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Christopher Hitchens: Religion Poisons Everything

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Posted on Jun 6, 2007
Hitchens
Edward McNamara

By Jon Wiener

Editor’s note: Christopher Hitchens died Thursday, Dec. 15. (You can find Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer’s remembrance of his friend here.) Jon Wiener spoke with Hitchens in 2007 about his views on religion and the book that would turn out to be one of the milestones of Hitchens’ career. For more on the subject, you can read Mr. Fish’s remembrance of and interview with the public intellectual here.

***

In his latest book, “God Is Not Great,” Christopher Hitchens makes the case against religion and for “free inquiry and open-mindedness.”  Hitchens, of course, is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, a visiting professor of liberal studies at the New School, and author of many books.  He spoke recently with Truthdig’s Jon Wiener.

Jon Wiener:  You show in your book how many horrible things men have done because of religion. In Belfast, Beirut, Bombay, Belgrade and Baghdad, men kill other men, and say God told them to do it.  But why blame God for the bad things that men do?

Christopher Hitchens: I don’t blame God.  I blame religion.  I don’t believe there is such a thing as God. Religion makes people do wicked things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. It doesn’t make them behave better—it makes them behave worse.  You couldn’t get people to hack away at the genitals of their newborn children if they didn’t think there was a religious obligation to do so. The licenses for genocide, slavery, racism, are all right there in the holy text.

Wiener: Yes, the Old Testament is full of these horrors.  But it also contains the Ten Commandments, prohibiting killing, stealing, adultery, and lying—isn’t this a good thing?

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Hitchens:  No.  it’s not.  Because these are prefaced by a series of injunctions to fear a permanent, unalterable dictatorship.  The first three commandments say “just realize who’s boss.”  Let’s assume the story of Moses is true, even though archaeologists have utterly discredited it.  Do our Jewish ancestors have to put up with the insult from us at this late stage that, until they got to Sinai, they thought murder and theft and perjury were OK?  Of course not.  There would have been no such people if they thought that.  There has never been a society or civilization that did warrant those things. And you don’t need divine urging to see that they’re wrong yourself.

Wiener: There’s one other commandment, the tenth—thou shalt not covet.

Hitchens: That is a particularly horrible crime of dictatorship, namely the crime of thought.  It says you can’t even think about this.  To say you’re not allowed to steal your neighbor’s possessions—including his wife—that’s one thing.  But to say you’re not allowed to envy your neighbor is absurd.  It’s impossible.  And the spirit of envy can lead to ambition and innovation and initiative.  I would say that’s an immoral commandment.
 
Wiener: Let’s talk about Islam.  You point out that the 9/11 terrorists said Allah wanted them to fly planes into buildings.  But there are something like a billion Muslims in the world today, and only 19 of them flew planes into the World Trade Center.  Why hold all of Islam responsible for the acts of those 19?

Hitchens:  I don’t.  Islam in fact has one advantage over Christianity—it doesn’t have a papacy.  There is no center that can say “we condemn this” or “we support this,” the way the church supported Franco Spain and said prayers in Germany on Hitler’s birthday by order of the Vatican.  But the centers of legislation and authority in the Islamic world, such as Al-Azhar University in Cairo, have a lot of difficulty condemning suicide bombing.  In fact they’ve never got around to doing it.  They can’t seem to condemn even the blowing up of other Muslims—in Iraq, for instance, where they are blowing up each other’s children and each other’s holy places. No words seem to come from either Sunni or Shiite religious authorities there or elsewhere in the world saying “this is wrong.”  That’s because they don’t really think it is.  If it’s done for their cause, they surreptitiously sympathize with it, and you can detect that surreptitious sympathy if you read any of the statements from the Muslim authorities.  That’s a grave crisis for Islam—and for us, too.

Wiener: Are you saying Islam is worse than other religions?  It seems to me your position has to be that all religions are equally bad.

Hitchens: The position I take in the book is, of course, that all religion is equally stupid and an expression of contempt for reason and an exaltation of the idea of faith, of believing things without evidence.  But that doesn’t mean I think a Quaker and a Bin Laden are exactly the same.  They all have individual disadvantages.  I would say that, with Catholicism, the mad insistence on celibacy is peculiarly deforming.  With Islam, the problem is that it claims to be the last and final revelation.  All that’s required now is that everybody realize the truth of this book.  That’s extremely dangerous preaching, in my opinion.

Wiener: Don’t Christian fundamentalists say pretty much the same thing?

Hitchens: Yes they do.  But I think there is a real problem with Islam of intolerance in that way—it forbids itself to have a reformation.  That’s fanatical and actually murderous right now.

Wiener: Is the problem you have been describing religion per se, or is it the monotheistic religions of the West: Judaism, Christianity, Islam?  Are Eastern religions different and better?  Especially Buddhism, with its compassion for all living things; especially Tibetan Buddhism, with its impressive leader, the Dalai Lama.

Hitchens: The Dalai Lama claims to be a hereditary god and a hereditary king.  I don’t think any decent person can assent to that proposition. You should take a look at what Tibet was like when it was run by the lamas.  Buddhism has some of the same problems as Western religion.  Zen was the official ideology of Hirohito’s fascism that was used to conquer and reduce the rest of Asia to subservience.  The current dictatorship in Burma is officially Buddhist.  The Buddhist forces in Sri Lanka are the ones who began the horrific civil war there with their pogroms against the Tamils in the 1950s and 1960s.  Lon Nol’s army in Cambodia was officially Buddhist.

Wiener: Let’s talk about the U.S.  Polls show that 94 per cent of Americans believe in God, and 89 per cent believe in heaven; of those, three-fourths think they will go to heaven, but only 2 per cent think they will go to hell.  This seems laughable, but what’s the harm in people believing they will go to heaven after they die—and see their mothers there?

Hitchens: All you have to do is promise them 72 virgins, and they’ll kill to get there. That’s what’s wrong with it, along with the fact that it’s a solipsistic delusion.  And the spreading of delusion in the end isn’t a good thing, because credulous and deluded people are easy to exploit.  People arise who are aware of that fact. 

If belief in heaven was private, like the tooth fairy, I’d say fine.  But tooth fairy supporters don’t come around to your house and try to convert you.  They don’t try to teach your children stultifying pseudo-science in school.  They don’t try to prevent access to contraception.  The religious won’t leave us alone.  These are not just private delusions, they’re ones they want to inflict on other people. 

Wiener: Of course, you are right that we have Pat Robertson and, until recently, Jerry Falwell, saying horrible things in the name of religion. Both welcomed 9/11 as payback for America’s tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.  But we have also had Martin Luther King and Daniel Berrigan and William Sloane Coffin.  Why not conclude that religion can lead people to do good things as well as bad?

Hitchens: Let me start with a question: Can you name a moral action taken, or a moral statement made, by a believer that could not have been made by an atheist?  I don’t think so.  I’ll take your case at its strongest—that would be Dr. King. Fortunately for us, he wasn’t really a Christian, because if he had followed the preachments in Exodus about the long march to freedom, he would have invoked the right that the Bible gives to take the land of others, to enslave other tribes, to kill their members, to rape their women, and to destroy them down to their uttermost child.  Fortunately for us, he didn’t take that route. 

The people who actually organized the March on Washington, Bayard Rustin and A. Phillip Randolph, were both secularists and socialists.  The whole case for the emancipation of black America had already been made perfectly well by secularists. I don’t particularly object to the tactic of quoting the Bible against the white Christian institutions that maintained at first slavery and then segregation.  But there’s no authority in the Bible for civil rights—none whatever.  There is authority for slavery and segregation.

The widespread view among white liberals that black people in some way prefer to be led by preachers is a condescending one.  It leaves out heroes of the movement like Rustin and Randolph, and has licensed the assumption that people like Jesse Jackson and, much worse, a complete charlatan and thug like Al Sharpton, are somehow OK because they’ve got the word “Reverend” in front of their names.  That’s done enormous damage, not just to black people, but to the country in general.  It’s the Falwell equivalent.

Wiener: What about practical politics for progressives: since almost all Americans believe in God, for progressives to attack, ridicule and dismiss religion as you do is political suicide that will ensure religious Republican domination forever.  Instead, we must argue that God is not on their side, and we must respect the fact that people belong to different communities of belief.

