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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Ross Douthat reviews Christopher Hitchens' new book, God is Not Great

... in the latest Claremont Review of Books:

[Like] most apologists for atheism, he evinces little interest in the topic of religion as it is actually lived, preferring to stick to the safer ground of putting the godly in the dock and cataloguing their crimes against humanity.

In this vein, he is exhaustive but largely unpersuasive. I remain unconvinced, for instance, that religious practice has no significant effect on moral character, though all I have to support my intuition is a heap of academic studies suggesting that churchgoing boosts marital happiness, private generosity, and various other indicators of a life well lived, while Hitchens has the devastating rebuttal that Robert Ingersoll, the noted freethinker, was a better husband and father than the Catholic Evelyn Waugh.

Ouch. But well deserved, in my opinion. Or, as Ross writes his opening line:

Every talented writer is entitled to be a bore on at least one subject, but where religion is concerned Christopher Hitchens abuses the privilege.

Do atheists come in any flavor other than "jerk"? And that's not a rhetorical question, BTW. I'm genuinely curious to know whether anyone has actually met a humble atheist. Have you? I'm in complete agreement with Chrissy's brother Peter Hitchens:

Christopher is an atheist. I am a believer. He once said in public: "The real difference between Peter and myself is the belief in the supernatural.

"I’m a materialist and he attributes his presence here to a divine plan. I can’t stand anyone who believes in God, who invokes the divinity or who is a person of faith."

I don’t feel the same way. I like atheists and enjoy their company, because they agree with me that religion is important.

I, too, like atheists and also enjoy their company, basically for the same reason. But I'll be damned if I can get that appreciation returned!

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