I love that overall context 'trane, and could buy into it for sure. And I never had so much of a problem with your hyperbole as I do with what seems like a need to enter into hyperbole in all of these debates. I love Christopher Hitchens. He's pretty much a hero of mine. And yet his sledgehammer approach always gnaws at me at some point. And the fact that he could so easily support Bush's crusade for 8 years just makes my head hurt.
Does theism mean a limitation of inquiry by definition though? Or is it a nasty side-effect that emanates out of power structures. I always separate faith and belief. Theism in and of itself, if I'm not mistaken, does not require blind belief and adherence to dogma, but in fact within many texts I have seen, doubt, and questioning are vital to a faith in a creation myth surrounding a single creator. And inquiry and enlightenment have advanced under Islam in many cases, if I'm not mistaken. There was a great advancement in medicine, with the creation of hospitals, education with the spread of universities, and the scientific method came about under caliphate rule. And having seen some of the truly frightening sorts of animistic beliefs that held strong in Indonesia, the sweeping conversion to Islam there in the last century was probably a step forward for them, among other places.
I completely agree that we are seeing a backwards march to the dark ages. And that might be worth a thread on its own somehow. I just think that there is a theism that leads to that place in human history, as well as a theism that leads to advances.