who is not Great?

Posted: October 27, 2009 in Philosophy, Politics, Theology

Christopher Hitchens has no faith.  I haven’t read his god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, partly because of the (deliberate) typo, and partly because he once called Ronald Reagan a “lizard,” but also because he doesn’t understand criticism.

His critics have noticed that Hitchens makes plenty of moral evaluations of religion, but does not produce any objective grounds for moral evaluation, or at least fails to do so in a convincing way.  So how can he rationally look down his nose on religion when he himself, as an atheist, has no leg to stand on? 

Despite these criticisms, god is not Great turned out to be a bestseller.  Some have thought that its buyers are just people who don’t like public displays of religious emotion.  I’m not sure if this really explains it, though.  I’m a Christian and I’m usually uncomfortable around public displays of religious emotion — it would have been called “enthusiasm” in an earlier day.

Maybe the success of the book has more to do with Hitchens’ refreshing lack of political correctness, his entertaining if brutal rhetoric, and his writing ability.  At least that seems more likely than any dry “leave me alone” libertarianism.

I’ve been tempted to go out and read the book, but the lizard comment about our former Magnificent President left me angry with Hitchens.  I just haven’t found the heart to forgive him yet — or fork over a large sum of money for his book.

Maybe someday I’ll repent of thinking in my heart that Mr. Hitchens is a toad.  It is not a charitable sentiment, I know, and I’m sorry for it, I really am.  It’s just a failing in me that I think of him as a toad.  And it’s because of this that I’m required to humbly confess that I’m not great myself — at least on some particular occasions.

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