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Video: Tom, Christopher Hitchens, the God Debate

Tom Ashbrook moderated a panel earlier this year with the atheist and writer Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe. It was billed as the “Great God Debate.”

More recently, Hitchens has gone public with news that he is dying of cancer, and his views on religion have come into public focus again. The New York Times’ Liesl Schilinger wrote on Aug. 14, 2010:  “Two fierce battles are being waged this summer — one against esophageal cancer, by the irreverent columnist, commentator and critic Christopher Hitchens (who scorns the use of the word “battle” in this context), and the other for his soul, by those who hope to persuade him to convert to Christianity in extremis.”

In light of the news, it’s worth checking out the debate:

Source: forum-network.org

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  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    This is an amazing video, thanks for posting it.

    Tom, don’t let Hitchens get to you, he’s a (brilliant) ass, you’re a (brilliant) nice guy.

    The rabbi was fantastic and handled Hitchens very well.

  • http://balkansnet.org/zamir-chat-list/transfer/ Ed

    Where was I when this debate was held? Thanks for posting it!

    I suppose I’m biased (lessons learned from my own upbringing, as in the end everyone’s are), but it seems to me that Hitchens’ case is the far more plausible of the two, on intellectual aesthetic, and even (to me at least) emotional grounds.

    The Rabbi seems to conflate piety with understanding. I’m not knocking piety, as long as it’s not forced on anyone. In god we trust? Whose god might that be? I’d agree to the proposition of it were Ahura Mazda, say; but then, I’m always for the underdog.

    Anyway, what’s the rush to prove the existence of god? Evey one of us will know the answer to that question – all it takes is a little patience.

  • Michael Drew

    The rabbi is an ass and Hitchens handled him well. Tom, after the ‘Hitch’ hitch, you did great.

  • Michael Drew

    On top of being an ass, the rabbi reveals himself to be a shockingly shallow thinker and peddler of blatant logical non sequiturs about free will, materialism, evolution, and divinity, such that Tom, whose job it was to stay neutral and is a religious man himself if I’m not mistaken, couldn’t even stop himself from jumping in to counter them. It is indeed an amazing video.

  • Michael Drew

    The rabbi also accuses Hitchens of using psychologism and the evidence for a deep human need to understand the world in terms of intention rather than randomness to explain belief in God (what else can?), but then goes on to suggest that the reason to believe in God is that if the unverse is “just stuff,” then your love for your loved ones may become less real (and by implication you could lose it). Who is engaging in emotionalism there?

  • Danielle B

    I think Tom got it quite right with his opening question, for without a common understanding of the word we all have in common, “God,” we end up having a disconnected conversation. It seems to me that both men were correct at varying points in their arguments. Mr. Hitchens described a sort of evolutional theology, which is certainly true in both the macro of human history and micro of the individual. Those considering “God” to be a master puppeteer floating in a particular place have a more primitive understanding, while those contemplating the great mystery of a life-giving force that is both the source and summit of all love and hope are further along the way. In this way the Rabbi was correct in describing “God” as the great mystery.

    Mr. Hitchens’ powerful skills in discourse are truly impressive. However, there is some irony in the fact that while his command of language is awe-inspiring, his demeanor is repulsive, which leads me to think that somehow he has it wrong. His understanding of theists is limited to the notion of those needing a protector and unconditional lover, a great comforter. What if “God” is the constant invitation to perfection in our dealings with one another? What if “God” is the will to unite creation in its understanding of interdependence? I have found that belief in God for me constantly challenges me to be more than I already am. At every plateau, I am called to be kinder, more gracious, more compassionate, more merciful, more generous. Just when I think I have it right, I discover that I have a ways to go. This is the truth at the heart of all the great religions. Again, Mr. Hitchens is correct in his observation that organized religion has had destructive effects, but I’m not clear on how this disproves the existence of God. This merely proves the existence of human fallibility.

  • http://www.studiolightplay.com Gordon Schultz

    An illuminating, but unfortunate, “conservation.” The shallow dogmatism on one side and the intellectual certainty on the other makes these two figures talk right past either.

    Hitchens’ sophomoric dogmatism may convince those who’ve never been an intelligent adherent of any religion or has never encountered the reality of any of the world’s great spiritual traditions, but his cherry picking of examples of things he doesn’t like is intellectally dishonest. He makes an assertion about something he calls “religion” and selects the worst example that can illustrate his point (not provide evidence for argument, mind you, but merely illustrate) and when challenged just shifts to another illustration as if he were talking about the same thing. He will pick something out of context, slavery in the Old Testament, for example, seemingly innocent of what virtually all contemporary historical and sociological scholarship has to say about slavery in the Old Testament, to prove a point that he might have made previously with an illustration about the Vatican, or Northern Ireland, or Islam, of fundamentalist 19th Century Christianity. As if they were all of the same piece. Religion is religion, according to Hitchens.

