Skip to comments.Christopher Hitchens: Godlessness Is Not Great — How Atheism Poisons Everything
Posted on 12/20/2011 9:15:48 AM PST by Paladins Prayer
In writing this piece, Im reminded of a little exchange between the late William F. Buckley and friend and fellow National Review writer Florence King. Buckley had just penned some less-than-flattering words about a recently deceased person of prominence whose name escapes me, and King chided him, saying something to the effect that he had broken ground in journalism: the attack-obit. Buckleys response was, Wait till you see the obituary I have planned for you!
And in writing this critical article about bon vivant Christopher Hitchens in the wake of his death this past Thursday, I expect some ridicule as well. Yet I dont think Hitchens would demand to be spared the acidic ink he used to eviscerate others or that he would have any credibility doing so. Remember that this was the man who, before the gentle Jerry Falwells body was even cold, said things such as If he [Falwell] had been given an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox and I wish there was a Hell for Falwell.
For my part, I wouldnt wish eternal damnation on Hitchens; I truly hope he rests in peace. But I cant say the same for his legacy. And when I see the obligatory exaltation of his lifes work with secular icons, the deader they get, the better they were I think that legacy needs a little damnation.
(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...
mtg you claimed “all the laws of physics and constants were established merely by chance, within just a few seconds after the theorized ‘Big Bang’.” and this has been proven exactly how?!
Every -ology mas has ever studied is a study in logic or
Also I am pretty sure about the other popular gods - Jesus, Allah, Thor, Shiva .... And I am not even an atheist.
That, of course, depends on what we believe, or conceive of, Jesus, Allah, etc. as "God" to be. May I ask if you are agnostic, or is there a theos you believe exists?
All righty then,,,you just did it again.
You simply distort everything that offends you and cut and paste partial quotes from same.
I have plainly said that I do believe ‘geocentrism’ as God states plainly in the Bible that ‘the Earth is the center of it all’ all meaning the universe. There is plenty of scientific evidence for anyone to see this is becoming much more apparent. You on the other hand want to constantly go back to a centuries old definition to imply ‘all’ as merely our solar system.
Jealous? Yes, God says I am a jealous God. He is jealous for those whom He loves, that they would respond to His love. It is a perfect response to the lovelessness He is often greeted with as it does not go off and plot evil in response, but continues and continues and continues to...pursue the object(s) of His affection.
Moody? Dictatorial? Mercurial? These are the same conclusions as those of the unrepentant offender who, being sentenced by the judge, has not one moment of introspection whereby he examines himself under the full light of the law and finds the human failing, human weakness, and potential for human depravity that infects us all (his error being that he gave in to these.)
No. God is holy, righteous, glorious. I can find only one word that begins to define these in a way that the human mind can comprehend: Christ.
Then you believe that gravity makes the Earth move around the Sun?
I have no need to distort anything. Your own words are there for all to see.
And they are OH SO FUNNY!!!!
So he’s compassionate enough to forgive us for being exactly what he made us to be eh? Wow, he just sounds better all the time.
The irony. Do you not see the irony of your statement?
Don't know of any evidence for a naturalistic non-random universe since and yet claim that it was established *by chance*?
And you know this how? What are your proofs for the cause, or lack thereof, of the laws and constants of physics being established *by chance*?
It’s almost as if...
all the explosions mankind has witnessed each created some new kind of order...
No wait, an explosion suspends all natural law and creates order out of chaos [aka the main problem with the big bang theory].
Your comment is "People choose hell."
Perhaps the two of you could come to a consistent position, and then talk to me about it.
“So hes compassionate enough to forgive us for being exactly what he made us to be eh? Wow, he just sounds better all the time.”
He did not make us sinners. He made us in His image, but Adam, the first man, along with Eve, the first woman sinned, and by them “sin entered the world,” death following shortly thereafer. Since you and I and all of humanity are born of sinful parents, we are (now) sinners by our very nature. Then, when you add that we choose to sin regularly, choose to ignore His free gift of forgiveness/redemption/salvation through Christ’s work on the cross, choose to fail to even live up to the standards we set for ourselves, it is quite easy to see (should one choose to look) that we are flawed creatures. The fact that He STILL loves us (enough to send His Son) shows His compaggion and long-suffering nature.