Hitchens: If you want to argue that God is not on their side, you can’t argue “that’s because he’s on my side”—you have to argue there is no such person. Marxism begins by arguing that people have to emancipate their minds. The beginning of that emancipation is outgrowing of religion.  If religion were true, there would be no need for politics; you’d only need to have faith.

Wiener: I know you’ve often been told that everybody has faith in something—for most Americans, it’s Jesus; for you, it’s reason and science.

Hitchens: That’s not faith, by definition.  You can’t have faith in reason.  It’s not a dogma.  It’s a conviction that this is the only way that discovery and progress can be made.

Wiener: The intelligent person’s argument for religion is that religion and rationality don’t compete—they deal with different parts of life.  Religion answers questions that science doesn’t: Why do the innocent suffer? What is the meaning of life?  What happens when we die? 

Hitchens: I wish it was true.  But, in fact, religion doesn’t keep its part of the bargain here.  It incessantly seeks to limit first discoveries and innovation in science and then their application.  Galileo, of course, but more recently discoveries about the possibilities of limiting the size of your family.  Really, they don’t want us to reconsider our place in the universe, because if we face the fact that we live on a tiny speck in an immense universe, it’s going to be difficult to convince people it was all created with that tiny speck in mind.  It’s not possible to believe that nonsense if you have any interest in science.

Wiener: The final killer argument of your critics is that Hitler and Stalin were not religious.  The worst crimes of the 20th century did not have a religious basis.  They came from political ideology.

Hitchens: That’s easy. Hitler never abandoned Christianity and recommends Catholicism quite highly in “Mein Kampf.”  Fascism, as distinct from National Socialism, was in effect a Catholic movement. 

Wiener: What about Stalin?  He wasn’t religious.

Hitchens: Stalin—easier still.  For hundreds of years, millions of Russians had been told the head of state should be a man close to God, the czar, who was head of the Russian Orthodox Church as well as absolute despot.  If you’re Stalin, you shouldn’t be in the dictatorship business if you can’t exploit the pool of servility and docility that’s ready-made for you.  The task of atheists is to raise people above that level of servility and credulity.  No society has gone the way of gulags or concentration camps by following the path of Spinoza and Einstein and Jefferson and Thomas Paine.


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By diamond, December 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

“As a conspiring idiot, qualifies their facts by calling opinions statements of fact,... how pathetic! ‘horrible little poison dwarf’ does have merited address, but not for Hitchens!”

Incoherence is such fun. By the way, I didn’t call him that but someone who interviewed him, that is met him which none of us have, called him that. Who is in a better position to know, him or you and Shenonymous? A lot of people who knew him well called him that and worse. He was obnoxious in his conduct and he was a drunk and spent a large chunk of his life not only justifying but glorifying the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that 9/11 made it right. Even in the lying, manufactured official myth no one has claimed that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 and none of the so-called hijackers are claimed to be from Iraq. Most of them, in fact, were claimed to be from Pakistan. It’s like a black comedy: ‘Some Pakistanis and a Lebanese and some Saudis hijacked some planes so let’s invade Iraq and Afghanistan’. Donald Rumsfeld, in fact, was already hectoring his staff the evening of 9/11 to find a way to put the blame on Saddam Hussein, which certainly gives a clue as to why it really happened. When they came back and told him there was nothing connecting Hussein with 9/11 he told them to go back and look again. All of Hitchens’ comments on Iraq were flat out lies and I think if you’re going to be a writer the first rule is that you tell the truth, otherwise all bets are off.

Leefeller may or may not be the greatest but Goy Toy is a really good judge of character. He calls Hitchens a ‘total dick’. I’ll drink to that. Hitchens, like Tony Blair, threw away all his scruples and any interest in the truth when he became a cheerleader for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in order to get its oil. Both of them had their reputations completely destroyed by their support for an illegal war based on a tissue of lies. It certainly doesn’t say anything flattering about their commonsense that they could believe such an obvious fairytale as the one constructed around 9/11. And if they didn’t believe it but acted as if they did, that only makes it worse. It all proves the saying that people who don’t believe in God don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.

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By Leefeller, December 21, 2011 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

‘horrible little poison dwarf’ me thinks the label was placed on the wrong person, who it turns out to be nothing more than one more conspiring imbecile filled with what appears to be hate, not a statement of fact but an observation of the obvious!

‘It is not hatred to tell someone they are stone, motherless dumb on a subject when they are. It is simply a statement of fact.’

As a conspiring idiot, qualifies their facts by calling opinions statements of fact,... how pathetic! ‘horrible little poison dwarf’ does have merited address, but not for Hitchens!

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By Shenonymous, December 21, 2011 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

diamond, you poor thing.  Get yourself to a psychiatrist soon.  You
have lost all sense of reality.  Leefeller is the greatest.  His keen
insights are delivered with inimitable style.  I’ve never noticed
his remarks are anything but exceptional and candid.  You should
pay better attention to his comments.

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By diamond, December 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

“Apparently according to Diamond, Hitchens was not only unenlightening it appears Hitchens did not not have the cornered exclusive monopoly on hatred?”

I said he was unenlightened, not unenlightening, though he was that too. It is not hatred to tell someone they are stone, motherless dumb on a subject when they are. It is simply a statement of fact.

“Hitchens was just exactly as he said, repulsed by the grotesque 9/11 attack.  There is no reason to amplify it into anything more than what he said.  You should read read more.  Your extreme partisanship forces you to take an irrational and particular position.”

‘Grotesque’ is right but no one with Hitchens’ intellect could possibly have been taken in by the official story, because it IS grotesque and scientifically impossible. He had other motives for his ranting. It was his own extreme partisanship that made him spout right wing propaganda in support of the imperial oil war in Iraq. Never mind that the war was illegal and that every justification for it was a lie. I can only assume that Hitchens knew which side his bread was buttered on and understood that standing up to the people behind 9/11 and the long-planned invasion of Iraq, which was planned in the nineties, would terminate his career and maybe even his life with extreme prejudice.

Having glanced through this thread I find, as is so often the case, that it is not even about Hitchens but about whether or not Leefeller is locked out and Shenonymous replying to that by attacking Leefeller because he won’t bow down and worship Hitchens in exactly the way Shenonymous would like. For my own part, I agree with the journalist who interviewed Hitchens for a radio program and told me in a letter that he was a ‘horrible little poison dwarf’. Touchay as they say in Gay Paree.

The same goes for his pal Dawkins, a man who claims he only ever believes anything on the basis of reason and yet has swallowed the 9/11 myth whole and never questioned, even though he’s allegedly a scientist, how buildings can fall at free fall speed without being blown up. I call that hypocrisy and game playing of the kind that Hitchens was into as well. Any fable that suits their political agenda is embraced even if it’s ‘grotesque’ and impossible and scientific investigation and reason demand that it be rejected. I also believe, and there’s plenty of proof, that fanaticism in favor of atheism is as bad and as destructive as fanaticism in favor of religion.

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By Shenonymous, December 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

My ignorance on almost “everything?”  Oh yes, do pull in everything
when your argument suffers lack of evidence! Do tell what I “almost”
am not ignorant of!  As if you had insight into much at all!  What a
meager mind you show, diamond.  In the style of Imax, you are a
disappointment.  So I am a stone, motherless dumb on the illegal
invasion?  So fucking what?  You are reduced to name calling because
you are unreliable about what you say.  You show nothing but paltry
opinion just as do a few other supercilious narcissists who roam these
electronic halls.  Your opinions do not make you infallible.  I don’t
defend the invasion and never did!  It was the stupidest aggressive act
America ever had. But that is merely my opinion.  Notice I did not say the
“only” aggressive act! 

Hitchens was just exactly as he said, repulsed by the grotesque 9/11
attack.  There is no reason to amplify it into anything more than what
he said.  You should read read more.  Your extreme partisanship forces
you to take an irrational and particular position.  There are reasons for
personal opinions and there are reasons.  They are justified based one’s
own conclusions about the nature of the world.  But they aren’t qualified
to be exported to other minds.  So you have a book with Rumsfeld on
the cover.  Yeah, so what again?  The fact is that prior to the Gulf War,
the politics made strange bedfellows between the US and Iraq.  It is the
same everywhere in a political world.  Nothing is sacrosanct.  And
politics is always involved with greed and power.

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By blogdog, December 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

RE: He supported the invasion, didn’t he? He supported the imperial war for
imperial purposes, didn’t he?
- indeed, just as Diamond did that of Libya…
and now that planned for Syria too… curious that

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By Leefeller, December 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

“Religion was just a target for his hatred of anything that contained ideas he didn’t agree with. Enlightened, he was not.”

