Holy %&$#, There Are Two of Them!

HitchSquared

Christopher Hitchens has a brother!? And (wait for it…) they often disagree about things. How they can handle discussing three different opinions (one from Peter and probably two from Christopher), I don’t know.

Anyway, Peter Hitchens has an article in today’s Daily Mail (UK) where he talks about his brother’s book God is Not Great.

He gives a little background:

Christopher is an atheist. I am a believer. He once said in public: “The real difference between Peter and myself is the belief in the supernatural.

“I’m a materialist and he attributes his presence here to a divine plan. I can’t stand anyone who believes in God, who invokes the divinity or who is a person of faith.”

I don’t feel the same way. I like atheists and enjoy their company, because they agree with me that religion is important.

I liked and enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anybody who is interested in the subject. Like everything Christopher writes, it is often elegant, frequently witty and never stupid or boring.

I also think it is wrong, mostly in the way that it blames faith for so many bad things and gives it no credit for any of the good it may have done.

I think it misunderstands religious people and their aims and desires. And I think it asserts a number of things as true and obvious that are nothing of the sort.

After that, it quickly becomes apparent which brother has the brains in the family.

It is astonishing, in one so set against the idea of design or authority in the universe, how often he appeals to mysterious intuitions and “innate” knowledge of this kind, and uses religious language such as “awesome” – in awe of whom or what?

Or “mysterious”. What is the mystery, if all is explained by science, the telescope and the microscope? He even refers to “conscience” and makes frequent thunderous denunciations of various evil actions.

Where is his certain knowledge of what is right and wrong supposed to have come from?

Because without God, we’d all just be shooting up the streets and raping everyone we come across. We do have an innate set of morals, and we simply learn them from living within a society.

Two pages later, speaking for atheists in general, he announces: “Our belief is not a belief.”

To which one can only reply: “Really? And that thing in the middle of your face. I suppose that’s not a nose, either?”

And not collecting stamps is a hobby. And bald is a hair color.

Yet Christopher repeatedly asserts that believers “claim to know”, not just to know, but to know everything. This simply is not true. Nor do we take the Bible literally.

Ken Ham. Enough said.

There was one line I did like, though:

Much of his book is devoted to claiming that religious impulse drives Man to do, or excuse, or support wicked and terrible things in the name of goodness.

Is this not a perfect description of the Iraq War, which he backed?

Zing!

The full article is here.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail, God is Not Great, God, Bible, Ken Ham, Iraq War[/tags]

  • Richard Wade

    First Peter makes two statements characterizing atheists as claiming they know everything scientifically and morally:

    Or “mysterious”. What is the mystery, if all is explained by science, the telescope and the microscope? … Where is his certain knowledge of what is right and wrong supposed to have come from?

    Then he makes this complaint:

    Yet Christopher repeatedly asserts that believers “claim to know”, not just to know, but to know everything. This simply is not true. Nor do we take the Bible literally.

    So it’s okay for Peter to characterize atheists as “know-it-alls” but it’s not okay for anyone to characterize believers as “know-it-alls.”

    The stereotypes that many (not all) on both sides endlessly repeat about the others are much more ridiculous and bizarre than any far-fetched theology. Many (not all) on both sides say, “Oh, they all do this,” or “Oh they all think that way,” and that little word “all” dooms the conversation to eventual diatribe and failure to promote cooperation. Dialogues that could result in actual progress in social problems are handicapped by all the absurd things people throw back and forth at each other, which have little or nothing to do with the actual problem or it’s solution. Bicker, bicker, bicker.

    Both brothers are doing it.

  • Ash

    i agree, but i prefer this example

    so certain of his, er, faith that he wars with bitter mockery against those who doubt his truth.

    followed shortly by

    That is practical atheism. Those who follow it probably cannot even spell it.

  • Richard Wade

    Brother against brother, trading hurtful insults and not much understanding. What a sadly accurate model of the world at large.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    I can’t stand anyone who believes in God, who invokes the divinity or who is a person of faith.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could all eventually get past the need to despise and exclude others simply because we disagree with them?

    I feel sorry for both Hitchens brothers. What other dysfunction must have gone on in their family that philosophical disagreements are more important than familial love? I guess in this case at least blood is not thicker than water.

  • Richard Wade

    Even Hemant is doing the eager invective and the stereotyping right here.

