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?