively because the label is typically applied to atheists who do not seek the forced suppression of religion or theism. Instead, religious apologists apply the label "militant" to atheists generally — or at least any atheist that isn't quiet, meek, and obsequious.

Also Known As: new atheism, fundamentalist atheism, antitheism

Common Misspellings: militant athiest


Secularism is not the same thing as militant atheism. It does not imply that religious believers and their leaders should be silenced, but it does imply that no particular belief should have a privileged position or privileged access to the institutions of government.
- Roy W. Brown, Europe Supports Secular Education," in Religion.
Atheism which is actively hostile to religion I would call militant. To be hostile in this sense requires more than just strong disagreement with religion - it requires something verging on hatred and is characterized by a desire to wipe out all forms of religious belief.
- Julian Baggini, Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
My dictionary defines [militant] as "aggressive or vigorous, especially in support of a cause." But the word is used all too freely in the feebler sense of "holding or expressing views which are unpopular or which I don't like." Fore example, when Richard Dawkins is asked about this religious beliefs and replies "I'm an atheist, and i have no time for religion," he is at once accused by tabloid newspapers and other commentators of being a "militant atheist." So, if you find yourself writing this word, stop and think whether it has any clear meaning, or whether you are just using it as a swearword."
- R.L. Trask, Mind the gaffe: the Penguin guide to common errors in English