“You are as stone, motherless dumb on the subject of this illegal invasion and occupation as Hitchens was, only more so.”

Apparently according to Diamond, Hitchens was not only unenlightening it appears Hitchens did not not have the cornered exclusive monopoly on hatred?

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By diamond, December 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

“It is preposterous that Hitchens supported any effort to get control of Iraqi oil.”

He supported the invasion, didn’t he? He supported the imperial war for imperial purposes, didn’t he? And what Islamists are you talking about? Saddam Hussein admired Stalin and Hitler. Last I heard they weren’t Islamists - and neither was he. The Islamists knew to keep their heads down when Saddam Hussein was in power. He hated them because of how they treated his mother when she gave birth to an illegitimate child, namely him. Your ignorance on the subject of Iraq is all of piece with your ignorance on almost everything. It also leaves out the fact that the CIA, last I heard an American secular organization, put Saddam Hussein in power and saw to it that he was armed and funded and that he was given anthrax, mustard gas and sarin gas. I have a book with Donald Rumsfeld on the cover, shaking hands with Saddam Hussein, having just organized another shipment of American arms and American chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. You are as stone, motherless dumb on the subject of this illegal invasion and occupation as Hitchens was, only more so.

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By Shenonymous, December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

It is obvious that provincial thinking rules.  It is preposterous that
Hitchens supported any effort to get control of Iraqi oil.  Except for
his stated repugnance for the murderous tactics of the terrorists,
there is no evidence he had any other reason to hate the actions of
the Islamists.  Those who wish to be partisan have the right to be so,
but making up stuff does not do any critical argument any good.

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By diamond, December 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

“It was his gift of birth to assemble overyling notions and decisive details, delivering a coherent and not persuasive, but convincing argumentation on every matter he took a firm stand on.”

His gift of birth is neither here nor there. He supported the invasion of Iraq and endlessly spouted propaganda for this imperial war to get control of Iraq’s oil and went on doing it to the day he died. He was arrogant, vicious and thought he was infallible. There are much better writers who didn’t have his far right ideological obsessions. Read them and leave Hitchens to those who share his character flaws and his ideology. Religion was just a target for his hatred of anything that contained ideas he didn’t agree with. Enlightened, he was not.

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By Leefeller, December 20, 2011 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the Hitchen posts She, I find a bit of myself in this one women and their never ending fight for equality!

“Not asking rhetorically, he answered, “Who are your favourite heroines in
real life? The women of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran who risk their lives
and their beauty to defy the foulness of theocracy. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and
Azar Nafisi as their ideal feminine model.” – Christopher Hitchens”

I do find a foulness in theocracy, especially as it displays itself in its many different hydra heads! The insidiousness is in Religions blind manipulative control over peoples minds.  On one hand I can respect peoples rights to believe in whatever they want, but on the other hand I just would prefer they kept it to themselves. That is why I do not send money to the organized Atheist channels on TV!

Religion the belief would be welcome as opinion, if it did not become some sort of cause.  I could say in fairness the same about the so called New Atheists, but Atheists speaking out out has helped me find foundation and support my views on my unbelief, so my personal thanks to Hitchens for his book “God Is Not Great” this is also true for Dawkins and Harris, even if I do not agree with all and every view or theory suggest by any of them!

Also my thanks to other Atheists out there, who showed my, that my skepticism was not alone, Atheists do not have a ‘missionary position’, they only have an ‘Atheist position’!

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By TStarGermany, December 20, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The comments reveal more than they wish to.

It seems as this website harbors a close circle of equally closed minds, pretending to exchange opinions, while infact they’re just circling around their concerted little world view, which funnily enough, includes smearing on the dead.

—-

A rather simple truth about Christopher Hitchens is this:

His work and appearance have inspired and influenced millions and millions of people -and you can take that literally, as the sales figures show-, so much more than anything that has come out of the realm of leftwing masochism and its public entrepreneurs.

It was his gift of birth to assemble overyling notions and decisive details, delivering a coherent and not persuasive, but convincing argumentation on every matter he took a firm stand on.

That quality made him unique. It’s something his opponents admired and his enemies feared.

Don’t take my word on that. Ask one of your idols, Chris Hedges, he knows perfectly well what it feels like when an intellectual predator has wiped the floor with you.

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By Shenonymous, December 20, 2011 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

“If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no
such thing as torture.” – Christopher Hitchens

“North Korea is a country that still might give us a lot of trouble
and it is, believe me, it is exactly like a 1984 state, it is as if it was
modelled on 1984, rather than 1984 on it.  It is extraordinary, the
leader worship, the terror, the uniformity, the misery, the squalor.
And in Zimbabwe recently, the opposition press reprinted Animal
Farm as a satire on Mugabe and that’s also, that for us in this
country (Great Britain) it is not a small example, it’s an important
one.” - Christopher Hitchens

“Orwell was in a certain way, incorruptible, a lot of people are honest in
one way, say intellectually, then they get a little bit shady on the other
and it compromises them… the idea of him becoming… a sell out… runs
counter to everything we know about him as a person and a writer.” -
Christopher Hitchens

Not asking rhetorically, he answered, “Who are your favourite heroines in
real life? The women of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran who risk their lives
and their beauty to defy the foulness of theocracy. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and
Azar Nafisi as their ideal feminine model.” – Christopher Hitchens

His was not so much a “decision” about Iraq and Afghanistan, but a
reacton to 9/11 which revolted him out of his life-long liberal leftist self
and into an irrational support for the war, and GWB who waged it.  Once
one goes down a slippery slope, there one must follow it to a conclusion,
logical or not.  How many of his critics, especially the most vehement,
come to realize this folly about themselves?  In Demian,” Herman
Hesse once wrote, If you hate a person, you hate something in him that
is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us. If you
hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What
isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
– Herman Hesse and he also
wrote, “...never is a man wholly a saint or a sinner.”– Siddartha

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By Outraged, December 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

My…my… such interesting and intriguing comments.

Please, my heathen and or spiritual friends, be
cautious that you do not allow me to fly to close to
the sun, as such might melt the wax betwixt thy
feathers and very surely I might plummet to the earth.

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By Jerry Gerber, December 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

One last thing I want to add about Hitchens before I probably never utter his name again:  He expressed many times a deep respect for reason, as well he should.  But a true intellectual—someone fully committed to the life of the mind—knows that reason is necessary, but not sufficient.  Imagination, intuition, feeling and will are as important to psychological/intellectual development and a robust inner life as is the employment of reason.  Much of what we understand and learn comes from intuition and imagination, and reason can then refine that knowledge.  Hitchens said “religion poisons everything”—this from a man who spent every day of his waking life literally poisoning his own body and mind with two of the most toxic substances available, tobacco and alcohol?

When Hitchens decided to support Bush’s war on Iraq—an illegal, immoral and strategically stupid act—I believe it was Hitchen’s own biased hatred of religion and his views on Islamofascism that motivated this support.  The ironic thing is that Saddam Hussein, tyrant and total asshole that he was, was secular, and had nothing to do with Islamic militants.

Hitchens seemed more to me like a childish “bad boy”, who not only seemingly lacked the insight to understand how many of his views were colored by anger and desire for attention, but who also failed to see the value of self-awareness and how it might allow for his own views to deepen and mature. 

Jerry Gerber
http://www.jerrygerber.com

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By Shenonymous, December 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

It might be a very interesting experiment if newborns were taught
from birth simultaneously the creeds of all three Abrahamic religions,
Jews, Christianity, and Islam, then also Buddhism and Hinduism, as
well as atheism all with objective presentation, meaning taught without
any bias to any one of them.  Then at the age of seven, they would be
free to make a choice to believe what they wanted, even to seek further
if they wish.  I wonder without any coercion what growing humans
would choose.  Maybe none, maybe a new synthesis, or… we just don’t
know.  I would not hazard a guess.

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By ellemarz, December 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

I appreciate EmileZ’s assessment of Hitchens and
Harris, having read both as well as Hedges.  I do
not claim religion or atheism and perhaps, for that
reason, I have enjoyed reading all three for their
lively debate(with some concerns as mentioned
previously about some racist tendencies on the parts
of Harris and Hitchens), fiery prose (they can all
evoke fire-and-brimstone regardless of their
religious persuasion).

