Christopher Hitchens on Ayn Rand and Christianity

Even though Christopher Hitchens blasts both Christians and followers of Ayn Rand, he is a brilliant communicator and worthy of respect. As a follow-up to last week’s post, we are including the same video and discussing his points in more detail.

Description of Hitchen’s Case

He shares his logic around why the monotheist’s (particularly the Judeo-Christian) conception of God as concerned about humanity and proactive in revealing himself is flawed. His logic begins with the context of humanity’s existence on this planet for at least the last 100,000 years (possibly as many as 250,000 years). For most of that time, human beings lived for an average of 25 years. Humans died of the many “needless mammalian things that show us that we bear the stamp–as Darwin put it–of our lowly origin: the appendix we don’t need anymore and innumerable other shortcomings of our design (e.g. we were designed to live on the savanna that we’ve escaped from), terrible disease, suffering, misery, malnutrition, and fear.” They wondered “Where do the earthquakes come from? What about the eclipse? They made up deities to assuage their fears. The monotheists claim that God revealed himself in the last 10% (maybe much smaller) of humanity’s presence on Earth. The unavoidable conclusion is that the deity looked on with indifference, or worse, with amusement. Either that, or God was simply unable to intervene.

Similar Arguments

True, Hitchens raises a good point, similar to his point about the existence of evil. That is, either God is unwilling (in which case, not loving) or unable (in which case, not all powerful). Otherwise, there would be no senseless evil in the world. My only response is this: just because we do not see the sense in God’s choice not to intervene, or to stop “senseless” evil does not mean that no sense can be made of this. In other words, I may not be fathom a reason, but that doesn’t mean there is not one. For someone to say, “No reason exists!” that person would have to be all knowing. Since Christopher Hitchens is not claiming to be omniscient, I am compelled to temper his argument.

Take-away

I have tremendous respect for Christopher Hitchens. I was saddened by his passing. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but I appreciated his brilliant mind. In the next post featuring Hitchens, I will comment on another video in which he attacks Ayn Rand’s philosophy. These two world views–Ayn Rand’s philosophy and Christianity–have more in common than Christopher Hitchens’ disdain, but that is a topic for yet another series of posts.
What do you appreciate about Christopher Hitchens? What do you find challenging and what have I missed in my response?