“My post was in response to freeper “killermosquito”, who told us upthread that those who “he wants added to his kingdom will find him”. I can only conclude the corollary, that those who do not find him are those who he does not want.”
Your corollary is wrong, probably because it is relying on man’s logic, which, being limited, does not adequately take into account the character of God (and, come to think of it, too highly exalts the disposition of the human heart, as well).
The desire of God is “...that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” As it is written in God’s word, “If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.”
Correctly stated, in keeping with the right understanding of God’s character (holy, righteous, unchangeable) and the deficiencies and inadequacies of the human heart (”deceitful above all else, who can know it!) your corollary should read: those who do not want Him are those that do not find Him.
Uh huh. I know the story. I just don’t believe it.
You also said, "But they were Christians heavily influenced by the Enlightenment." What am I to make of that remark, since I am both a Christian and a huge fan of "modern science" so much so that I take it seriously enough to critique it?
It almost seems as if you see the Enlightenment mainly as an "improvement" on the then-prevailing "religious barbarism." This attitude seems a tad anachronistic to me, a kind of "backloading" of currently-prevailing "fashionable" (i.e., politically correct) attitudes. (The people living back then probably wouldn't have had a clue what our current "fashions" or "festishes" could even mean.) This sort of practice, to me, is to commit intellectual malfeasance by citing (a very seriously misplaced) "history"....
There is no question in my mind that the Framers Christian to a man and mainly Calvinist in their spiritual leanings were enormously influenced by the Enlightenment. Some of the greatest thinkers who ever lived, lived in this era. And across many different fields of endeavor. The Framers were not only well-educated men; they were learned men "learned" because, as Christians, they had a common criterion of Truth and Justice; and a common concept of Man as an individual and social animal (so to speak).
But I digress. My main point is you seem to suggest that there really is some sort of "divide" between science and religion, or even more crudely put, between reason and faith. And one is "better" than the other.
But I wonder, how on earth can you separate them, really?
To illustrate what I mean, please let me compare and contrast two great "leading luminaries" of the Enlightenment: Sir Isaac Newton and Pierre-Simon, Marquis de Laplace.
IMHO, Newton was one of the greatest thinkers humanity ever produced. He, in his turn, produced an absolutely marvelous abstract system with an extraordinarily apt ability to model and predict the behavior of objects in the direct-observational realm; i.e., the space-time sense of reality that we humans normally experience. (A Darwinian theorist might argue on these self-same grounds that the human "sense" of space-time is an "evolutionary development" probably largely due to the evolution of better connections between "the brain" and the respective brain centers that collect and sort sense data related to natural objects as detected by means of the five senses .... Fun question to think about; but not now.)
Anyhoot, fairly or unfairly, people say that Newton's mechanical theory "revealed" the true state of affairs in our Universe: That is, the Universe [preferably an uncreated and eternal one, from this perspective] is an "entity" which is inherently, relentlessly, thorough-goingly material, mechanistic, and deterministic in its evolution. Newton's Laws "explain" everything; they are the foundation of modern physics; and the very idea of what we mean by "classical physics."
I think Laplace certainly took up his mécanique celéste i.e., the "clockwork universe" idea from Newton.
Napoleon: You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe.Some would interpret this exchange to mean Laplace thought so much of Newton's Laws, that the "need" for God was perfectly obviated for him:
Laplace: Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.
Given for one instant an Intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which Nature is animated and the respective positions of the beings which compose it, if moreover this intelligence were vast enough to submit these data to analysis ... to it nothing would be uncertain, and the future as the past would be present to its eyes.Well, NO KIDDING. Laplace is "definitely onto something there." But WHO does he imagine such an Intelligence could possibly "be" himself?
I do not want to "flog" Laplace, just to "flag" how his "attitude" has had historical resonance in our times....
Compare this "attitude" with that of Isaac Newton.
Newton was making an abstract, universal description attempting to account for the mechanics/dynamics of material bodies wherever they occur in the Universe. And thus, the so-called "Newtonian particle" is a total abstraction, and has to be such, if it presumes to account for the movements of all bodies everywhere in the universe at all scales that fall under direct human observation, from atoms to planets and suns and stars....