I disagree that one needs religion to have a moral
compass, and this is where I would defend Hitchens. 
Humanity developed a moral sense long before it
developed religion.  The evidence for this can be
found in very recent students on infants that point
to human moral “hard-wiring” that shows itself in
babies as early as three months—way before they can
be “properly indoctrinated” by any religion. 
Humanity could not have survived without it—yet, it
will likely survive without religion (although with
much less awe, perhaps).

However, I find it difficult to lay such a heavy
burden of blame at the feet of religion per se.  It
has unequivocally had its “bad” moments in history,
and in fact, still does.  Yet, to blame religion for
the world’s historical atrocities rhymes too much
with Christians blaming the Devil, or even God, for
their suffering.  Humans seem to want to blame
something for the things we do to ourselves, and
much like children, we point to that which is least
likely to contradict our accusation.  God, Satan,
religion are all the same in this case—none are
really to blame absolutely, although the
conceptualization of them are definitely used as
mechanisms for control and manipulation.

Regardless, I am sad that Hitchens has passed on—he
gave me (and many others) food for thought and
discussion and that to me is the best legacy anyone
can offer.

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By Leefeller, December 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

berniem stated;

“I no more believe in a god than I believe that corporations are people!”

Yes to a degree as how belief goes in the differing of nonexistence’s. So we have something which exists and claims what it is not!  And something not proven to exist which is claimed to exist? Sadly, both manipulating and directing peoples lives possibly one more than the other?

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By berniem, December 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

I no more believe in a god than I believe that corporations are people! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!!

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By stand to reason, December 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why the incessant claim that islamic terrors were responsible for
the attack on 9/11/01 and the reluctance to blame the false flag
operation on people in our own country and most likely in our
own government and intelligence departments? The visual video
is proof enough to call it what is was, a homegrown terrorist
attack! For me that distorts the interview even though I find it
enlightening on the religious aspect.

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By MeHere, December 19, 2011 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

What did Hitchens and those who pay warm tribute to him have against the thousands of Iraqis and Americans whose lives were devastated by a 9-year war?  Maniacs like Hitchens are a dime a dozen but the difference here is that he was a public figure (who loved the limelight.)  How thrilling it must be to have
known a famous and irresponsible “bad boy.”

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By Ralph Kramden, December 19, 2011 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even though I disagreed with Hitchen’s and his latter-day politics, when it came to religion he was on target. I will quibble with his final statement the one about “Spinoza, Einstein, Tom Paine…” Jefferson was a slave owner.

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By bob zimway, December 19, 2011 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Yeah, religion can do that. So can too much alcohol. Hitchens cheered on the Iraq
invasion drunk as a lord.

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By Leefeller, December 19, 2011 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

It should be know in the Religion of Athisim Hitcnens is considered immortal and his legacy must go on, as the one,...the smoking intellectual, who loved good Scotch!

The unorganized religion of Atheism includes as I see it, a required nip of Tequila, (not a Scotch fan and I find kilts drafty)  depending on ones proclivity to the spirits, but must be sipped and not slammed!

Atheists have temples above the ears of their smoking houses of cards and have in the works the building of huge tottering edifice for not worshiping their nondieties! It is planned to have smoking pictures (actually stemming smoke) of Hitchens in their spiritual wet bars, though smoking is not recommened in the Atheist card houses for it is believed in Athisim cards are not fire proof!

The religion of Atheism is now in high debate on which day of the week to wonder about their ungod and maybe have the Easter Bunny over for some hat tricks!

A problem for Atheists is how to treat women with more religiosity in the acceptable and traditional Religious mode, to be more relgious like!  It is felt this requires a whip, a pile of rocks and a all encompassing burka or a skimpy hobbit! Athisim finds itself in a real delielemma for women are considered connived as equals to their hairy counterparts men!

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By GoyToy, December 19, 2011 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

C’mon, Hitchens was a total dick

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By diman, December 19, 2011 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

For all of you not being majors in history, Stalin attended a seminary in his early years.

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By diman, December 19, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

“Religion answers questions that science doesn’t: Why do the innocent suffer? What is the meaning of life?  What happens when we die?”

Oh, really!!! I guess it is like this:

Why do innocent suffer? - Because they are sinners and god wills it.

What is the meaning of life? - The meaning of life is in servitude and unconditional love to an invisible being, who watches everything you do.

What happens when we die? - A direct outcome of question number two, depending on how devout you were in your life in following the word of god, you will either enter heaven or be thrown into the fiery pits of hell.

I don’t know about you but I’m fully satisfied with the following answers.

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By Arabian Sinbad, December 19, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

@EmileZ

I totally agree with your informed and honest assessment of Hedges, Harris and Hitchens. The fact that you’re a confessed Atheist is not and should not be held against you. As I always say, I consider Atheism a form of religion and I congratulate you for your religion of free choice, and I further say, “May you find peace and fulfillment in your choice!”

As to your smoking and finding enjoyment and fulfillment in that I would say again, “May you continue to find fulfillment in your choice!” I don’t have the right to hold this against you and judge you based on it. You’re not Hitchens; and I cited this particularly as applicable to Hitchens to strengthen my argument that he is not the “intellectual” giant that his followers and admirers claim him to be. My citing of Hitchens’ chain- smoking was intended to warn those who live in glass houses not to throw stones at others!

In my book again, smoking, drinking, gambling and other personal vices are not evil in themselves as long as they don’t impair a person’s mental and physical health and lead to ruining his / her life and harm others.

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By blogdog, December 19, 2011 at 1:12 am Link to this comment

that he claimed Buddhism was used as much politically by Asians as
the descendants of Abraham did their various sects is troubling

true, much to the dismay of many so-called ‘new agers’, Zen was a useful
mental discipline for honing a Samurai into perhaps the all-time ultimate killing
machine; nevertheless, it did not drive Tojo’s ambitions - the greatest war
criminal in Japan’s imperialistic adventure - Hirohito, though held as a deity by
‘the people’, was largely a useful figurehead for the imperialists

moreover, Buddhism never drove war makers in the way that Jihad or the
Crusades did the spiritual descendants of Abraham - additionally, these are
historical artifacts - in the modern world, so-called ‘religious war’ is essentially
a useful tool for globalist hegemony - sustained as a useful meme informing
the Islamo-fascism chimaera

indeed there are zealots, many the product of CIA/MI6/Mossad-funded
Madrassas, mercilessly used by post-modern hegomons and cynically
exploited to dupe taxpayers into supporting the phony War OF Terror against Al
Qaeda (for example), while ironically, and even more cynically, enlisting Al
Qaeda operatives to execute ground operations in the genocidal neocolonial
invasion of Libya (for example)... and now preparing the ground for a carbon
copy operation in Syria - in fact Al Qaeda (the CIA’s Arab Foreign Legion) has
been deployed in Bosnia, Chechenya, Algeria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya,
Syria, Pakistan, Afganistan, Uzbekistan, et al

Hitchens is correct in his assessment that religion, particularly in the Indo-
European sphere, is a very useful tool.

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By EmileZ, December 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

I am an atheist, and I think Hedges assessment of Hitchens is spot on (at least since 9-11).

I wasn’t especially familiar with or interested in Hitchens, but I have been spending some time trying to find out more about him over the last couple days. I also watched the Hedges vs. Harris Truthdig debate on youtube. Harris makes a lot of the same general arguments.

Both Hitchens and Harris seem terribly offended by ignorance and deception in the modern age. I am as well, but I see ignorance, deliberate deception, bogus propaganda, self-deception, delusional, false and incredibly destructive belief systems, being peddled and practiced all over the place.

I see nothing particularly brave, or useful in demonizing, ridiculing, or otherwise singling out religion in such a manner.

Also, the conclusions about Islam, which both Harris and Hitchens draw from their selective musings (and odd comparisons), are inaccurate and truly abominable to say the least.

They are also both extremely racist, and in Harris’s case at least, completely unaware of it.

I think Hedges is quite correct in saying Hitchens had no moral core.

Hitchens doesn’t appear to be interested in seeing the bigger picture at all.

The more I hear from Hedges, the more I like him, though it took me a while to get used to his style, particularly in the area of cultural criticism.

And…

@ Arabian Sinbad

By the way, I smoke, and I am aware that smoking, like so many other things, can be harmful to your health, but I like it, always have. I just thought you should know, in case you started to consider my remarks.