    After that, it quickly becomes apparent which brother has the brains in the family.

    It’s not apparent to me which is the more foolish when they both use their intelligence mainly to get better and better at misunderstanding and misrepresenting each other’s position.

    Because without God, we’d all just be shooting up the streets and raping everyone we come across.

    That’s a straw man extreme characterization. I don’t think that’s what Peter was saying.

    Ken Ham. Enough said.

    That’s stereotyping. It’s not enough said at all. Only a minority of Christians are literalists.

    If we atheists don’t like the asinine stereotypes and fallacious arguments used against us we first have to stop using them against others, and stop living up to some of them. Like arrogant, snide hostile, and as demonstrated here, hypocritical. Clean up your own side of the street before you complain about the mess on the other side.

  • Ash

    i dunno that this is true

    What other dysfunction must have gone on in their family that philosophical disagreements are more important than familial love?

    but maybe their brotherly love and familiarity with each other has just worked against them in this case. i disagree with a lot that my brothers do/say, and yeah, sometimes i use cheap insults against them (it’s mutual). however, if an outsider did the same, i would defend them, and that’s mutual too.
    it cheapens both their opinions to squabble publicly though.

  • http://secularstudentslb.wordpress.com Sean

    Christopher is much better looking. And that is what counts!

  • Darryl

    What other dysfunction must have gone on in their family that philosophical disagreements are more important than familial love?

    We don’t know how these brothers feel about each other, just about how they argue. If such arguments are signs of familial dysfunction, then who among the passionate and opinionated are not dysfunctional? If your role in life is to be the intellectual writer I do not expect you to restrain your passionate devotion to your ideas because of your love for anyone, or your sense of obligation to anyone, including family members. Who would say that the treasured writings of any of our great minds are less important than their familial love, their friendships, their romances–any of the mundane relations? If we want to get some insight into why Hitch is the way he is, then of course go rummaging through his family life; but, my interest in the man concerns his thoughts, and what value they may have. It appears that he’s no ‘family values’ kind of fella, but so what? Look at the personal lives of some of history’s mega-minds and ask yourself if their ideas ought to be in some way rated by an ethic. Some of our greatest and most influential artists were tortured souls that were difficult to abide. That’s a price anyone should be willing to accept.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Disagreeing and arguing is one thing. But saying that you “can’t stand” your brother because of his beliefs does seem to indicate a deeper dysfunction to me. I disagree with my family members on lots of things – some of which I hold to very passionately – but I would never say that I “can’t stand” them because of those disagreements.

    Among Christians we sometimes have this saying “Love the sinner, hate the sin” that I think might be applicable here. Hitch’s approach seems to simply be “Hate the sin and the sinner… even if he’s your brother.”

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    We do have an innate set of morals,

    BTW, the link you gave to “Reciprocal Altruism” is interesting. The terminology seems like an oxymoron to me. How is it “altruism” if you’re doing it in hopes of getting something in return? That’s not ethics, it’s economics.

  • monkeymind

    CHRIS: Hey bro, I’m trying to move the merchandise: this time it’s a book slamming religion. Can you do a “2 brothers divided over belief in God” piece for one of the dailies?

    PETE: Sure bro, anything for you!

    That’s my fantasy anyway.

  • Ash

    Mike C. – okay, i take your point and agree that it’s valid, but not knowing either of them, it’s hard to know whether christopher would say that directly to peter, or whether it’s a crass generalization that looks good in print. let’s face it, christopher is trying to sell a book, and he’s probably well aware that he’ll sell more copies if he can create publicity – which is more likely to happen with controversy than the softly-softly approach.
    i’m glad peter responded as ‘a witness for the defence’ as it were, but to respond in kind…? maybe they’re both in on it lol…

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Mike C. – okay, i take your point and agree that it’s valid, but not knowing either of them, it’s hard to know whether christopher would say that directly to peter, or whether it’s a crass generalization that looks good in print. let’s face it, christopher is trying to sell a book, and he’s probably well aware that he’ll sell more copies if he can create publicity – which is more likely to happen with controversy than the softly-softly approach.
    i’m glad peter responded as ‘a witness for the defence’ as it were, but to respond in kind…? maybe they’re both in on it lol…

    Good point. It’s really not my place to judge their relationship. Chris probably didn’t have his brother specifically in mind when he said he couldn’t stand believers. And I don’t think monkeymind’s scenario above is too far-fetched either to be honest. :)

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Christopher is much better looking. And that is what counts!