    Hitchens describes his illustrations as the defining core of “religion,” and disallows all evidence or indeed illustrations that are contrary to his assertion. He complains that Rabbi Wolpe and other religious people keep bringing in justice, goodness, mercy, and the like as trojan horses (not his metaphor)into the argument. He argues that the discussion of justice, and the like, are not allowed in the discussion of religion, that they cannot be considered as part of religion’s self-understanding–even though most religions have views like justice, love, mercy, goodness, fairness as their defining principles.

    He has defined religion as blind following of a Superior Being who delivers Great Commands from on high, most of which are to murder, enslave, and enforce ignorance. That’s it. If you differ from that, Hitchens argues that you are dishonest or attempting to proselytize under the guise of compassion or justice.

    What seems apparent to me, at least, is that Hitchens is a believer in a god that the religions (at least the major ones, whose representatives are of the same education and sophistication as Hitchens) have long ago rejected. In fact, most Jews and Christians, (they are the traditions I know best) would say we don’t believe in the god that Hitchens believes in at all. The representatives of those same two religions, again drawing upon those with the same educational level as Hitchens, would argue that in the name of their God they would oppose the worship of Hitchens’s god as the worst form of idolatry, noting the usual connection of idolatry with cruelty and injustice.

    Hitchens, to make the point more simply, is guilty of a category mistake, at best, and dishonesty at worst. His argument rests upon a fallacy known as the fallacy of composition, that is defining the whole by any of its parts. It’s like saying politics is evil because everywhere we’ve seen it operate it has brought the most horrific evils imaginable: Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and others. If you counter with parliamentary democracy, he would disallow it because the core, the very essence of politics is revealed in monsters like Hitler.

    The other major problem in Hitchens dogmatism is his odd use of “science.” He either implies or directly claims that no reasonable statement about reality, at least the reality that must pertain to God (as he defines God), can be made that can’t be verified empirically. He naively assumes that “faith” is a form of or provides a procedure for “knowing” matters of fact about the physical world. And therefore as a way of knowing about the physical world that is woefully inadequate, if not downright wrong. He won’t allow that faith is not a way of knowing, but a condition of knowing itself, prior to any epistemological procedures that might or might not be subject to verification (or perhaps more correctly, falsification). For example, faith that there are such things as laws, and therefore a kind of uniformity that allows that replication of procedures will arrive at similar or the same results. What is striking about this use of “science” and “faith” as claiming to say the same thing, only science doing it correctly, is that it is the view of many dogmatic religious fundamentalists.

    The closer reasoning of Wolpe never can effectively unmask the charlatan because its style of argument assumes a rabbinic opponent with a shared moral worldview. It ends up being ineffectual because you cannot debate honestly with a person who demands that his terms and definitions are absolute and anything departing from them is dishonest.

  • http://www.studiolightplay.com Gordon Schultz

    An illuminating, but unfortunate, “conservation.” The shallow dogmatism on one side and the intellectual certainty on the other makes these two figures talk right past either.

    Hitchens’ sophomoric dogmatism may convince those who’ve never been an intelligent adherent of any religion or has never encountered the reality of any of the world’s great spiritual traditions, but his cherry picking of examples of things he doesn’t like is intellectually dishonest. He makes an assertion about something he calls “religion” and selects the worst example that can illustrate his point (not provide evidence for argument, mind you, but merely illustrate) and when challenged just shifts to another illustration as if he were talking about the same thing. He will pick something out of context, slavery in the Old Testament, for example, seemingly innocent of what virtually all contemporary historical and sociological scholarship has to say about slavery in the Old Testament, to prove a point that he might have made previously with an illustration about the Vatican, or Northern Ireland, or Islam, of fundamentalist 19th Century Christianity. As if they were all of the same piece. Religion is religion, according to Hitchens.

    Hitchens describes his illustrations as the defining core of “religion,” and disallows all evidence or indeed illustrations that are contrary to his assertion. He complains that Rabbi Wolpe and other religious people keep bringing in justice, goodness, mercy, and the like as trojan horses (not his metaphor)into the argument. He argues that the discussion of justice, and the like, are not allowed in the discussion of religion, that they cannot be considered as part of religion’s self-understanding–even though most religions have views like justice, love, mercy, goodness, fairness as their defining principles.