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By Jerry Gerber, December 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With all respect to the dead, Hitchens was way out of his league when it comes to spirituality and related issues.  Religion, with all its superstitions, dogma, bigotry, racism, homophobia and blind support of capitalism and nationalism is certainly worthy of intense criticism. But the evil is not in religion, the evil is in us humans.  Science gave us nuclear weapons, does this mean all scientists are evil, or that science itself is evil?  Hitchens, as bright as he was, was clearly unreasonable when it comes to understanding the spiritual impulse in human beings. Like all of our impulses, it is subject to distortion, corruption and neurosis.  We certainly do not need religion to be moral creatures, true, but a religious person can be a moral person. Finally, Hitchen’s apparent certainty in the non-existence of God is as dogmatic to me as those who claim certainty about God and what God’s will is. Extremism and dogmatism go both ways.  May he rest in peace, and, I hope, if and when his soul awakens on some other plane, he has the flexibility of intellect and will to adjust his thinking a bit.

Jerry Gerber
http://www.jerrygerber.com

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By Arabian Sinbad, December 18, 2011 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

A sad soul who didn’t even consider intellectualizing that smoking is bad for his health is not worthy to be considered as having anything serious to offer to humanity and intellectualism!

Moreover, a fanatic atheist whose hallmark was to focus on hating organized religion, considering that the only religion worthy of consideration and value is his own fanatic atheism, is not worthy of the tears his followers are shedding over his death!

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By Mark Iragana, December 9, 2010 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I like the content nice job. Very interesting and informative . Cool stuff.

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By Morse, December 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The Dalai Lama claims to be a hereditary god and a
hereditary king.  I don’t think any decent person can
assent to that proposition. You should take a look at
what Tibet was like when it was run by the lamas.”

That is actually incorrect.  It’s Tibetan tradition
to entitle the Dalai Lama as such.  Tenzin Gyatso is
adamant that he is naught but a simple monk from a
peasant village (and indeed that is his background).

Also, to suggest that Tibet is better off under
Chinese suppression is absolutely ludicrous. 
Similarly, Germany would be better off under Nazi
regime.  The Tibetan culture and people are harassed,
beaten, and tortured at hints of dissent (including
having a picture of the Dalai Lama on their person).

Of course not all religions are perfect, and there
are Buddhist dictatorships and regimes.  However that
is entirely contra to the teachings of Buddhism, and
is a thoroughly warped ideology.

The problem isn’t religion, it’s people.

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By Mark, December 3, 2010 at 1:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ummm, no, it’s not. But hey, you keep missing the point bud. You’ll go far
doing that. Seriously. Just like all the religious nutbags have.

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By caseywollberg, December 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Mark:


“I love how dorks latch on to dumb arguments that make no sense.”

Isn’t that what you just did?

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2010 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

It is hard to believe the old Hitching Post is still kicking! Those were the days when obtuse was my middle name and still may be!

Leefeller Obtuse Guy

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By Mark, September 14, 2010 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I stopped reading when he said “There has never been a society or civilization that did warrant those things”.  Ummmm, yes, there have been many. I love how dorks latch on to dumb arguments that make no sense.

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By Paul M., June 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hmm, interesting. I need to read Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” I remember reading a book
about Hitler’s life and death and I remember that he abandoned his faith at a
young age. At 10 he only went to church to look at the architecture. I need to look
into this though. I think the book is called “Life and death of Adolf Hitler” and it’s
by Robert Payne. It’s a good book. Hitler being Catholic is really the only thing i
disagree with this Christopher Hitches about. I still need to read Mein Kampf.

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By nate chapman, June 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think you’d like this movie called “The Evangelist” Freethinkers.org said it was one of 2 movies to look out for!

http://www.theevangelistmovie.wordpress.com

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By billythedik, December 26, 2007 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hiya She!  Yes, it’s the good no-goodnik.  Jiminy Cricket, I’ve been all over gob’s green Earth.  Checked back here about 3 weeks ago but saw no sign of the groovy ghoulies.  Have you heard of Gather.com?  Go there, it’s free and we have a blast.  Right now we’re having a fun time on a thread about starting our own non-religion: Rutheranism (after my near-90-year-old heroine, Madame Ruth.  My name there is Lyndon (billythedik).  We all have our own nameplaces (w/ photos! Yikes!!! Billy in Color!  I’ve got some book reviews and some silly sh*t.  We need your sharp mind, She!  Please come see us.
Love and Lasagna, BtheK. 
P.S. LIS, it’s free and you earn points.  I have a $50 gift card for B&N;but one can also trade in for cash if one gets so many (3000?) pts in a month.

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By Shenonymous, December 26, 2007 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Finally…userluck22 is a meathead mercenary skirmisher who thinks he can browbeat anyone with an avalanche of “censorship & obfuscation,” as you put it very well.  I swear these types take a laxative for the center of the brain that issues words.

Yes, net discrimination must be stopped and stopped now.  What is the best strategy, the best tactics?  We are at your side.  I’m going to post this at the TD Hitchens page as well.

Yes, I saw your #122582 post before.

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 26, 2007 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Just to be sure, she, here is the link to the article (not the post):

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/12/20/5924/

Also, see my comment posted below before before you go there(#122582 by PaulMagillSmith on 12/26 at 8:40 am)

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By Shenonymous, December 26, 2007 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

In that case PMS, just repost it here and stop all this silly back and forth between TD and CD or post it on “our” CD site.  Aristotle, my favorite misogynist said, “Give unto a thing only that what it deserves.”  Screw the Net Neutrality article; we’ll just start up a new dialog.  Most of the ones on the Net Neutrality site are dunderheads anyway.  I’m sure everyone there would be interested more than you might even think.  Just copy and paste dear one.

Gotta go, I’m setting up my new studio today.  But I’ll check in this afternoon.  Have a great day.  The days are getting imperceptibly longer now.

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 26, 2007 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

She,
It’s on the article about Net Neutrality, and yes it is still posted, but I am becoming highly suspicious now because my comment is still even now listed as ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation’, while a very long ridiculous comment, completely insane & off subject, posted after it doesn’t say a word about moderation. I feel this ‘other’ comment was just posted there to cover mine up.

I’m sure what I posted touches a few nerves, or perhaps I’m just being a bit paranoid. On the other hand, since the MSM is controlled, some of the people who control it also are invested in the internet providers, and the collusive government has the ability to ‘tap’ almost every method of communications, perhaps my suspicians are valid, logical, & reasonable.

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By Shenonymous, December 26, 2007 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

PMS, your post still doesn’t show up!  I will try one more time if you say you are going to post it again.  After that, kaput!  Are you sure you are posting it to the link you noted?

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By Leefeller, December 26, 2007 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

PMS,

The article on CD may be having a problem because of what the article is about, the problem?

If that is Billy, Chompers needs some feed back.

Obtuse me. How long will we have our freedom.

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 25, 2007 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

I re-posted it, she, and it is now at the bottom of the page:

PaulMagillSmith December 25th, 2007 2:00 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

But it’s been waiting for 12 hours now. Christmas might have something to do with that, but we still need to keep our eyes on this, right?

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By Shenonymous, December 25, 2007 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment

My Bad…Paul, sorry. I meant abstruse NOT obtuse,  It truly apologize.  I have always found your posts interesting if abstruse at times. Please accept my sincere admission of mindless mistake.  I look forward to your piquant and astute comments.

Oh by the way, I checked out the CommonDreams site, and what exactly did you say that might be interesting? “Sorry for the double post. I guess someone in cyberspace is asleep at the switch.” 

I hope to see you around more often.

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 25, 2007 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment

Do you really think this is a good description of me, she, or did you mean abstract?

obtuse—-Lacking quickness of perception or intellect. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity.

Actually, if either of those words apply then I am disappointed in myself because I would rather be direct & concrete.

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 25, 2007 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment

Not really obtuse, She, and you might want to go to this link to see what I posted. Why do you have a different name now, billy?

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/12/20/5924/

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By Shenonymous, December 25, 2007 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Billy, Billy, is that you?  Really you?  The name came up without and capitals.  We, at least the three of us: me, myself, and I, have missed you, and your rotten tongue, said with much endearment.  Truly.  Yeah, exactly, where are you?  Where have you been?  We thought you died or something or got run out of the forum by that idiot FA. I get a hit and run email every so often from MMC.  I always send a reply but he never replies to my replies?????  Seems like some sort of a mental aberration.  You are welcome to join us at CommonDreams see my earlier post here for the address.  PaulMagillSmith has seemingly joined us just the other day, but he is quite obtuse.

