Author Topic: Christopher Hitchens  (Read 673 times)

December 21, 2015, 12:49:12 PM

Offline wsimm101

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Christopher Hitchens
« on: December 21, 2015, 12:49:12 PM »
A real polemic author. Forever held in my mind as one of the best speakers and verbalizes in the English language. I only read one of his books which was The Trial of Henry Kissinger which was a laugh riot to read.

http://www.youtube.com/v/g3MJoZn71Tw&fs=1

But also a tireless defender of the faith of atheism. Constantly referring to the numinosity of life and the human experience. Highlighting the miss deeds of faith in a poignant but humorous way.

http://www.youtube.com/v/MQox1hQrABQ&fs=1

January 26, 2016, 03:18:34 PMReply #1

Offline Len

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Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 03:18:34 PM »
Yes, Hitchens was very polemical. A great wordsmith, debater, etc. and I very much appreciated how he elevated intellectual discourse and debate, especially for the last decade or so of his life.

I have read his widely publicized atheistic manifesto God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. There is really nothing in this book to suggest that Religion or Spirituality is inherently false. Neither does he attack Religion from a metaphysical or philosophical point of view. His major gripe against Religion, generally, is that Religious movements tend to become ideologically fanatical to the point of oppression and violence. Well, if violent ideological fanaticism is what is really, at it's root, in his cross-hairs, what we are discussing then is not Religion at it's core, but rather a tendency in humanity generally to become oppressive, fanatical, close-minded, and violent.

What is ironic in Hitchens case is that for most of his life he was a Marxist/Trotskyite (and even even towards the end of his life, Hitchens still held Trotsky up as a kind of personal martyred hero). During the course of Hitchens life, and certainly during the course of the 20th Century, there was not a more rabid, ideological and violent fanaticism than what we see in atheistic communism. In China and Russia alone, in one century, it appears to have led to more death than all of the fanatical religiously caused death of Christians and Muslims from the past 2,000 years combined!

So, I completely agree with his stance towards close-mindedness, oppression, and fanaticism, but disagree that these are ingredients of Religion. Rather, they are corruptions of Religion, and corruptions generally of any human viewpoint or ideology... religious or political.

There are peaceful, non-oppressive religious movements as well as political movements. But it was rather disingenuous for Hitchens to lump and attack all Religion for the very crimes his own atheistic, political ideology had committed against humanity!

I would appreciate a philosophical, metaphysical debate for and against Religion, but Hitchins doesn't really do it. For him, it is more an ironic attack on fanaticism and straw-man arguments against subjective theological points.