    He has defined religion as blind following of a Superior Being who delivers Great Commands from on high, most of which are to murder, enslave, and enforce ignorance. That’s it. If you differ from that, Hitchens argues that you are dishonest or attempting to proselytize under the guise of compassion or justice.

    What seems apparent to me, at least, is that Hitchens is a believer in a god that the religions (at least the major ones, whose representatives are of the same education and sophistication as Hitchens) have long ago rejected. In fact, most Jews and Christians, (they are the traditions I know best) would say we don’t believe in the god that Hitchens believes in at all. The representatives of those same two religions, again drawing upon those with the same educational level as Hitchens, would argue that in the name of their God they would oppose the worship of Hitchens’s god as the worst form of idolatry, noting the usual connection of idolatry with cruelty and injustice.

    Hitchens, to make the point more simply, is guilty of a category mistake, at best, and dishonesty at worst. His argument rests upon a fallacy known as the fallacy of composition, that is defining the whole by any of its parts. It’s like saying politics is evil because everywhere we’ve seen it operate it has brought the most horrific evils imaginable: Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and others. If you counter with parliamentary democracy, he would disallow it because the core, the very essence of politics is revealed in monsters like Hitler.

    The other major problem in Hitchens dogmatism is his rather late 19th use of “science” as a form of reasoning. He either implies or directly claims that no reasonable statement about reality, at least the reality that must pertain to God (as he defines God), can be made that can’t be verified empirically. He naively assumes that “faith” is a form of or provides a procedure for “knowing” matters of fact about the physical world. And therefore as a way of knowing about the physical world that is woefully inadequate, if not downright wrong. He won’t allow that faith is not a way of knowing, but a condition of knowing itself, prior to any epistemological procedures that might or might not be subject to verification (or perhaps more correctly, falsification). For example, faith that there are such things as laws, and therefore a kind of uniformity that allows that replication of procedures will arrive at similar or the same results. What is striking about this use of “science” and “faith” as claiming to say the same thing, only science doing it correctly, is that it is the view of many dogmatic religious fundamentalists, only they think “faith” gets it right and “science” wrong.

    The closer reasoning of Wolpe never can effectively unmask the charlatan because its style of argument assumes a rabbinic opponent with a shared moral worldview. It ends up being ineffectual because you cannot debate honestly with a person who demands that his terms and definitions are absolute and anything departing from them is dishonest.

  • http://www.schieldenver.com/ Joanne

    An illuminating but in some ways depressing conversation. Whether someone is jewish, christian or any other denomination, got to learn to get along…

  • http://onpointradio.org Keith Gold

    Hitchens was, as ususal, brilliant, and David Wolpe had nothing to say that wasn’t said millenuim ago, because religion spoke its last intelligent word long ago. Wople offered not a shred of evidence for his faith, which is not surprising, since there is none. One thing Wolpe suggested, however, was extremely offensive if not obscene. He seemed to suggest that if you are not religious then you cannot express as much love for your children as he can when he says a blessing for his children. May we all pray that such a reprehensible comment never emerges from him again.

  • Gemli

    This is a fascinating discussion. I’m interested in the conflict between science and religion, and in the frustration and anger with which each sometimes views the other. Being in the scientific camp, I fully understand why the science-minded are driven crazy by religion. Having been brought up Catholic, I also remember a glimmer of what it was like to have a religious view of things.

    Science looks closely at the world and tries to figure out how it works. When you think you’ve figured out something, you tell others and invite their critical review. If your idea is sound, it may fit into the larger framework of other facts that comprises the scientific model of the world.

    People without a scientific bent often misunderstand this framework. It is rigid and unforgiving. New facts rest on older facts, and support those that come later. The facts are not part of a pile of unrelated data, but snap together like pieces of a puzzle. The result is a model of the world that not only describes what is out there, but can actually predict how things should work in areas that have not yet been observed. Predictions (such as the existence of the neutrino) are routinely verified. It is a phenomenally successful model. It underlies the creation of antibiotics and vaccines, space travel, instantaneous worldwide communication, the Internet, you name it. This view is incredibly successful, and yet it is built totally without reference to religion, faith, or the supernatural.

    Because of the framework, you can’t sweep away isolated facts to make room for a 6,000 year-old earth, or life after death, or other miraculous occurrences. If the earth really is 6,000 years old, then everything we know about physics, chemistry, and geology is wrong.