    It’s a wash.

    I don’t care what anyone says they believe or pretends they know, I care about what they do.

    It’s really kind of instructive how many people are willing to forgive Chris Hitchens support of the Iraq invasion and occupation because he said some nasty things about Falwell. For too many people life starts with what they saw on MyTube last month. The guy is slime, has been slime and barring some kind of lightening striking will remain the piece of slime he’s always been. I don’t care what his brother says, it doesn’t change what Hitchens has done.

  • Ash

    why bring iraq into it? bush + blair gave the orders – they’re both christians – does that make iraq a christian war? i think not.

    f.y.i., i don’t support it, i don’t like the fact that anyone does (but i’d love an alternative solution…just coz we’ve fucked things up worse doesn’t mean things weren’t fucked in the 1st place), i just didn’t realise that was the issue here. does the fact i don’t drink tea or coffee mean i can’t be an atheist anymore?

  • Darryl

    Among Christians we sometimes have this saying “Love the sinner, hate the sin”

    This notion is just as ideal and just as unrealistic as Jesus’s teaching that his disciples were to turn the other cheek when struck in the face, and repay evil with good. What they hold in common is this: almost nobody does them. Our system of criminal justice could not possibly function by this notion, or anything like it. Neither could our economic system. Show me someone that loves while condemning–not mere talk about love, but love in action, and I’ll show you someone who operates at the margins of our culture, and is considered exceptional.

  • monkeymind

    Show me someone that loves while condemning–not mere talk about love, but love in action, and I’ll show you someone who operates at the margins of our culture, and is considered exceptional.

    I think that describes Jesus very well.

  • Richard Wade

    The dysfunction in the brothers’ family is beside the point. Christopher’s backing of the Iraq fraud is beside the point. The most important issue here is what Ash pointed out,

    let’s face it, christopher is trying to sell a book, and he’s probably well aware that he’ll sell more copies if he can create publicity – which is more likely to happen with controversy than the softly-softly approach.

    The only reason we’re discussing Chris Hitchens at all is because he wrote a book on atheism. He has established a reputation for acidic sarcasm and it has sold other works of his. Now he wants to expand his niche to be the Don Rickles of atheism. Clever put-downs are funny to a certain percent of the population; the same people who find watching someone burn their hand on a hot object funny. Ha ha. So in the short term, peppering his writing with inventive venom will sell his books but in the longer term they weaken the impact of any intelligent arguments he may have in there as well. By going for the cheap shot laughs he may have traded away the chance for writing something that could be a classic in exchange for a short-lived best seller.

    The real tragedy here is all the trees that gave up their lives to print both Christopher’s book and Peter’s newspaper article.

  • Bright

    Would just like to point out that just b/c Ken Ham and creationists take the bible literally doesn’t mean all believers do.

  • Donna

    You know Hermant, I agree with some of what Hitchens brother says. Not everyone appreciates C. Hitchens brash and intolerant approach. It seems like you automatically dislike the brother just b/c he doesn’t agree with his brother and you. In your book you talk about breaking stereotypes, but what did you just do here? I thought you were supposed to be friendly????? I thought you understood that the stereotypes on both sides are often wrong. I agree with what Richard Wade said: If we atheists don’t like the asinine stereotypes and fallacious arguments used against us we first have to stop using them against others, and stop living up to some of them. Like arrogant, snide hostile, and as demonstrated here, hypocritical. Clean up your own side of the street before you complain about the mess on the other side.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    This notion is just as ideal and just as unrealistic as Jesus’s teaching that his disciples were to turn the other cheek when struck in the face, and repay evil with good.

    I prefer “fucking crazy”, but either way, you’re quite right. :D ;)

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    He has established a reputation for acidic sarcasm and it has sold other works of his. Now he wants to expand his niche to be the Don Rickles of atheism. Clever put-downs are funny to a certain percent of the population; the same people who find watching someone burn their hand on a hot object funny.

    I remember the kids like that in Junior High. They were the ones that nobody really liked, but were afraid to cross for fear of become the next target of ridicule.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Would just like to point out that just b/c Ken Ham and creationists take the bible literally doesn’t mean all believers do.

