Name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever.
Basically, it’s a rhetorical question. Everything religious people can do, non-religious people can do. So your religion doesn’t make you any more moral than the rest of us.
Christian blogger Amy Hall doesn’t think the question is fair, though, and she offers this response to the challenge:
As it happens, there is an answer to Hitchens’s question — one that seemed obvious to me immediately — and it illustrates perfectly the problem with the challenge. The highest moral good a person can do is to worship the living, true, sovereign God — to love Him with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength. Not only will no atheist ever do this, no atheist can do this. But of course, since they do not recognize worship as a real, valid moral good, no atheist would accept this response to Hitchens’s challenge. They necessarily reject it precisely because it correctly answers the challenge; because it succeeds, it fails. Any correct answer that exists will necessarily fail…
Of course, we can argue over whether worshiping God is a “moral” act. I don’t think it’s immoral, either, but doesn’t make a damn bit of difference? No.
Atheist Daniel Florien says something similar:
Atheists would not reject [Amy’s claim] because it “correctly answers the challenge” — they would reject it because the answer is built on unproven presuppositions — for instance, that there is a god, that this god is good and just and sovereign, that this god wants to be worshiped, and that to worship him is a moral action.
If she can prove the answer’s presuppositions, then I would agree Hitchens’s challenge has been answered. But until then, it remains.
What do you think: Is Hitchens’ question a fair one? Is Amy’s concern legitimate?