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By billythedik, December 25, 2007 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where am I?

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By Shenonymous, December 22, 2007 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

BTW to all:
Happy Solstice, started early this a.m. at 1:00 am EST.  It’s going to be a very good year, right?

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By Shenonymous, December 22, 2007 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

PMS, FYI, we had to move our CD site because we overloaded it! Wujabaleev?  I talked with home office in Maine, and they can’t figure it out either why the site just shut down.  Anyway, they invited us to hop onto another site that wasn’t used much so we did.  If, and according to your recent post here, you are thinking of affiliating with us, though I can’t think of any good reason why except we are an interesting clan, you are welcome to join our little band of weird warriors at http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/30/2200/

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By PaulMagillSmith, December 20, 2007 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

Hey Leefeller,
As ‘She’ said CD doesn’t ban people. Sometimes my posts get held up awhile (I think due to increased traffic…which is a positive sign), but they always eventually go through. How could they do that to us for posting based on research, introspection, reflection, and opinion? There are some obvious trolls running through threads, but they usually become evident pretty quickly by their contrary or insane positions. Try again Lee, ok? See you at CD…you too, Shenonymous.

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By Sam, December 20, 2007 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

//The Buddhist forces in Sri Lanka are the ones who began the horrific civil war there with their pogroms against the Tamils in the 1950s and 1960s//

Is Christopher really supporting terrorists here?

This is the same thing, world worst terrorist group LTTE, use to justify their action and repeat in there propaganda. it is very irresponsible Christopher legalizing a false reason used by terrorist group, who have invented suicide belt, suicide bots witch later on transfer to Islamic militants that have used all over the world.

The war in Sri Lanka has nothing to do with Religion at all.

Note, LTTE is a banned terrorist group all around the world. So you should be more responsible and sensitive in publishing statements like this.

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By DamnWilcox, December 8, 2007 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ok if the Big Bang didn’t happen what is the background radiation we can observe from every corner of the universe.  And to boot what is it doing at the proper energy level for having been coming from the big bang for 14 billion years?  Why can we point a telescope at the darkest regions of the sky and see the same uniform background radiation that makes up ‘the wall’, the light from the big bang. 

Why not study some cosmology before presuming your faith means anything outside of the religious echo chamber in the US.  Try building something to keep track of time, navigate space or do interstellar communications…oh wait religion doesn’t do those things. wink 

Your mighty faith sure quiets us science folk down.

-D

WrongPolicy.blogspot.com

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By Jesus of Nazareth, November 18, 2007 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ahhh, Christopher. You’ve been overlooking the simpler aspects of life, morality and authorship. I’ll list a few things:
The Ten Commandments, and the Old and New Testaments (and others) have been a way for men to roundup the herd, so to speak, and give them starting-points for society building; this being necessary because everyone has always known deep down that the planet would eventually be overrun with people.

My work has usually been misstated by clergy and authors. It was a simple two-tier message: resist oppression at every level, correcting the offender with your own right conduct. Two, protect the lives of others, even if it means you take a loss. Practicing these two disciplines will often draw one to the other virtues.

To conclude for you, Christopher, there is only one Commandment of which I’ve been made aware. Suppress the urge to self-importance.

Now take a shave.
And no, the Big Bang never happened.

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By APOLLOSPEAKS, October 17, 2007 at 6:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I always get a rise out of Hitchens including Thomas Jefferson in his losing crusade against God and religion when that greatest of the founders believed in an intelligently designed universe with a Creator God that brings good out of evil. A rereading of the Jeffersonian Bible tells us that this man believed in a God, a spiritual heaven occupied by disembidied beings and a moral law not of man’s invention. If Thomas Jeferson were with us today he would not be friendly to Hitchen’s atheistic materialsim. Nor would he count them as something worth fussing over as most of Hitchen’s moral views are derived from the “poisonous” traditions he ridicules.

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By Shenonymous, October 5, 2007 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Lee, what’s going on?  First notice about MMC new post on TD, then yours which says banned from CD???  Naw, CD doesn’t ban, our dicussion is live and well.  Did you mean something else?  I don’t want to come back here to discuss anything but it is a way to get message to various e-persons.  See you back at our CD place.

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By Leefeller, October 5, 2007 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Anyone out there?  Been banned from common dreams.org or at least cannot get in, must have something to do with being to common?  Well, if any can reply here feel free, otherwise so long heritics.

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By Shenonymous, September 9, 2007 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you… doesn’t always make anybody love you.  It isn’t wise to put too much stock into anyone, unless you know them really really well and then sometimes it still doesn’t merit commitment. That may be cynical but must check things out (as you did John), if there is anything that is reasonable and worthy, then integrate it into your own thinking. Throw the rest away.  No one is worth reverence.  Hitchens has some good spots and some that are not.  For instance, I totally disagree with him on Iraq, but I agree that religion poisons.  You are welcome to join our conversation at
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/28/2149/ 
TD seems to have truncated some of us so we moved.  This one may not make it.

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By John Borowski, September 9, 2007 at 5:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I purchased the CDs in reference to Religion Poisons Everything. At the time, I was impressed by his courage to use verity to analyze religion despite the harm (Physical and economic) that could come to him. In retrospect, my opinion has changed. I saw him on C-span2 and discovered a few flaws in his make-up. In his past, he was a commie and now he is an atheist. (To be his worst enemy, be his best friend) He showed his Washington DC apartment facing the avenue that is used for presidential parades and in full view of the important buildings in Washington DC. Do you really believe that an apartment like that (An assassin’s fantasy dream nest) would be rented to anybody without a thorough background check by the FBI? His track record of being an ex-commie, and an atheist would prevent him from ever renting that type of apartment. The supposition I now have is that he is a Trojan horse. Most likely, he feels that the classes below on the pecking order that he considers as garbage threatens the ruling class in Great Britain (He is from there). His game plan is to attack the leaders of this “garbage” to emasculate them. Many British have a low opinion of Americans. In World War 2, Hitler felt that the one hope he had of winning the war was that the British and American generals would go at each other’s throat. This almost happened when the British general Montgomery pissed off the American generals. General Eisenhower told London either Montgomery goes or he goes. After London took Montgomery to the woodshed, the shaky peace was restored. It was nearing the final act in World War 2 and the British didn’t want anything to circumvent it.

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By Shenonymous, August 28, 2007 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

I’m trying too.  Billy, you are sorely missed.  I’ll be surprised if this gets in.  See #96543.

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By Leefeller, August 28, 2007 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Hey Billy,

If you are still around, come on over to the other site. Michael is still doing his gonad brain routine, and it’s taking it’s toll on me old sanity.  (Not really, but it would be great for your input)

Heineken please

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By Rob, August 28, 2007 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

nf

You sound like a chap we would enjoy sharing a conversation with.  Scroll down to the address of the common dreams site and join us.

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By nf, August 26, 2007 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

It amazes me that this thread is still alive.  It is apparent to this anti-theist that it is self evident that believers have a deficiency in their logic and reasoning abilities.  The best that can be done is to explain to them why believing in the nonsense preached by a Jim Jones, David Kore sh, L Ron Hubbard and yes Jesus Christ is silly and insulting to thinking people. To go further is an apparent waste of time.  Until such time that religious indoctrination of children by their parents is declared child abuse and illegal, and that this idea is observed world wide, we are doomed to a life of terror and subservience to the religious crowd. After all, they are in the majority.

What is also amazing is that the vast majority of people fully enjoy and are enamored of the technological acchievments (air and ground travel, electronics, medical, astronomical, etc) produced by the brightest of human beings, yet when 93% of the members of the national academy of science (according to Richard Dawkins) admit to being atheist, the majority of the populace chooses instead to follow the teachings of idiots like Jerry Falwell.

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By Rob, August 23, 2007 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

Leefeller,

I am every man who strains against the shackles of religion and intolerance.  I have seen enough in my life to be leary of all revelations visited upon believers in their dreams.  I am every women who struggles against injustice and cruelty invoked by mankind and presented by god(s).

I am the conscience of this world and not the insanity.  I am a human being, slanted in ways that ask for answers to be grounded in love of life in this world.

I know goodness when I see it and I want more.  I am an elephant headed for extinction and I am not afraid.  What a short time life is and yet I have been here all my life.  Suicide is not the answer to life, but rather a life spent in the sunshine of responsibility and virtue.