    From Wikipedia:

    According to a 2006 Gallup poll,[33] about 46% of Americans believe in strict creationism, concurring with the statement that “God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years,”

    Not 46% of Christians, saying the world is Americans.

    It’s not ALL Christians that take Genesis literally. But in the US, I’d say it’s the majority. And that’s not counting day/age creationists, many of which take Genesis as being just as literal, but allow for time flexibility by the point of view of God.

  • Aj

    I don’t believe Peter Hitchens could be so ignorant of his brother’s views that he could write that review. Not only that, I find it hard to believe he could be so ignorant of atheist thought, to use some of those arguments.

    At the time of this revelation, he knew nothing of the vast, unending argument between those who maintain that the shape of the world is evidence of design, and those who say the same world is evidence of random, undirected natural selection.

    There is no evidence of design. The argument never started.

    Atheism does not require faith.
    Awe and mystery do not require the supernatual.

    It doesn’t matter where morals come from, if we don’t know, you certainly don’t either. Yet we have a good idea, some morals evolved while our brains did.

    @Richard Wade

    That’s a straw man extreme characterization. I don’t think that’s what Peter was saying.

    What do you think a world without morals would be like? That’s exactly what Peter is saying:

    Where is his certain knowledge of what is right and wrong supposed to have come from?

    How can the idea of a conscience have any meaning in a world of random chance, where in the end we are all just collections of molecules swirling in a purposeless confusion?

    If you are getting inner promptings, why should you pay any attention to them? It is as absurd as the idea of a compass with no magnetic North. You might as well take moral instruction from your bile duct.

    Lets ask our imaginary friend instead? Read a book written by men a few thousand years ago? Imagine what an all powerful intelligence that created the universe, but we have no evidence for, would like us to do?

  • @bc

    As soon as I read “Because athiests agree with me: religion is important.” I stopped reading.

    http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2007/06/the_world_according_to_genesis_2.php

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    You know Hermant, I agree with some of what Hitchens brother says. Not everyone appreciates C. Hitchens brash and intolerant approach. It seems like you automatically dislike the brother just b/c he doesn’t agree with his brother and you.

    To Donna and others– Believe me, I don’t agree with a lot of what Chris Hitchens says. And when I mentioned Ken Ham, I am well aware there are many Christians who don’t take the literal view of Genesis (I’ve said that several times on this blog), though as Siamang points out, nearly half the country does agree with Ken Ham.

    I do think Peter Hitchens falls into some very easy-to-answer traps, though.

    When he asks where atheists get their morals from, that’s simply a bad question because the answer has been discussed ad nauseum, and still, people like him don’t get it.

    When Peter says atheism is a belief system, it’s as bad as someone saying atheism is a religion. It’s the very opposite of religion. He’s completely wrong when he implies otherwise.

    I don’t think I’m adding to stereotypes when I point out Peter’s mistakes. It’s not that I don’t like him because he’s on the other side of Hitchens. (There are plenty of people who comment on this blog that I disagree with, but respect greatly.) It’s that Peter makes some very, very poor arguments. He obviously doesn’t understand what it is he is so strongly against.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Monkeymind wrote:

    CHRIS: Hey bro, I’m trying to move the merchandise: this time it’s a book slamming religion. Can you do a “2 brothers divided over belief in God” piece for one of the dailies?

    You know Harry Houdini and his brother “Hardeen” played that game… each publicly challenging the other and saying “you stole my secrets”. The truth was, when Houdini was done with a trick and wanted to move on, he’d give it to his brother and teach it to him. They were really quite close.

  • Richard Wade

    Aj,
    I’m not sure if you’re arguing with Peter Hitchens or me. I’m not defending Peter; I disagree with just about everything he believes. But I’m going to disagree with what he actually says, not what somebody else interprets and extrapolates with great creativity and bias. If he doesn’t say we’ll all be raping and murdering without belief in his god then I’m not going to buy into somebody’s inference that that is what he means.

    I’m objecting to false, unfair and manipulative extreme characterizations of an opponent’s positions. Any opponent. It serves no one other than hate mongers of any persuasion. There are people in both camps who don’t give a rat’s ass about what’s true or fair or what will further their group’s interest. They’re only interested in venting their own childish anger, or worse in gathering profit and influence by peddling fear and loathing. We should repudiate that crap wherever we find it, and especially in our own midst. We don’t agree with somebody else? First stop doing what they do. It doesn’t matter that we oppose their views if we still use the same destructive, dishonest and self-defeating tactics.