    Religious claims almost always violate physical law, often in ways the claimants are unaware of. If physical laws are claimed to be violated, it would seem necessary to provide evidence that rose at least to the same standards that established the laws in the first place. But while science can demonstrate the existence and reliability of these laws, religion cannot demonstrate why there should be violations.

    There are many religions, such as Catholicism and the other Christian religions, Muslim religions, Jewish religions, and many others. But there is no Catholic endocrinology or Muslim physics, or Jewish electronics. There is only one science, which does not depend on where you grew up or the culture in which you were raised. It only depends on evidence.

    Believers don’t require evidence. They have conviction without evidence, and in circular fashion the conviction is then claimed to obviate the need for evidence. They rely on faith, which is essentially the expectation or hope of a desired outcome. I have faith in my doctor because she has treated me successfully in the past. Astronauts have faith that the rocket will not blow up on the launch pad because they’re aware of prior successes and the planning that has gone into the launch. But believers have faith that God exists, that there will be life after death, and that they will be eternally rewarded for following the tenets of their religious upbringing. In this case faith is based on no evidence, on things which are never seen to happen, and which violate all known physical laws. This type of faith is more like wishful or magical thinking than confidence in a likely outcome.

    Believers cite love, compassion, kindness, justice, altruism and other positive emotional and social qualities as evidence of God’s love and wisdom. But all social animals have these qualities to some degree, as they are required of the individuals if a society is to exist at all. Once the cooperative advantages of a social organization emerged, these qualities had to develop and evolve along with it for the society to survive. We can’t do everything by ourselves, and we can’t exist if our neighbors are constantly plotting our demise.

    Feeling that things ought to be so does not make them so. We can think symbolically, which means we can imagine things in our minds that cannot exist in the real world. The only way to know if a story or thought or claim is “real” is to demonstrate it when asked. And as Carl Sagan used to say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. No matter what we think, thoughts do not leave our head and make things happen in the world that simply cannot happen. Otherwise I would have won the lottery long ago.

    Just my 2 cents. Peace.

  • MordecaiCarroll

    Hitchens might be more convincing to me if I hadn’t heard him use this same tone of smug certainty when he cheerleaded for the Iraq War. I know this shouldn’t affect how I hear his argument on religious matters, but I can’t help but remember how absolutely certain he was that Saddam posed a grave threat to the West. As far as I can tell, he has never admitted he was mistaken about this.

  • Roy Merritt

    God is a bloody myth that mankind has tortured himself and his neighbors with from whence man made him. Christopher Hitichens is a mad genius and a drunk who has sadly even justified the unnecessary war in Iraq. I have thoroughly enjoyed this intriguing debate.

  • M. A. Nickolas

    Hitchens prefers Socratic doubt, reason and irony over what he calls religious faith. He prefers truth over illusion, pleasant feeling, false consolation. He regards religion as based on false beliefs and, therefore, a con. He reminds us that we are born into a losing struggle and are going to die. He appreciates the ethical discussion in Dostoevsky and George Eliot. He likes the philosophy of Spinoza. He considers religion a “force multiplier”, an intensifier of tribalism, greed, fear. He says violence arises because we are imperfectly evolved primates with prefrontal lobes that are too small, adrenal glands that are too big, etc. He admits that less religion won’t necessarily lead to fewer wars.

    Wolpe says its hard to teach a human being to do good and that religion can help. He notes that of 1,763 wars of recorded history, 123 were religious wars and that the brutal dictators of the 20th c. — Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. — were atheists, not religious fanatics. He agrees we are evolved primates but that we also have in us a spark of the eternal. He claims that the impulse to piety and the sense of a Mystery greater than ourselves — something deep, lasting, eternal and meaningful about each of us and the world we live in — is inherent in humanity.

    As a Greek Orthodox clergyman, I find myself in agreement with both men on many points. Community is the reason many people participate. I think that says something about human nature and about its Source. I see faith as quest, in which Socratic doubt and reason have an important place in the pursuit and celebration of goodness, truth, beauty, which believers call God and Christians identify with Jesus Christ.

  • Joseph

    I saw this video for the first time today (4/12/10).

    Great stuff!

    I must say that (even though I do not know for a fact
    that Mr. Hitchens is a drunk) I thought the three
    posts preceding this one – Gemli, Mordecai, Roy – are
    spectacularly “On Point”.

