Entries tagged with “Christopher Hitchens”.

A few Fridays back, outspoken Atheist Christopher Hitchens and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a debate on whether religion was a force for good or evil. That type of event – where the religious are called on to justify their very existence – has become more and more common in recent years as atheists such as Hitchens and Richard Dawkins become increasingly strident (and fervent, I might add) in their condemnation of religion.

In light of this new hostile atmosphere, Charles Lewis (religion reporter for the National Post and editor of the Holy Post religion blogsite) has released an open letter to atheists. It’s entitled “Dear atheists: most of us don’t care what you think.”

Most atheists do not have a clue what religion is about. They see religious people as blind sheep following a series of incomprehensible rules and dogmas and then scoff at their lack of enlightenment.
And again:
Every serious religious person knows faith includes struggle. Faith is not about sweet “feelings.” Real faith is a lot tougher and more difficult than feelings…. Faith is about a certainty of something underlying all that surrounds us and a dogged acceptance that this life is part of an eternal pilgrimage that has trials.

An article well worth the read. Check it out on the Holy Post website.

I picked up Peter Hitchens’ book The Rage Against God a couple days back and read it in one sitting. Hitchens is the brother of famed atheist Christopher Hitchens, and while his book is not meant to be a point by point counter to his brother’s God is Not Great, it is nonetheless meant as a general rebuttal to popular atheism. Still, as he is clear, he is “neither a theologian nor even a Bible scholar,” and so his arguments are fundamentally autobiographical and/or journalistic in nature.

Which is probably why I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I might (and on this, I apparently differ from media on both the left and the right who have generally given very positive reviews). The book is divided into three parts: 1, “A Personal Journey Through Atheism”; 2, “Addressing the Three Failed Arguments of Atheism”, and 3, “The League of the Militant Godless”. The first section, which takes up more than half the book, is an autobiographical account of how he had become a militant atheist (even burning his Bible on the school ground at the age of 15) to eventually re-embrace Christianity; an interesting testimony on, as the book’s North American subtitle puts it, “how atheism led me to faith”. The second addresses three arguments of atheism: 1, that conflicts which are purportedly religious are always actually about religion; 2, that coherent morality can exist without reference to God; and 3, that atheist states are not atheist.

The third subject is where Peter Hitchens shines, and it is on this subject that his readers will find him most insightful. Drawing on his own experiences in the USSR and well-researched knowledge of its early history, he demonstrates that the Soviet system was fundamentally atheist at its core (not “religious” as Christopher Hitchens repeatedly attempts to suggest). In doing so, he demonstrates that the actions taken by the “League of the Militant Godless” (an organization in the Soviet Union devoted to wiping out religion) were directly in line with the Soviet Union’s purpose. In the process, he demonstrates that some of today’s extremist atheists (such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkings) are advocating positions worryingly like those enacted in the USSR (for example, the argument that parents should not be allowed to teach their children anything about religion until they are 18). The consequences of enacting such laws would lead inevitably, Peter Hitchens suggests, to the destruction of human rights and the increase of suffering (which demonstrably happened in the USSR – a true atheist state).

The book is a generally good read, but if you’re looking for standard apologetics it may not be the book for you. But for what it is, it is a welcome, intelligent addition to the pro-religion/anti-religion debate so popular in the present era.