  • Richard Wade

    Hemant,

    I don’t think I’m adding to stereotypes when I point out Peter’s mistakes.

    It’s not what you point out as his mistakes, I agree that they were mistakes. It’s how you do it sometimes that I’m objecting to. You know I love and respect what you do here. But once in a while you get sloppy, and just like me and anyone else you should be called on it.

    You used an extreme characterization of Peter’s stance about morals that didn’t follow at all from what he actually said, and I was disappointed to see you use such a cheap shot.

    When you said “Ken Ham. Enough said.” you let the unsaid implication hang there that they all agree with that. I know that your repartee would not have been as snappy if you had taken the time to say, “Well some Christians, as many as 46% in America take the Bible literally, such as Ken Ham.” You wanted it quick and clever, but the implication wasn’t fair or accurate. When someone says “Christians do XYZ,” the implication is that ALL Christians do XYZ. That’s just the way our language works. We have to take the time to qualify it every goddamn time and say “Some Christians do XYZ.”

    It doesn’t matter that we, your friends here know that you know the stereotype is false. Don’t repeat the stereotype just out of laziness or wanting it to be funny. I’m all for humor, satire and spoof, but not at the expense of accuracy or fairness.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    Richard– Fair enough. I do get sloppy sometimes at the expense of a quick joke. I’ll try to be more careful. There are ways to make the point without putting an umbrella over everyone. Thanks for your words.

  • Richard Wade

    Hugs all around! :)

  • Aj

    @Richard Wade

    If he doesn’t say we’ll all be raping and murdering without belief in his god then I’m not going to buy into somebody’s inference that that is what he means.

    He says that if we haven’t got a purpose, why should we obey our “inner promptings”. He thinks it doesn’t make sense to. Granted, he is not saying atheists would. He is saying he would, because he sees no reason to obey his morals without God.

    This assumes that when you don’t obey your morals, you would rape and kill. I accept that this might not be his belief. I think it’s reasonable to assume when he talks about morals, he’s talking about the things that tell us “stop”, when we’re thinking of killing someone.

    If he’s talking about some other morals, I think he needs to qualify what he means.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    The dysfunction in the brothers’ family is beside the point. Christopher’s backing of the Iraq fraud is beside the point. The most important issue here is what Ash pointed out,

    What Peter Hitchens said about his brother is going to be yesterday’s news by today. Christopher Hitchen’s inner life is about as important as what Paris Hilton thinks about anything. But what C. Hitchens has done politically in the United States gets people killed. That makes his Iraq invasion support important. .

    I’m glad to see that many above appreciate the bigger problem of attributing beliefs his brother might have and as his brother he can have some confidence bringing up. The problem with all of the stereotyping and attributions to groups instead of individuals is that it’s bigotry. Peter saying what his brother has said and even what he, as someone who knows him well, believes are his unstated motives are important only in that they provide some insight into Christopher Hitchens truly evil and malignant public life.

    If atheists want to improve their lot they should think over having a backstabbing egoist like Hitchens as a public face, as you can see from this article you’re going to end up having to answer for him. John Mortimer would have been a better choice, he’s smarter than Hitchens (or Dawinins or Harris) and his idea of fun is a lot better PR.

  • Ash

    olvlzl, no ism, no ist;-

    i’ve been thinking about what you said and my knee-jerk reaction to it, and i think i should explain myself further…

    atheists not being a club, we don’t get to pick our poster boy for it. i’d never before heard of chris hitchens, so i don’t know his political agenda, musical taste, or any other personal details. nor his brothers. i suspect however, that his pro-war stance (which incidentally, i have seen no support or sympathy for on these pages) has been used as a tool to undermine his views on faith precisely because it is so unpopular. as an atheist, i think it’s fairly important to qualify my lack of belief in individual terms, coz if you do what hitchens did, i.e. “WE atheists” you allow for people to judge everyone by one persons failings. for his brother to then point to iraq and claim chris only supports the war BECAUSE he’s an atheist is pretty damn galling, and you know at least some religious crazies are gonna buy into that.

    yes, chris hitchens views on iraq are important. yes they need to be addressed and hopefully changed. but to use it as an example of what atheism could do for you is just muddying the waters – i’d point to similarities with child-on-child murder, and the one time popularity of attributing this to listening to metal or watching a horror movie. a singular factor does not cause pre-meditated crime.

    also, how would you suggest we remove hitchens as a public face? denounce atheism? say atheism’s great, but you can only call yourself that if we approve of your political views? form a club which we can kick people out of? kinda kills the point doesn’t it?