  • Alex

    This debate is a sad waste of time. Hitchens and the Rabbi bring nothing new to the table. I was excited for an interesting discussion, but was greatly disappointed by the generic sort of debate that happened. A real debate on religion ought to deal with human social structure – religion V science discussions are backward and a waste of breath, and relatively improvable.

    I am particularly disappointed with the Rabbi. As a Jew myself, his views are like nothing I’ve ever heard in modern Jewish discussions. They are incredibly old religious stances that have long been deemed, quite honestly, silly.

    Not to say Christopher is much better at being productive.

    I am curious how they came upon such an ignorant Rabbi and such an obtuse athiest, and why it never occured to them to get anyone else.

  • mike

    i was struck during this excellent interchange that Hitchens must have something to hide or feel ashamed because he never looked at the Rabbi.

  • http://www.altgate.com/ FN

    Great debate, but Tom, pick someone who’s not an alcoholic to argue the atheist side. Hitchins started strong, but after drinking a pint of vodka (on your show!) become slurred and disjointed.

  • Monk

    Faith is not knowledge! While the faithful may believe that death leads to a better place, they do not know that to be true only that they believe it to be true, which of course is no proof, whatsoever, of the actual reality. So when Hitchens says that the person of faith who tells a dying child that they are going to heaven (or, for that matter, tells a disobedient child that they are going to hell) is lying, he is correct. The lie is the giving of information that you know you do not know. You may believe. You may have oodles of faith. But you don’t know! And the possibility that your faith is the truth does not change the lie.

  • Andrew

    OK, so, instead of trying to discredit Hitchens’ deductive logic and scathing – and historically and doctrinally accurate – representation of major world religions, the good Rabbi argued for the benefits of having faith and being a nice, God-following person.

    Here, in their comments, the religionists don’t tackle Hitchens’ arguments but, rather, say silly things like:

    • Hitchens supported the invasion of Iraq, therefore he must be wrong about religions being silly, outdated superstition.

    • Hitchens is an alcoholic, therefore he must be wrong about religions being silly, outdated superstition.

    • Hitchens won’t look the good Rabbi in the eye, therefore he must be wrong about religions being silly, outdated superstition.

    • Hitchens is a rude, brilliant ass, therefore he must be wrong about religions being silly, outdated superstition.

    • Hitchens is a really, really clever speaker, therefore he must be wrong about religions being silly, outdated superstition.

    • Hitchens chooses to highlight the most cruel and ridiculous points from the Abrahamic religions, therefore he must be wrong about religions being silly, outdated superstition.

    • Hitchens has a repulsive personal demeanor, therefore he must be wrong about religions being silly, outdated superstition.

    I suppose logical thought hasn’t been a strength of religious people since shortly after Acquinas.

    Sorry.

  • Mr. Romero

    Fantastic,

    Thanks for posting the video and for moderating the discussion!!

    Long live atheism! Concentrate on reality we can make a difference do not let beliefs rule your life!! we can change them.

    We have the need to believe as we have the need to eat and the need to communicate, these are basic needs. This is why we have many foods around the world, many different languages and many religions and they rove that they are all invented by us to satisfy us! We can probably never overcome the need to believe like we cannot overcome hunger or the need to communicate, it is part of our mammal species it is actually a limitation but not a crippling one, we can believe what we want just don’t let it hurt you or hurt others!

    wonderful video!

  • Gordon Schultz

    The follow-up conversation is as depressing as the debate. It doesn’t take too much to understand what the atheist believes about God, gods, or the divine. But to be a credible atheist who wants to prove a point about religious faith it requires some knowledge about, well, religious faith.

    The preceding anti-theist and anti-religious comments are almost wholly lacking in credibility since they reveal a breathtaking ignorance about what people of religious faith actually believe and think. They rely on stereotypes and simplisms that would be laughed out of any serious intelligent discussion. I suppose the Internet does allow argument by slogan, as our anti-religious commentators illustrate.

  • Ian Polakiewicz

    Do not be influenced by Hitchen’s directness. Just because you are not used to it doesn’t mean that it is bad.

  • Gemli

    Hitchens won’t be winning any Mr. Congeniality prizes, and neither will he compromise his views to try to make the other side feel good. Religion doesn’t compromise its core beliefs, and neither does he. He has a prodigious intellect, and can usually mop the floor with the competition. The things he says about religion are often taken to be outrageous and offensive, but this is mainly a reaction to the centuries of unchallenged indoctrination that religions have enjoyed. (Check YouTube for his comments after the death of Jerry Falwell for a particularly wild ride.)