I am as sure that religion does harm as I am that it is untrue. I would like to have pointy ears. And a blue eye and a green eye. 
Thank you Bertrand Russel…l

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By Leefeller, August 22, 2007 at 10:39 pm Link to this comment

Rob,

Do you happen to have pointy ears and two eyes?

Met some person named Antichrist who reminds me very much of you.
The elephnts have not died, they just went to clean water.

Clear water tea

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By Rob, August 22, 2007 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

I came back to this site much as a herd of elephants linger around a dead family member.  I don’t know why the site was so poorly attended, or why so many posts were destroyed?  I enjoyed the dialogue and gained some sense of community about the ideas we expressed.

I know all good things must end, but it still is bittersweet.  I feel we may never come this way again.  As an atheist, I have prepared myself for the end and fear it not.  Still I hate to linger with the dead elephants.  They seem to know and yet they are not afraid.  So as I go into that gentle night, I say some of us did like it here.  Thank you Bertrand Russel…l

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By Shenonymous, August 22, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

One last try, have they shut down the thread?  Billy are you still there?  Are we dead?  Naw, try the CommonDream site.  We are swinging. See us at
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/28/2149/

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By Leefeller, August 21, 2007 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

If any of you Hitchen the Kilts posters are out there in computer land.  Give She’s idea a try, I did and it did not hurt.  Mid Drift Mike will get to meet anitichrist, who does not seem as bad as he sounds. (could pass for Billy)

Truthdrug may have run it’s course for this tread, they may be running out of space, clabber space that is.

Unyun soop and Baggles

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By Shenonymous, August 21, 2007 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, you seem to be the only one getting in. hahahaha…funny if this one does???  Try this BTD, et al

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/28/2149/

And there are only four posts there!  It would be sort of like a preemptive strike
From an Unyun - SM

Spumoni

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By Leefeller, August 21, 2007 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

All right one more testy, testy.

Will try to sand this windy article just because.  Same logic Republicns like Marsheal use for any arguments. 

Have attempted to sand a post against religion, which I found very interesting.  But every attempt was lost into nevernever land. This poster talked about remembering and what he called “basic human intellectual laziness” he starts out describing the new child being an intelectually gifted being and we end up with a creature with an ever more narrow stultified brane and consciousness, tyen incapable of an origional thought.  All by rigidly enforced dictums of his religious faith.  The individul goes on to becomes devoid of the abi8lity to think altogether and can only remember.  He ends by saying the individual can accumulate knowledge, but cannot do anything useful with i, unless it conforms with the imbecilities forced on him by his religion.

I usually like to type in my word processor, but instead did the whole thing in the Trutdog box, which is way to small for me eyes.  The above concept is interesting, because I agree with the premise but not how he got there.

Well here goes

another cup of coffee

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By Leefeller, August 21, 2007 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

She,

Must say the fun is less if, we cannot post anything over a few small paragraphs.

The blacklisting as others call it on the rest of Trughdog (windy kilt wearing Chompers really has been screaming)  does question integrity from this site. 

Checked out the Common Dreams site and could not find a Hitching post with any threads.  Did find Good Riddance Turd Blossom
by Garrison Keillor, though, the title seems approriate, but the article really is not.

Well better go, I may be exceeding my word quota and this may not make it.

sunflower seeds

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By Downwind, August 21, 2007 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

She,

Leefeller here
Could not find any Hitchens,  articles with threads? ” Good Riddance Turd Blossom”  by Garrison Keillor.  The name fits, but not the subject.  Articles seem to be political in “Common Dream”,  did not find any seems to fit in me mnd, but will keep looking,

You are correct an open forum is geat,  it is was fun having Chompers drip by with his windy disertations on reincarnation, the 7 sheets to the wind and I forgot what else.  The open post is important

But could be a stepping stone or temp?

Cherrios and Beer.

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By Shenonymous, August 21, 2007 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

Sort of like fascist hitmen…Whatever happened to freedom of speech. CommonDreams has no limit.  You should see how long some of them are. We should find a Hitchens article there and go forward??? Anyone up for it?

Magpie

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By Shenonymous, August 21, 2007 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

Worried about Hemi and Billy, looks like MMC and Leefeller are making it. My short one too.  Maybe if we break up comments into small bits and send however many it takes to get message across?  Going to another forum kind of defeats my purpose of having it open to any and all.  We might get somewhat inbred otherwise.  What other forums are you posting to?

I was able to preview this one.  Weird.

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By Leefeller, August 20, 2007 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Hitchen Posters,

We could create an Unyun Hitchin Post at Google? If you want to remain agronomist’s, (I have had to work with them)  you can change to a different name email address?  You can reach me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), my last name is Guy. Now all I have to do is check?

Truthdig has become strangedig, at least annoying.

Yes, sleepytime tea

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By Leefeller, August 20, 2007 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

All right, I think they are nicking us on the number of words, my other post did not go through, it was not up to Chomper’s windy stuff, but it was a lot bigger than these, if this one get’s through?

Homomade Strawberry Icecream

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By Leefeller, August 20, 2007 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

Oh! Now it works?

Fresh garden tomatoes and grass fed burgers.

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By Leefeller, August 20, 2007 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment

She,

For the last couple of days, we have been audited or not posted, the problem or cause has not been brought to our attention.  This seems to be all over Truthdig.

I suspect they are trying to keep some posters short?

When I hit preview it acts like it submits and does not post.

Truthdig or someone else is causing this to happen, I think it is Mid drift Mike!

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By Shenonymous, August 20, 2007 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

Hi all, I’m trying to return to the forum, but it isn’t working right.  Leefeller got in somehow.  Anyone know what’s wrong?

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By Leefeller, August 20, 2007 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Ok folks,

I have tried to post several different posts, but when I tried to preview they say I submitted them?  Then they did not come up.  If they did you will have three of the same posts. 

Maybe I am becoming as windy as Chompers and Truthdig is culling my posts.  Oh well!

Second cup of coffee

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By Leefeller, August 19, 2007 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Billy,

Your words paint more than a few pictures.

“Spear-stabbed Jesus Jackets with nail-hole gloves and sneekers, a hat-0-thorns (seasonably adjustable with halo or horns depending on the weather), Jesus Jeans and, most importantly, Randall Terry Facial-Diapers!”

Needed that!

Iniie and outie burger with Unyun and fries

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By Rob, August 18, 2007 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Mike.

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By Leefeller, August 18, 2007 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Not tied to the Hitchen post but,

Do not know how Hitchen’s would feel about this, but,

I bet we could make a killing (maybe for real)  designing and marketing a humblepie Jesus Jacket, we could all become wealthy or cease to exist depending on the market. 

What would an Avowing Atheist jacket look like? We could get Hitchen’s to be our poster guy.

For Michael we could have an up the arse fence post agnostic jacket.  How about Berka’s for Moslem men, it could have a hat that looks like the hard hat with two bottles of beer, instead it would have two claw hammers on springs.  Hitchen’s writes about some of the problems Moslem men have, this may help them see the light.


There is a Moslem lady making a killing on Berka swim suits. (Not bee keepers suits) they look more like the old 1880’s swim fashions.

Natural no bee keepers suits not smoke, wild crazy man
Real bee honey

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By Rob, August 18, 2007 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Mike Mid-City

I am the antichrist and I do get to define my impression of you.  The reason for using the bible to discuss christianity is that there is no other body of work to define your beliefs in imaginary people. 

It is easy diatribe to say that I just haven’t read the bible with the right understanding.  You would think that the creator of your universe could make his book more coherent.  jesus was obviously illiterate and never wrote anything down.  The only thing his father could writewas his ten commandments and what wonderful laws to live by those turned out to be. 

Christopher Hitchens was way too kind in his assessment of religion.  He failed to mention the incredulous, copius amounts of treasure spent everyday on new bigger better churches in this country.  Or the free ride churches enjoy without so much as a morsel of taxes paid.