Certainly the "Newtonian particle" is not some hard little billiard-ball sort of thing, persisting homogeneously in time, subject to changes only by means of local causes, on a time-line moving inexorably, irreversibly from past to present to future.... Yet the existence of just such a "body" is critical to the functioning of any "clock mechanism."
Whatever the case, the notion of a thoroughly-determined, "clock-work universe" has been totally exploded by twentieth-century quantum physics....
But oh I'm digressing again....
To sum up: There are at least two important things to note about Newton's fundamental worldview, or cosmology, that people seem not to remember today. (1) Newton believed the Universe is a divine creation. (2) Newton believed that, because "random," mechanistic causes in Nature cannot but fail to produce "disorder" sooner or later, the "Lord of Life, with His creatures" had to step into the picture, every now and then, to set matter "aright" again.
All I'm saying is: Newton himself did not divide himself along the lines of "science versus religion" as if they were some sort of mutually-exclusive combatants in his own nature. He saw them as necessary, complementary parts of his one self-same nature, which he recognized as finally, somehow, "under God."
My suspicion is the Framers were pretty good "Newtonians," at least. Perhaps they would have found Laplace's divertissement a/k/a "parlor trick" a little underwhelming....
Just guessing, of course. Thanks so very much for writing Notary Sojac! I hope I haven't bored you to tears....
1.) Lumping Newton in with the ‘oddballs’ that were the ‘enlightenment’ imho they only included Newton to give some added weight to their deluded thinking.
2.) Although not of the ‘enlightenment’ group, the scientist most consider 2nd only to Newton, Albert Einstein, also had
a similar quote regarding science and religion.
Now let’s see how did that one go...
....America.....had a very different intellectual genealogy, having been much more influenced by the skeptical enlightenment of Britain and Scotland than the radical enlightenment of France."
".....Something unique and unprecedented in human history occurred with the American founding. Somehow, Americans stumbled upon the very means to unleash human potential through liberty, individual initiative, free markets and representative democracy, to become the unrivaled economic, scientific, and political leader of the world. How did they do it?
I just recently read What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, and there is an instructive passage about the American intellectual consensus of the early 19th century, at the very time we began our ass-kicking world-historical ascent (and bear in mind that this is a secular scholar with no religious agenda whatsoever):
"As this chapter is written in the early twenty-first century, the hypothesis that the universe reflects intelligent design has provoked a bitter debate in the United States. How very different was the intellectual world of the early nineteenth century! Then, virtually everyone believed in intelligent design. Faith in the rational design of the universe underlay the worldview of the Enlightenment, shared by Isaac Newton, John Locke, and the American Founding Fathers....
What Newton and Einstein had in common "spiritually"/metaphysically speaking, if you can pardon me for using this language is that both recognized that at the very foundation of the Universe, there is Mind and Will....
That is, pace Heraclitus: The "most beautiful cosmos" is not "a garbage heap strewn at random."
Thanks so much for writing, BrantMichaels!
Thanks for the very thoughtful post. I don't have time to reply in depth right now, but....
It almost seems as if you see the Enlightenment mainly as an "improvement" on the then-prevailing "religious barbarism."
I wouldn't put it so crudely, but it's clear that between 1650 and 1750, it became (mostly) unacceptable in Western Europe to advocate the forced conversion or physical punishment of those who had a different faith.
That change is, in my opinion, crucial to the modern concept of individual liberty, since if the state can dictate how one may worship God, what can it not dictate?
And that brings to mind another question. If I am to accept the premise of some Christians that only Christianity can serve as the basis of a free society which respects liberty, why is it that during the total ascendancy of Christianity in the west from ca. 350 to ca. 1700 AD, there came into being so few "free republics"?
I assume from your posts to me and to perfect_lady that you are a believer in free will, that every human being is individually empowered to accept or reject Christ. Is that correct?
Yes. And it's certainly not much of a protection against oppression, as fascism arose in the heart of Christendom. But even if they were right, as you've pointed out before, this would be an argument of utility, not truth. That it's an advantageous religion. Well, sometimes it is. Occasionally. Okay, once!
I don’t really think or care about these things. Someone told me it means I am apatheist.
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