That beloved atheist Hitch is at it again. Perhaps you heard? He and Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had a public row about all things religion. A reported 2,600 people turned out Friday at Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall to hear these two gents.
Okay. Well, row might be too strong of a term. They had a public debate. But, hey, I’ve watched Parliment have a go at it on the telly. Those English people take their debates seriously. (We southerners came by our passion honestly.)
The two were sparing over whether religon has been a force for good or evil in the world.
I think a better question might be whether man has been a force for good or evil in the world.
My granny would likely have summed it up this way: six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. But a preliminary poll of audience members had them siding with Hitch. Sixty-eight percent said they think religion has been more of a destructive than benign force in the world.
Easy for them to say. They haven’t yet lived in the world where there is no God. That’s like the kid who says life would have been so much better if only their parents had divorced instead of bickered with each other all those years. Yeah? Tell that to the child whose parents are divorced, who thinks life would have been so much better if only the parents could have learned to work out their differences. Arguing about who has it worse or who has it better doesn’t change the reality of it for anyone. Hitch really ought to give it a rest. But I have to hand it to the good fellow, he does ask some rather probing questions:
“Is it good for the world to worship a deity that takes sides in wars and human affairs, to appeal to our fear and to our guilt – is it good for the world?” Hitchens said in his opening remarks. “To terrify children with the image of hell … to consider women an inferior creation. Is that good for the world?”
Of course, Hitch’s starting point is flawed. Who says God takes sides in war? Somebody show me the scriptures where God says he loves Americans best. Or the British. Or even the ever-charming peace-loving pacifists Canadians for that matter?
God doesn’t start wars, Hitch, man does. So man makes the rules of the game, not God.
Poor God. He’s all the time getting blamed for the idiotic ways in which we go about running our affairs. The few times He tries to intercede we push back and tell Him to mind his own beeswax, thank you very much.
And that whole appealing to our fear and our guilt argument?
Uh. Ahhhheeem. Again, Hitch, that’s some convoluted thinking you got going on there. God ain’t told nobody to go around acting like the Scripture Monster, threatening people to turn or burn. Yep. Those same kind of people who paint John 3:16 on the end of the missles they use to blow up Iraqi neighborhoods are the ones who devised this “us” and “them” rhetoric of religion.
Man did it.
God made it clear that the only side he takes is the side of humanity — the whole of humanity. Not some pared-down version where all the white men wear robes of gold and everybody else wears black.
And about that woman issue?
I can understand how Hitch came to his assumptions. Certainly there’s been plenty of abuses within the church to warrant a healthy debate on this matter, but again, I’d like to point out that there are just as many examples of women being demeaned outside the church. The telly may be the worst of all offenders in this matter.
Now that would be a worthy debate, Hitch. Let’s consider together whether the telly has been a corrosive influence upon society or whether it’s just a bit bothersome but mostly delightful tool.
I am a bit confused: Why does a man who doesn’t believe in God feel the need to spend his last remaining hours railing against the God that doesn’t exist?