To pity me is to waste your time, but you were taught to do that at the weekly ho-downs on god’s day of rest.  Did you know we had “blue-laws” in my city until 1996.  It took Wal-Mart, that other bastion of humanity, to break them up.  For those of you that don’t know “blue laws” they were set up to prohibit, under penalty of law, items from being purchased on sundays.  Seems god not only needed the rest, but hated the sound of cash registers on his day off.  That’s why he don’t use cash registers in churchs.  And usually there is soft cloth in the bottom of the offereing plate so the coins don’t make a sound.  (That’s where the phrase “hush money” comes from).  You could buy nothing before 12 o’clock on sunday and weird items after 12.  No toothbrush on sunday, but toothpaste after 12.  Wal-Mart started by placing a rope down the aisle to separate the ‘can buy’ items from the ‘can’t buy’ items. I kid you not.  The jesus freaks were responsible for this insanity.  Finally, the gods of Wal-Mart prevailed and now we can buy toilet paper on sunday.  Nothing says ‘jesus’ like a freshly wiped bottom.

If I appear ‘wed’ to your bible, think what you would do if atheists had a book.

I noticed that following a plea to all atheists to join the scientology plan for life that we weren’t getting posted.  jesus can only put up with so much, I suppose. 

Thank you, Mark Twain.

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By Leefeller, August 17, 2007 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

How the Hitchen’s are you, I figure this is a off topic testy to see if I can beat the crawler. 

Hitchen’s Hitchen’s

Hitch up those damn kilts and make a dash for the spider, god damn those heretics or just the heck with them anyway. 


How about some

Moth Balls

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By Hemi*, August 17, 2007 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Lee,

“Religion Poisons Everything” and then they use a “web crawler/internet spider” to eliminate off topic comments.

Spider Chow

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By Leefeller, August 17, 2007 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Hi Folks,

Some of the posts are coming out with text of post just the name of the poster, are you guys getting this or is it my computer or is Truthdig becoming Truthdog?

It is not just happening to the Hitchen Post but others as well

Moring cup of coffee and a trumpet

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By Leefeller, August 16, 2007 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Jeff,

Some of my posts have come out like yours, your point is well taken, but not sure I agree.

Grapefrut, pepper salad with rasins, dates and nuts

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By Jeff, August 16, 2007 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All,

I appreciate the natural distaste you all have for religion.  I suggest that the answer to society’s woes is not to do away with it, but to embrace a refined version. 

Religion is antiquated – restrained by its own doctrine.  But should we ignore the intuitive notion that we are all immortal spiritual beings?  A civilization without insanity, without criminals, and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights – These are the aims of Scientology.  The processes of Scientology deliver sound, relevant solutions that appeal to the believer and nonbeliever, alike. 

We, like the atheist, demand that no beliefs should be forced as “true” on anyone. What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. Thus, the tenets of Scientology are expected to be tested and seen to either be true or not by Scientology practitioners. 

I’ve read through many of your posts and I deduce that the transition from atheist to Scientologist would be a natural process.  Enlightenment is advertised in many faiths; Scientology is the only method that delivers. 

Jeff

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By Hemi*, August 16, 2007 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Mike Mid-City,

Your apology is accepted and I offer you mine.
It takes two to argue. (At least let’s hope so.)
You are still as big a person as I first imagined.
Let’s agree to disagree and continue our thread
connection as amiably as possible.

Like the Amish say:

“Too soon we grow old, too late we grow smart.”

Thanks Mike, you’re a mensch!

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By Rob, August 16, 2007 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

I can not tell you how incredulous I am when I read that religion is evolving and the pope might come to see that women and homosexuals are indeed human beings, and jesus is just misunderstood and all that christians ever wanted was love and to be understood!

First, as Christopher Hitchens says without stuttering, religion poisons everything. 

Let’s first agree on a definition of christianity and god and the bible so that we are all on the same page.  The very least that should be said of a christian is that he ‘believes’ that jesus is the son of god and was sent here to absolve us of our sin to seek knowledge.  Are all you christians with me so far?  If not, do not read any further.  You are not a christian. 

Now the above assertion implies that you ‘believe’ in a god and his son.  You can not have jesus without his father.  Where did you ever hear of this jesus h crist?  The only source is the jewish/gentile bible.  No other historian was drugged up enough to writesuch fantastical stories.

Bear with me for a little longer.  This concludes that this bible is either the word of god or it is not.  Because we find much of it pure filth and nonsensical jibberish does not mean you get to pick the parts you like and don’t like.  I know you don’t want to own up to the bible as being written by the creator of your universe, but its your only source for knowing jesus and his father, god almighty.

Now add to this insult that you have not read the bible as a book and that you resent the fact that many non-believers such as myself have read it and you can see how incredulous I am with your view of jesus as your moral guide.

I can imagine that the criticism of the above road to logic and rational thought will be that I dare use the words of the very book you are betting eternity on.

There is ‘No’ jesus except the one in the bible and reconstucting jesus in your own image is unexceptable.  May I so humbly suggest that you abandon the bible and ‘that’ jesus and start all fresh with another super-human.  Give him a name that doesn’t come from the ‘good book.’  Give him your name perhaps.  You can’t hold a straw to the atrocities carried out by the former.

And Stay away from our children.  Their minds have enough to straighten out as it is.

How’s that for an atheist’s point of view?  Indeed.  Thank you Charles Bradlaugh.

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By -Michael, August 16, 2007 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Re:  #95455 by Hemi* on 8/16 at 10:49 am

Hemi:

Interesting.  I always thought the phrase meant “an unattainable prize”.  It seems that the proper definition is much more ominous.

Re:  Our discussion -  I think that regardless of the originality and practicality of the ideas, there is usually an opening to collect something useful.  Even the most mundane conversations can hold a gem of wisdom. 

Cheese soup (in one of those hollowed-out rye bread bowls)  - Michael

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By Hemi*, August 16, 2007 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Michael,

Here we are fervently discussing pro/con Bible what ifs. At times I find myself distracted by the process and then the thoughts resurface that reform is slow, people like their comfort zones and I am not the first to have these thoughts. So, I’m thinking our discussion is very “pie in the sky”. Then I started thinking what does that phrase really mean, am I using it correctly?

I looked up the history of the phrase. It originated with the “Wobblies”, the Industrial Workers of the World organization from around 1905. (That sparked a few dim memories from high school history! And no, not the Class of ‘05!) The story is the labor group had a songbook of parodies of popular songs and hymns that were used in their rallies etc… At this same time the Salvation Army was actively trying to save the souls of unemployed laborers, most of whom were literally hungry. The laborers had the attitude of forget saving our souls, if you want to help us give us something to eat. The Salvationists were said to have been unwaveringly focused on the soul saving and promoting that the workers would get their rewards in heaven for having suffered on earth.

Following are partial lyrics to the “The Preacher and the Slave”, a parody of the Salvation Army hymn, In the Sweet Bye and Bye, where the phrase “pie in the sky” originated. The writer of the lyrics is recorded as IWW notable Joe Hill, a Swedish-born immigrant to the USA.

Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
But when asked how ‘bout something to eat
They will answer with voices so sweet:

CHORUS:
You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.


And so the meaning is:

“A promise of heaven, while continuing to suffer in this life.” – phrases.org.uk

Thanks to http://www.worldwidewords.org and http://www.phrases.org.uk as sources of this information.

I found this interesting in that the meaning intersects our discussion. (I had in mind that it meant something like “under optimum conditions”.) You and the others might have already known of this, I just thought it was an interesting bit to share.

Cheese Doodles

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By -Michael, August 16, 2007 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Re:  #95224 by Hemi* on 8/15 at 2:29 pm

“Yes, but [JF] gains cred… …based on unsound morals also contained in the scriptures.”

It’s sadly true that JF had a substantial following.  I furtively dream that there is a heaven and JF is met by St. Peter who has his arm around his (after)life partner, Liberace (who is gleefully playing a pleasant welcome-to-heaven melody).

Religious-America is in the midst of a painfully slow evolution towards respect, dignity and acceptance of other-than-white-Christian-heterosexual-non disabled-males.  I agree that the Bible has been used as a powerful tool to perpetuate intolerance.  The very same Bible, however, has been used to break down these barriers.
If history is an indicator, the church (Pope John Paul IV?) will eventually develop an enlightened understanding of the Golden Rule.  Females and homosexuals will share equal status with their hetero-male counterparts (I have a dream).

Who can argue?  There are a plethora of astute theologians and laypersons who wrestle with the controversial teachings of the Bible.  I lament that their voice is not more resonant.   

Green eggs and ham   - Michael

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By -Michael, August 16, 2007 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Re:  #95230 by Billy the Dik on 8/15 at 2:55 pm

Enthusiastically accepted.  I look forward to a dry pillow on which to lay my weary nugget tonight.

Sleepytime herbal tea   - Michael

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