Hitchen’s Book

I haven’t read Christopher Hitchen’s (photo of the charming chap to the right) intolerant rant, and enough other people have stood up to defend religion and demolish his sophomoric tirade. Carl Olson does a good job of rounding up the reviews here.

There’s something else about it all that troubles me.
Books matter. Ideas matter. Popular propaganda matters.

It’s one thing to write a book and have a little tantrum about religion, but I want to know what Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and their gang intend to do about it. I mean, if you really, really think that religion poisons everything, that religious people are killers, mass murderers and insane child abusers, and that religious people cause everything bad in the world shouldn’t there be some action taken? If you honestly think that religion is holding back humanity, that priests, rabbis, monks and missionaries are not only deluded, but evil, why should you sit around and do nothing?

Who is going to take the action? Well certainly not the clever fellows who write the books or publish them. They wouldn’t want to get their hands dirty with any rough stuff. But what about those they influence? These books which inspire hatred towards religious people are bound to affect many young people. Those young people will get into positions of power one day.

I’ll bet there are a couple of young tyrants out there right this minute who are reading Hitchen’s hate literature. Are they getting a little bit high with the potent wizardry of Hitchen’s hatred? Are they and their chums even now despising Hitchens and Dawkins and Harris for being priviledged snooty academics without the guts to actally do anything? Are they asking the obvious next questions: “Religious people aren’t going to give up their religion voluntarily. In fact they want to be martyrs don’t they?” Are they wondering even now how they might take power one day and weed out the religious people from society? Are the minds of all those who will elect such monsters being conditioned even now as they read such poisonous stuff?

If so, it’s only a short time before the pogroms and the bonfires and the midnight knocks on the door begin.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09244022673432482636 Matt

    None of these authors ever seem to give a viable replacement for religion, either. I would like to sit Hitchen down and say, ‘Okay, I 100% accept religion sucks, there is no God, there is no devil and men are just naturally evil SOBs screwing each other over in a Darwinian genetic competition to see who can impregnate the most females. Now what I am supposed to do with my life? Women, power, and money? What’s the point of all that? It’s just chasing empty shadows of pleasure till I get snuffed out. Why are you wasting time writing books to convince intellectually (and therefore genetically) inferior primates to stop believing in a fairy tale? Better to save yourself the hassle and make out with the business end of your revolver.’I have always thought that the truly courageous and noble atheist would commit suicide the day he decided he was 100% correct. The fact that they don’t shows they don’t truly believe the universe is as empty and pointless as they claim.If I was an atheist, I would dwell long and hard on Hamlet:For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,The insolence of office and the spurnsThat patient merit of the unworthy takes,When he himself might his quietus makeWith a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,To grunt and sweat under a weary life,But that the dread of something after deathThanks to God there IS a God, Jesus Christ is His Son and our King, and we will live forever someday!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18231879006543780827 MMajor Fan

    I was only half joking when I posted on Ignatius Press blog that the Hitchens style of atheist ranting reminds me of the fad of primal scream therapy (which never was a real therapy). This reminds me of when I was an intern providing psychiatric counseling in a hospital’s outpatient service. Of the 10 or so measurable benefits of therapy, one of them, venting, ranks in statistical studies as a very popular therapeutic from the patient’s viewpoint, but in actuality, is of much less value than the most of the other healing activities and factors. Patients, at first, love to vent and think they benefit from it, and of course, there’s an early stage in therapy where it’s needed. However, over time, even the patients want to move on to more productive verbalizations and skill learning. Well, in the media today, there’s a huge trend to what I view as self medicating venting. People think that getting it all out and spilling and spewing is all brave and honest and real, but like my patients, I think that eventually even the biggest ranters will yearn for some mature contact and give and take.

  • Anonymous

    You say “If so, it’s only a short time before the pogroms and the bonfires and the midnight knocks on the door begin.”. Right you are, but haven’t these types been writing and saying such things for centuries? And surprise, surprise, the church has survived. Jesus Christ is still on the His Throne. He lives, and in the end He will have the last say.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Oh yes, the Church survives alright, but it survives through persecution and martyrdom. The atheists have always killed Christians. It’s what they do. Christians have always forgiven their killers. It’s what they do.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11305092097247290243 Anita Moore

    Setting aside for the moment the effect his writing may have on his readers: Hitchens is so vitriolic about religion that I think there is actually some hope for the man. God must be working awfully hard on him for him to resist so violently. A guy like this is in unquestionably in peril of his immortal soul; but I suspect he is much closer to God and in a better state than someone who is nice, polite, and lukewarm.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10480967226190816519 David Palmer

    I’m a bit worried by the fact that Dawkins, Hitchens et al are all English…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08110491371985845560 Elizabeth Mary

    Agree anita…like an atheist Saul of Tarsus.Bland indifference is much more hard for the Holy Spirit to penetrate.Matt: I think atheist rational suicide would be appropriate for when life quits going your way and being enjoyable. As long as you’re on top (like the Gang of Four), and you’re making good money and getting some tail and enjoying things…well, why not stick around. Otherwise, if it all spins out of control, and I’m poor and suffering and ill and in pain and not getting money or tail or kicks, then why stick around?Perhaps the suffering atheist finally perceives the crucifix in all its power.Never empty the crucifix.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13831473704338746499 Sursum Corda

    Father, I know this is a long time after the original post but felt I had to comment on Hitchens’ recent antics. The same man who has done everything in his power to denigrate, abuse and defame Mother Theresa has just published an article which appeared in newspapers in Australia ranting in defence of “poor little rich girl” Paris Hilton. Interesting standards these miltitant aetheists eh what?