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    but to use it as an example of what atheism could do for you is just muddying the waters

    That’s exactly my point. C. Hitchens words and actions should only reflect on him, not on atheists in general- a number of whom despise Hitch- and what “theists” or “xians” say or do should only reflect on them as individuals.

    How do you get out from under having Hitchens blamed on “atheists”? Good question, maybe by distancing yourselves from him? I’ve used the example of Farrakhan being pinned on every single black person who appeared in the media for months after he made those bigoted statements against Jews. If someone brought up Hitchens or other loud mouthed jerks I’d just keep pointing out that you didn’t say what they did or agree with it. I’d change the topic to his Iraq war mongering and love affair with cluster bombs for good measure.

    Treating people as if they were answerable for a group they are identified with involuntarily and the group as a whole being answerable for the excesses of any individual associated with it is the very definition of bigotry. It’s the bigotry that has to be opposed wherever it springs up, and these days it does in every group.

  • Richard Wade

    olvlzl, you and I agree on issues of bigotry as you so well defined above and the importance of repudiating it wherever we find it.

    I have only read excerpts of Chris Hitchens’ works, only seen two television interviews of him and mainly know anything about him only through other’s writings about him. I had never heard of him until a few months ago.

    From what I have read, seen and heard, I find him annoying and embarrassing.

    You call him slime, evil, malignant, backstabber, and jerk, and you have said similar things on other postings when he has come up. I’m not saying you’re wrong to feel so strongly; I’m sure you know a lot more about him than I do. I’d like to know what you know. Could you help me with some specific reasons why your opinions about him are so very strong?

  • Darryl

    olvlzl, no ism, no ist said,

    . . . what C. Hitchens has done politically in the United States gets people killed. That makes his Iraq invasion support important.

    The same could be said for any American, so it is a trivial point (or as Hitch would say—“silly point”)

    If atheists want to improve their lot they should think over having a backstabbing egoist like Hitchens as a public face, as you can see from this article you’re going to end up having to answer for him. John Mortimer would have been a better choice, he’s smarter than Hitchens (or Dawinins or Harris) and his idea of fun is a lot better PR.

    “Backstabbing egoist?” Who’s stabbing whom? Your assumption–atheists have Hitchens as a public face–is false. Hitch speaks for himself, just like any other atheist. I neither require nor seek an intellectual representative.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Darryl, are you familiar with what Hitchens said about The Nation and the people who worked there, his colleagues for years and years after he decided his future was with the neo-cons? George Galloway was as right about Hitchens as anyone has ever been.

    You don’t get the point about stereotyping and how members of minority groups get painted with what one of their number says? Read Peter Hitchens and you’ll find a good example at the end of the piece. Where he says that atheists end up worshiping Trotsky or others. That is exactly my point, individuals only have responsibility for what they have said and done but they are burdened with answering for other people simply because they are in the same minority. Like making all Christians responsible for what Falwell did and said, like Chris Hitchens did to widespread acclaim among SOME, SOME, of the anti-religious.

  • Darryl

    Darryl, are you familiar with what Hitchens said about . . . ?

    I don’t follow everything the man says; I don’t agree with everything he has said that I know about, and I don’t share his politics. His ethics and personal foibles are no concern of mine. His alcoholism is disappointing to some, but obviously not to him. I like him because he is himself, and he manages to stick his finger in the eye of anybody that he wants, and he makes me laugh and think as he does it.

    You don’t get the point about stereotyping and how members of minority groups get painted with what one of their number says?

    I get the point about stereotyping. What you need to know about me is that I can’t be responsible, and I won’t be, for others shoddy thinking. You are sensitive to stereotyping, but, don’t think to transfer that sensitivity or assume that everyone sees the world as you do. Besides atheism, Hitch and I share very little. No one that I know thinks of me when they hear him. I do not think your comments reflect upon anyone else but you, and I hope you would think the same for me. Your minority-group membership doesn’t add or subtract from the value of your statements, nor should it. You may judge me similarly.

