Respect for Christopher Hitchens… from an Ayn Rand-enthusiast and a Christian

Christopher Hitchens was a brilliant, articulate, and well-read critic of Christianity and Ayn Rand. I enjoy the way he presents his ideas with humor and biting sarcasm, even though he often targets my own intellectual conclusions and faith commitments.

I have done some debating and I am often asked whether I have debated Christopher Hitchens. I have not, and I would say that I have not even debated anyone who approaches his stature. I usually say a few words about my respect for him, and then I say, “To debate Christopher Hitchens would have been both my dream and my nightmare.” If you have ever seen Christopher Hitchens on stage, in an interview, or read any of his work, you know why. There are many clips of Hitchens on the Internet. The one that I have attached to this post is referred to by someone in a comment called it “a brutal four minutes for all religion: Christopher Hitchens vs Your Deity.”

Christopher Hitchens, doing what he does best

The video linked to this post came from the ABC Fora channel (out of Australia). Hitchens is speaking to a friendly audience at “The Festival of Dangerous Ideas” in 2009. His topic was “Religion Poisons Everything,” a reference to his book entitled, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. I have seen him make many points by demonstrating that something is improbable or even implausible. By showing that the opposite is unlikely to be true, he presents that it is unreasonable, even humorous, to conclude otherwise. More often than not, he does not discuss foundational beliefs and assumptions. No one seems to today, probably because it’s boring and not entertaining, even for the pure philosopher-types. In this blog, a format that allows more room to expand, I will take the time to restate Hitchens’s points from the attached video and respond in a thoughtful way that encourages more dialogue.
Next week, we will look at Hitchens’s points more closely. What questions do you have for me? What would you ask Hitchens?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “Respect for Christopher Hitchens… from an Ayn Rand-enthusiast and a Christian

  1. Chris Hitchens was a great intellect and communicator. Would be interested to know what you think of the debate he had with his brother Peter. Have always been fascinated by the relationship between the two of them – one a staunch athiest, the other a devoted christian. Enjoying your blog greatly btw.

      • I agree. Christopher has a little bit more mischief and charisma to him, and tends to be a more fluent communicator too which I think helps him to better land his arguments. I think one of the most fascinating debates I’ve seen more recently on this topic was between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox. I know they’ve had a series of them but in most of the ones I’ve been able to listen to, Lennox has been pretty masterful. Incredible intellectuals, both of them.

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