Tag Archives | Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens, Religious in Spite of Himself?

PIC: Ensceptico (CC)

PIC: Ensceptico (CC)

Eric Reitan writes at Religion Dispatches’ (A)theologies:

Not long ago, Christopher Hitchens—pugilistic author of God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything—sat down for an interview with retired Unitarian minister (and self-professed “liberal Christian”) Marilyn Sewell. It wasn’t the usual sort of conversation that Hitchens has with “believers,” since his preferred sparring partners tend to be religious conservatives and apologists for fundamentalism (such as Douglas Wilson).

Not surprisingly, early in the interview Hitchens was quick to announce who was a real Christian and who wasn’t, and to insinuate that Sewell fell into the latter camp; a comment that has inspired more than a few raised eyebrows among religious progressives.

But it’s easy to let Hitchens’ arrogance on this matter obscure some broader themes—and some surprising concessions on Hitchens’ part—that emerged in the course of the interview.

One of these themes has to do with just how much Hitchens and Sewell have in common.

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Christopher Hitchens, RIP

Christopher HitchensOne of our finest writers and sharpest wits has died. Obituary from BBC News:

British-born author, literary critic and journalist Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62.

He died from pneumonia, a complication of the oesophageal cancer he had , at a Texas hospital.

Vanity Fair magazine, which announced his death, said there would “never be another like Christopher”.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Blue, and their daughter, Antonia, and his children from a previous marriage, Alexander and Sophia.

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter described the writer as someone “of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar”.

“Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls.”

Hitchens was born in Portsmouth in 1949 and graduated from Oxford in 1970.

He began his career as a journalist in Britain in the 1970s and later moved to New York, becoming contributing editor to Vanity Fair in November 1992…

[continues at BBC News]

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Observations on Atheism

CyclopsSo the question has been raised to atheists: if life is the product of random chance and there is no divine authority and life is ultimately what you make it, then why do you care what people believe one way or another? Specifically in regard to a belief in God.

One response to the question is commentary on monotheism’s Apocalyptic “literalists” — people who sincerely want to see the world end and are actively trying to bring about its destruction.

Atheists see it as their moral duty to attack the root of such beliefs — which just happens to be belief in God. And it’s fair to say this is all part of the Atheistic consensus.

So atheists are literally trying to save the world … delusions of grandeur, anyone?

Time and time again I can’t help but notice the parallels between atheists and religious types: the bitter hostility towards anyone who doesn’t just choke down their ideology; the inconsistent belief system and subsequent rationalizations that sidestep the issue by exploiting our human emotions.… Read the rest

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Christopher Hitchens Vs. Noam Chomsky on Osama Bin Laden

Hitchens Photo: Trockennasenaffe (CC) / Chomsky Photo: Duncan Rawlinson (CC)

Hitchens Photo: Trockennasenaffe (CC) / Chomsky Photo: Duncan Rawlinson (CC)

Christopher Hitchens takes issue with Noam Chomsky’s recent Guernica article in Slate:

Anybody visiting the Middle East in the last decade has had the experience: meeting the hoarse and aggressive person who first denies that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center and then proceeds to describe the attack as a justified vengeance for decades of American imperialism.

This cognitive dissonance — to give it a polite designation — does not always take that precise form. Sometimes the same person who hails the bravery of al-Qaida’s martyrs also believes that the Jews planned the “operation.” As far as I know, only leading British “Truther” David Shayler, a former intelligence agent who also announced his own divinity, has denied that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, took place at all. (It was apparently by means of a hologram that the widespread delusion was created on television.)

In his recent article for Guernica magazine, however, professor Noam Chomsky decides to leave that central question open.

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Christopher Hitchens: Is Barack Obama Secretly Swiss?

Is Obama Swiss?No stranger to controversial opinions, Christopher Hitchens asks on Slate:

However meanly and grudgingly, even the new Republican speaker has now conceded that the president is Hawaiian-born and some kind of Christian. So let’s hope that’s the end of all that. A more pressing question now obtrudes itself: Is Barack Obama secretly Swiss?

Let me explain what I mean. A Middle Eastern despot now knows for sure when his time in power is well and truly up. He knows it when his bankers in Zurich or Geneva cease accepting his transfers and responding to his confidential communications and instead begin the process of “freezing” his assets and disclosing their extent and their whereabouts to investigators in his long-exploited country. And, at precisely that moment, the U.S. government also announces that it no longer recognizes the said depositor as the duly constituted head of state. Occasionally, there is a little bit of “raggedness” in the coordination.

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The Case Against Atheism From S. E. Cupp

S. E. Cupp takes on Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the group she terms “neoatheists” in an opinion piece in the Daily News. But who the hell is S. E. Cupp and why should we care?

Back in college, while I was busy pretending that a blottoed discussion of Nietzsche over $1 beers made me an intellectual giant, my fiftysomething father, who’d worked so hard to send me there, was quietly being saved. Having long eschewed any ties to his Southern Baptist upbringing, he suddenly found himself born again and on a quest to know God better.

As a longtime atheist, I was a little surprised. But eventually I came to be relieved by this development. While my friends’ fathers were buying flashy sports cars and exchanging their wives for models, my own father was turning inward and asking: Is there more to life than this?

I was also proud of him for becoming a student again.

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