Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens (1949 - 2011 )

 
Christopher Hitchens died yesterday and everyone in the atheist community is going to pay tribute in their own special way. For me, the highlight of Hitchen's career was last year's debate with Tony Blair here in Toronto (Nov. 26, 2010). The subject was "Is religion a force for good or ill?"

This is his opening statement.




26 comments :

  1. Terribly sorry to hear it. Certainly had his faults, but his writing and speaking were nearly always an intellectual pleasure, and sometimes more.

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  2. Sad. despite we knew that this had to come somewhat soon.

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  3. "We are created sick and commanded to be well"

    :0)

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  4. "Redemption is promised at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties"

    :0) again

    Did you attend this?

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  5. Allan Miller asks,

    Did you attend this?

    No, I couldn't get tickets. I watched it on closed-circuit TV.

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  6. The truth of Christianity is that we are created sick but are offered a cure - quite different. As soon as Blair lumped all religions together CH was able wipe the floor with him.

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  7. The truth of Christianity is that we are created sick but are offered a cure - quite different.

    Not quite. Sounds like a trap built by a very sick sadist. And let's not get started on the nature of this "cure," or its requirements.

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  8. Hello NE. The 'Cure' is simply to believe in what God has done in providing a Saviour - Jesus. And your solution to a sick world is...

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  9. xercised:

    The truth of Christianity is that we are created sick but are offered a cure - quite different.

    If we don't take the cure, we are condemned. That's some 'offer'.

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  10. xercised writes:

    And your solution to a sick world is...

    To work toward making it better.

    There, that wasn't hard, was it?

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  11. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/12/religion.uk

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  12. @PNGarrison:

    The topic is interesting and complicated. Article you are pointing to presents it in very simplistic way.
    You may be interested in reading these articles:

    http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/2011/12/why-do-religious-give-to-charity.html

    http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/2011/01/atheists-are-generous-they-just-dont.html

    I'd like only to say, that it is sad that the same people who are helping those in need are capable of hurting other people.
    And it is not true that non-belivers don't help others.

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  13. Hello Jud,

    I'm making the cautious assumption that you are an Atheist.

    No, that wasn't hard to say, but it doesn't look like it's working. I think I prefer the solution offered by God. At least that one works and has a future.

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  14. Just a quick comeback that I should have said: It's great that you want to make the world a better place and I fully agree with Arek that 'it is not true that non-belivers don't help others.' But the world is not getting better, is it.
    But ultimately our help must come from outside ourselves - God must step in and He has, in sending Jesus Christ.

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  15. Hello xercised,

    I knew what that "cure," ahem, "simply" was. Seems like you missed a few bits though. Again, leaving alone the nature and prerequisites of the "cure."

    There is some gene pairs where one produces a toxin, the other an anti-toxin. Since the two genes come next to each other it is quite improbable to delete the toxin-producing one alone and keep the anti-toxin. The toxin outlives the anti-toxin, meaning that deleting both genes will result in the organism's death. That's how the pair of genes spreads and survives. Of course, if the organisms bearing those genes could reason about this situation, they (the organisms) would be grateful that they (the genes) provide both the sickness and the cure. Probably worship them. That would surely be appropriate.

    My solution to a sick world? Why? Do you think a sadistic god, if it existed, would do anything for us? Lots of work and education might help us out. But it is truly hard work. You have to start by acknowledging that no help will come from elsewhere.

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  16. xercised said:

    ... but it doesn't look like it's working [to work toward making world better].

    Really? So the countries where people "just knee and pray" are the better ones (safer, more educated, wealthier ...) ?

    I think I prefer the solution offered by God. At least that one works and has a future.

    I don't want to disappoint you, but the data are against you (just google for example "crime rate and religion").

    And I have a question for you. If there is a crime, should police intervene or should they stop and pray to Lord for salvation?

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  17. @xercised we are created sick

    Speak for yourself.

    How dare you include others in your diseased cult.

    It's bad enough that you believe this nauseating shit but the real crime is when you violate your position of authority and trust and inculcate this crap into your children.

    Which of course is the only way the virus of religion can propagate itself, by infecting young minds that don't have the necessary intellectual tools to defend themselves from predators like you.

    I note recent reports of child sex abuse within the Dutch Catholic Church have emerged following a joint RNW/NRC Handelsblad investigation, joining the growing list of countries where religion has preyed on those not able to defend themselves.

    Is this an example of your "solution" ?

    As Hitchens put it:

    And not scorning the three delightful children who result— who are everything to me and who are my only chance of even a glimpse of a second life, let alone an immortal one, and I’ll tell you something: if I was told to sacrifice them to prove my devotion to God, if I was told to do what all monotheists are told to do and admire the man who said, “Yes, I’ll gut my kid to show my love of God,” I’d say, “No, fuck you!"