    Some say that scientific sorts demonstrate narrow thinking because science doesn’t know about religious faith. Who’s religious faith? All of them, just yours, or some combination? There are hundreds of them, each in many flavors. The issue I have with religious faith is not the details of what people believe, but in how they came to their conclusions. Hitchens typically argues not from a purely scientific point of view, but from logic and reason. If religions don’t make sense, maybe they’re not true.

    I get more frustrated when people routinely believe things that violate natural law. People give up on science in favor of magic far to easily. They neither know nor care about science, but they’re absolutely certain that their particular version of religion trumps anything science may have to say on the issue. If religion has it right, then there are supernatural forces affecting things all around us. There are miracles, there are spirits that can read our minds, and a lot of other things. But none of these things are detectable in the slightest, and if you leave all these supernatural factors out of our science, science continues to describe the world in exquisite detail.

    But I hear it said that it takes faith to believe. I have no respect for faith when it just means wishful thinking. People can wish for anything, and wishing won’t make it so.

    Science changes when the evidence changes. Science knows what it knows, but it is never certain. It is driven by our ignorance, and it keeps striving for the truth. When in the early 1900′s it was found that Newtonian mechanics was flawed, science went through a painful process of changing its mind and finally adopted quantum mechanics. No one was burned at the stake.

    Religion is certain. There is no evidence that can change religious belief, or else it would have changed long ago. In fact, it is the lack of evidence that gives religion its power. This is a characteristic of opinion, not of truth. Maybe religion is a strongly held opinion that suits the emotional needs of the believer. As such, it holds no truth for me.

  • Paul B Anderson

    The following assertions may apply to both positions: “Truth is that which was agreed upon at the moment of the agreement”- Socrates, and, as a corollary,…….” What is history after all, but myth, agreed-upon?”….Napoleon

  • Adam Redwine

    Regarding Mr. Shultz’s position stated a couple comments ago,

    he appears to be unaware, or willfully ignorant of the fact that, given the large majority of people who hold religious views, nearly all American atheists are bound to have family and friends who are theists. He also apparently neglected the fact that a great many atheists were once theists.

    All of us are born atheists, the vast majority convert to a religion, some change religions, and a small (though growing) percentage loose faith all together. We atheists are generally not ignorant of “about what people of religious faith actually believe and think,” we know it all too well and have become disillusioned and disgusted by religious double-standards, willful ignorance, confirmation bias, and general bigotry.

  • Ryan Campiz

    Oh my god, all Wolpe did was bray and inturrupt like the ass that he is. “Wait, wait!” says the ass. “Wait!” The ass needs to stall; the ass has nothing to say.

  • Ryan Campiz

    All right, I have to retract part of my previous statement. At around 50 minutes into this debate, he did improve and did say some interesting things, namely the reconciliation he made with atheism (“be yourself,” he rightly said) and his insight into wars and their causes.

  • Dyaus

    There are always some things that confuse me about these debates. Firstly, why do we atheists even bother? What benefit, or point is there, in arguing atheism to the theists?

    Secondly, is it really as simple as a God / no God question? Taking a queue from the What if there could be Quantum Truth? That somehow, in a way I can’t pretend to conceptualize, the Theists and the Atheists are BOTH right – at the same time? If it were so validly, how do you shift from one phase of this truth into the other – validly? I WANT there to be a God. There just isn’t one, though. Can’t I just muddle up the facts of universe somehow to create one, and do it so in a way that satisfies the cold eye of reason looking over my shoulder? Isn’t there a loophole, somewhere? Please…

  • michael

    Wow Hitchens eats him alive.

  • Tom Nunnery

    I have really enjoyed this debate/discussion. Mr. Hitchens is overwhelmingly superior in his comments. Thanks for bringing this robust open debate to me.

  • Gordon Schultz

    You are right that many atheists “have become disillusioned and disgusted by religious double-standards,
    willful ignorance, confirmation bias, and general bigotry.” And that is a big strike against religious hypocrisy and pretense, which in its own way is a form of atheism, as it denies in practice what it claims to be believe. They give the other atheists–the real ones– understandable motives to reject religious faith.

    At the same time, I’ll hold to my complaint against the sheer ignorance exhibited in this discussion. Whether these atheists have family members who are religious or whether they themselves were at one time religious doesn’t say anything about whether or to what degree their understanding of religious faith is sound or credible. Lots of current and former religious people are pretty ignorant about what their religion actually taught and expected of its believers.

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