  • Ash

    olvlzl, no ism, no ist -

    George Galloway was as right about Hitchens as anyone has ever been.

    great points, bad example.

    ewwwwwwww *shudders*

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    What you need to know about me is that I can’t be responsible, and I won’t be, for others shoddy thinking.

    You don’t have to take personal responsibilty but there might be times when you want to point out that you disagree with someone who is used as a poster boy of the group you are in, as Peter Hitchens has done with his own brother.

    Quite frankly, I’m kind of surprised more atheists aren’t condemning C. Hitchen’s frankly stated hatred of people who hold religious beliefs. That should certainly call into doubt anything he has to say on the subject. Would you trust anything Richard Butler said about Jews or Black people? Anything that Robertson or Dobson said about Atheists?

  • Richard Wade

    Quite frankly, I’m kind of surprised more atheists aren’t condemning C. Hitchen’s frankly stated hatred of people who hold religious beliefs.

    Maybe it’s like the majority of Christians who silently tolerated the bilious hate-mongering of Falwell for so long. Apathy, shortsightedness, lack of awareness of how much damage was being done to their reputation, something like that. I’m not sure how I personally could repudiate Hitchen’s negativity other than by not purchasing his books, or talking about it on a blog like this. Not that this gets that much public exposure.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    There are plenty of Christians who condemned Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, etc. I’m hard put to think of a Christian I know who hasn’t expressed disgust at them. If Falwell came right out and baldly stated that he hated people who were atheists I’d imagine there would be a lot of condemnation. He lied and said that he loved people even as he targeted them, which gets us back to looking at actions instead of words. Hitchens, with his support for mass slaughter has done considerably more than just express hatred, he’s doing what he can to get the policy put into effect.

  • Darryl

    Hitchens, with his support for mass slaughter has done considerably more than just express hatred, he’s doing what he can to get the policy put into effect.

    You’re beating a dead horse. Hitchens will wear this one like all the other stupid ideas that he’s had through his life. He’s got lots of company.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Darryl, a dead horse? You do read the papers. Bush is talking in terms of the Korea standoff and Hitchens still supports the invasion and occupation. And the same clique is trying to extend Bush War II into Iran. Turkey is talking about bombing the Kurds…..

    Unfortunate use of metaphore, it would seem. I think some positions can be so clearly wrong from the beginning, so irresponsible and bring such horrible results that taking that position should haunt someone for the rest of their public careers. Hundreds of thousands of dead people, the re-enslavement of Iraqi women, the ethnic purges that a lot of us predicted would make Hitchens support (which I have to point out was touted in the Kurtz comeon I just got for “Skeptical Inquirer”) should make anything his says worthless.

  • Darryl

    olvlzl, no ism, no ist,

    You belie your handle by your seeming-ideological ranting over Hitchens. The beating of the “dead horse” is your persistent castigation of views that no one is defending. As I said, Hitchens will wear this one, and so will we all. Don’t kid yourself, we’re all, in one way or another, to some extent, responsible for what is happening now in the middle east. We will all be haunted by these tragedies.

    . . . Hitchens support [of the war in Iraq] . . . should make anything his says worthless.

    That’s a silly notion. Try that out on anyone who’s work you admire–nobody’s a saint all the time. Woody Allen diddles little girls; so does Roman Polanski. Stravinsky was an arrogant patrician. Jackson Pollack was a hard-drinking son of a bitch. Richard Wagner was an antisemite. Bill Clinton is a sex addict. You can’t dismiss every product of a creative person because you detest one of them.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    My differences with Hitchens go back decades and are not about ideology, they are about his being a sociopath who supports policies that get a lot of people killed. I couldn’t care less about his blatherings on religion, ill informed and bigoted as those are. I even said here that he made a good point about Mother Teresa, that she should be judged on what she did and not her publicity. So, you see, I’m only applying a standard he has advocated for other people. That’s not ideology, that’s fairness.

  • Darryl

    My bullshitometer just pegged–I give up.

  • Maria
    There are plenty of Christians who condemned Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, etc.

    Very true. As for Hitchens, to me he comes across as someone who hates anyone who doesn’t agree with him.


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