God Is Not Great: Christopher Hitchens

Cover of "God Is Not Great: How Religion ...
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Now I have a Kindle it’s so easy to download and buy stuff – that’s good and bad. It’s good, for example because amongst other things I bought ‘God is not Great‘ for £0.99p. It’s bad because no matter what the format I still have to find time to read the stuff. A window of opportunity opened and so I began to read. It was also a time to find the drawback of the kindle I have of not being able to type notes fast enough and so it’s really hard work. I need a pen and a notepad with it. May I’ll get faster and improve with use.

I’m assuming he (Hitchens) will lay out his store as it were in the first chapter, so here’s a few points to be going on with from Chapter 1.

1. I like his style writing – he has [had] great skill with words and was obviously very well read.

2. I like his honesty. He tells it how he sees it. He calls a spade a spade as we say. And I like writers that do that. His honesty doesn’t extend however to a correct understanding of Christianity. He continuously (as does Dawkins) misrepresents Christianity (see point 3).

3. Sadly, from what I read he never ever really understood the Gospel. This view may be wrong – I guess his brother might know – but it’s how he writes.

4. He talks a lot about Religion. Yes Christianity is a Religion. And there can be stupid and very bad Christians – but this doesn’t actually invalidate it as truth. It certainly doesn’t help but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

There’s a big problem with the Title. For such a specific claim you would have thought it important to be specific about the God he is talking about. Is it the Christian God, the God of Islam or the God of his own imagination. Here’s just a couple of quotes.

Many of them never believed, and many of them abandoned faith after a difficult struggle. That might be his experience but it isn’t mine. And in any case even if it were true it still wouldn’t invalidate the truth claims of Christianity. All that proves is the weakness of the human condition. You say, why doesn’t God help them then. In my experience He does – for example my own mother that died of bone cancer and many other I know of.

‘We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry (Really! see paragraph below), open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.

God did not create man in his own image. Evidently (There are other explanations for so many religions but it doesn’t suit his case to give any evidence even if he could), it was the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.

Imagine that you can perform a feat of which I am incapable. Imagine, in other words, that you can picture an infinitely benign and all-powerful creator, who conceived of you, then made and shaped you, brought you into the world he had made for you, and now supervises and cares for you even while you sleep. Imagine, further, that if you obey the rules and commandments that he has lovingly prescribed, you will qualify for an eternity of bliss and repose. I do not say that I envy you this belief (because to me it seems like the wish for a horrible form of benevolent and unalterable dictatorship), but I do have a sincere question. Why does such a belief not make its adherents happy? It must seem to them that they have come into possession of a marvelous secret, of the sort that they could cling to in moments of even the most extreme adversity. This quotation serves to demonstrate his understanding of the Gospel is 100% wrong. Any decent historian may not believe it but should be able to tell you what it is. Sadly, Hitchens doesn’t have a clue and his readers will just slavishly and uncritically swallow it. His Atheism is poisoning everything!

Just got back from a bright dinner with Richar...

Since reading the first chapter I have listened to a discussion of the book first broadcast back in 2008. This is a series of 8 available at Unchained Radio for $0.98 cents each. (I think they might be available for free) I’ve now listened to them all and I’d say they are worth every penny (I am English). To buy them go HERE. These guys are way more able than I am but demonstrate rather uncomfortably for Atheists that Christian apologists (especially Presuppositional apologists) have good solid scriptural apologetic arguments and the debating skills to take them on. I’m being polite when I say they (Paul Manata in this case) completely destroy Christopher Hitchens arguments, method, worldview and just about everything else besides. Whether he listened to the programs back then, I can’t say, but he was well able to defend himself at the time. The reason for ‘flagging them up’ here (he can no longer defend himself) is because as one of the ‘Four Horsemen’ an awful lot of weight will be given to his words. I have no doubt in the coming days we will be hearing a lot of his writing and of his legacy to the Atheistic cause.

After listening to Paul Manata discuss the book I am left wondering why Hitchens was so popular a writer. A book was mentioned in one of the broadcasts. With a Kindle it’s possible to download sample sections. So I read a sample of the book ‘On Bullshit‘ by philosopher Harry Frankfurt as it was recommended by Paul Manata. By the criteria of the book Dawkins, Hitchens and the other ‘Horsemen’ are probably no more than a bunch of ‘Bullshitters’ and people love it. Frankfurt has a sequel to ‘On Bullshit’ and it’s well worth reading the sample section of ‘On Truth’. Frankfurt thinks they (Bullshitters) are worse than liars. We need to make sure that as Christians we don’t follow their example.

Out of curiosity and a search through YouTube I found a video of an Atheist convention. Hitchens was filmed with an 8 (yes that’s Eight!) year old girl asking him what books she should read. He listed a few books and is amazed to find she had read them. Now here’s the thing: She said she wanted to be a Free Thinker just like him. We (Christians) are accused of indoctrination if we tell children about The Lord of Glory but if 8-year-old little girls are taken to an Atheist convention (her Mother stood proudly looking on) they are free thinkers. And Christians are accused of being closed-minded! That’s the end of this post – I’m speechless!

HT for the broadcasts to my friend Jim over at The Domain for Truth.

Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens
Image via Wikipedia

I was very saddened to hear of the death of Christopher Hitchens. His atheism was well documented, being one of the New Atheistic ‘Four Horsemen’ in contrast to his brother Peter. I had only heard a couple of his debates and read some of his articles but he did strike me as a courteous yet fierce opponent. He wiped the floor in debate with Tony Blair and his pathetic, devoid of any substance, totally wet brand of Christianity. I have found his arguments are often against a ‘straw-man’ Christianity that he later seeks to demolish to the delight of his supporters. He was certainly entertaining.

I have no idea quite what the conflict was over but I’m glad that he and Peter managed to get on better latterly. Both highly intelligent very strong opinionated men with differing worldviews – conflict was inevitable.

I do remember reading an article of his on Mother Teresa and from memory agreed with almost every word. One of the great things about the West is that people like Christopher can exercise Free Speech and long may it be so.

What a shame, a tragedy really, that his gifts were not harnessed in service to King Jesus before whom he must now bow the knee – alas, from what we observe, too late. Though I have no way of knowing this for sure – God is Gracious & merciful. I do believe there will be many an opponent to the Gospel that by the Grace of God will have received its benefits and be in heaven to the praise of His marvellous Grace.

For an excellent article from a Christian perspective go to World Magazine and find the article HERE.