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  18. Our comments got mixed up a little.

    xercised said:

    (...)But the world is not getting better, is it.

    I don't understand. If there is God and he is helping us, why the world is not getting better?

    But the problem (for you) is that world is getting better - in countries where there is less religion.

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  19. xercised wrote: But the world is not getting better, is it.

    Except that, by many reasonable measures such as life-span and chance of being murdered or dying in war, it is (and Steve Pinker's new book is not the first to advance this thesis). If you wish to dispute that, then tell us which past century you would prefer to live in.

    And as others have pointed out, the correlation between religiosity and societal health is generally negative.

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  20. 'And I have a question for you. If there is a crime, should police intervene or should they stop and pray to Lord for salvation?' Arek, is this a serious question? The answer to humour you is, the police should intervene. What do you take me for? It's their job to intervene. Why would I think otherwise - do you take me for a religious nut-case? There have been some very wicked things done through religion and by Christians. I'm interested in truth and if Christians do stupid things I'll join you in agreeing. But, just because that is so does not make Christ any less a person. It's to Him we must look and not seek to justify our own self-righteousness.

    Hello NE, Thanks for replying. The gene pairs is an interesting one and I'm sure not the only example. My response to it as a complete non-scientist - I really don't think it invalidates my case any more than it supports yours. I mean what is it you are trying to prove? To me it merely confirms the presence of both good and bad. And since to you there can be no such thing as evil, again I can't see what you are proving. It does illustrate how the curse by God came upon the world through sin and how the cure too must be provided by God. So I'm grateful to you for pointing out how nature (the creation) itself points to the reality or fullness of the cure offered by God.

    I'd like to wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas. And since the original post was about Christopher Hitchens: I was very sorry to hear of his death and sent my condolences to his brother and family. I pray they will find true comfort in God at this sad time.

    Thank you for making me think.
    Best Regards,
    Mike

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  21. Steve, I missed your respectful reply. Perhaps I should throw quotes from his brother at you and see what that proves. I'm sorry you feel so aggrieved. I confess to wondering how long it would be before someone replied in your manner and I'm reaching for the phrase 'methinks you protest too much'. It hard isn't it, because you know I'm right really.

    I wish you a happy and safe Christmas all the same.

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  22. xercised said...

    Arek, is this a serious question?
    ...
    What do you take me for?


    This indeed is very stupid question. And I don't think you are "religious nut-case". But I don't know what you had in mind, when you wrote your comments. I cannot read people minds.

    Policemen, firefighters, physician and others are using their own muscles and minds to "to work toward making the world better".

    But you wrote that "it doesn't look like it's working". Instead you propose to "simply believe in what God has done in providing a Saviour - Jesus".

    These are your own words. Read your comments.

    If my question was stupid, it was your fault. Try to think before you write something.

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  23. xercised said...

    And since the original post was about Christopher Hitchens:

    yes, we all forgot that for a moment

    I was very sorry to hear of his death and sent my condolences to his brother and family.

    It is very nice of you.
    When I heard about his death, I checked local newspapers if they mention it. The first comment was something like that:
    The satan is saying now 'Hello, Chris'
    It's sad.

    I pray they will find true comfort in God at this sad time.


    Watch this video:
    Pat Condell: Don't pray for me

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  24. Hi Arek,

    This will be my final comment here. I'd like the opportunity to sit down and chat over a cup of tea with you. But we are stuck with what can be a very poor medium and sometimes a simple comment needs a lot of unpacking and frankly there just isn't the time. I apologise for that. Yes, there's a lot of good going on in the world. But the paradox of human nature means there's a lot of bad stuff continuing to happen. I don't see any end to this except through the Gospel of the grace of God and the consummation of the age when God will bring things to an end. I doubt you will agree with this but it's what I believe. I think the evidence for this is overwhelming. And with that I'll bow out. I would just say in closing: there's been many a 'stiff-necked' Atheist that is now rejoicing in Christ. I don't mean to be rude it's just a fact. Anyway, thanks for your time.

    Thanks also to Larry for allowing me to comment here.

    Best Regards,
    Mike

    PS. Out of interest and sheer curiosity I'll try and watch the video.

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  25. xercised,

    Wow, it is quite surprising that you would worship those two genes. Sure you are also grateful by the illustration about your god provided by mafia selling "protection." (I did not use that example because I thought it lacked subtlety, but maybe the genes were too subtle for you.)

    I never said anything about whether for me there would be such a thing as evil or not. Thus, I don't know what you pretend of doing here, other than offer a red-herring.

    Best for your holidays too.

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  26. @xercised

    When your god came up with the 3rd commandment it actually had sanctimonious, hypocritical faithheads like you in mind.

    What pleasure could it possibly derive from an eternity of grovelling from puling infants is beyond me.

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