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 ...
jwalsh07 replied: "So why not take your logic ball and go home?"
"....Intellectual intuition (nous) involves the direct perception of Truth.
"Logic (dianoia), on the other hand, is merely a mental operation that can lead to true or false conclusions, depending upon the data provided it.
"Logic is particularly useless -- even dangerous -- without the a priori intuition of Truth, without which logic alone eventually leads one over the abyss.
"The most important truths are indeed "self evident," that is, evident to the higher self.
"Clearly they are not necessarily evident to the lower self, which is why liberty and human dignity are a tough sell in the Islamic world, which awaits the day when its progress is not thwarted by the infrahuman majority in its midst.
"In America, the anti-progressive forces are represented by secular progressives, anti-religious Liztards, and other spiritual medullards.
"The application of mere logic would dismiss as silly superstition those transcendent truths that are known directly by the higher mind.
"This is why you cannot prove the existence of God to such a logic-bound individual, any more than you could prove it to a dog.
"Religious truths are conveyed through symbolism and analogy (with the assistance of grace), more like a great work of art than a mathematical equation.
"Although not merely logical, it would be a grave and simplistic error to suggest that the great revelations are illogical, any more than a Shakespearean sonnet or one of Beethovens symphonies are illogical.
About “orthodox Christianity” stating that your parents would be in Hell, this isn’t true. It is Catholicism that is orthodox Christianity, actually, and the Church teaches that we cannot know someone’s final destination — not while we’re in this world, anyway. Moreover, the Church teaches that God may very well give us one last chance to repent after death.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t waste your time pinging me with a list of quotes from people whose opinion means nothing to me. They are all wrong, and I am right. It’s as simple as that.
... When people say “Logic fails,” what they mean is, “Logic fails to give me the answer I wanted.”
I understand your "simple" reference.
The rules on FR are that if you are quoting another FReeper, you should at least do them the curtesy of pinging them. I'll abide by your wishes from now on when I refer to your "it's as simple as that" posts.
Not that it really matters who you quote. They may be modern-day self-proclaimed experts, they may be sages of old. I don't care. I have no interest in the philosophers and sages of old. I don't think they were anything special. The only reason many of them were so revered is because they lived in a time and place where very few people were taught to read and write. You had to be male, and you had to be wealthy. If you were educated enough to read and write, you automatically impressed the rest of the population. Moreover, most sages of old were educated by the Church, so they are to be taken with the grain of salt they deserved.
If it's modern-day internet sages you're quoting, you can imagine they impress me even less. In fact, I can't think of anything more ridiculous than using other people's quotes as paperwads to throw at me. In the end, your argument boils down to this:
"I know there's a God because I intuit it with my higher mind. And look, lots of other people agree with me!" This is a childish stance. "I feel, therefore God is." Silly as a Scientologist.
You’re dealing with a child here. This is like the stereotypical woman who hen-pecks her husband and will never admit that she’s wrong. She’s not interested in history’s greatest philosophers, in profundity, in anything that doesn’t accord with her deified wittle feelings. Her mind isn’t just closed, it’s nailed shut.
She really ought to go off and bake some cookies. At least then she’d be doing something productive, as opposed to trying tto debate adult matters, something for which she’s ill-suited.
She is a child. Don’t waste your breath.
"..anyone but a [simple/silly] rationalist knows that logic cannot furnish its own materials on which to operate.
"It is a "sign of the times" -- i.e., the Age of Stupidity -- that it is even necessary to point out that not every problem can be solved by means of logic alone. Again, to even attempt to do this is both inhuman and anti-human.
"...when intellection is rejected, it doesn't just disappear, any more than an unconscious conflict disappears by denying it. Rather, it is simply replaced by all kinds of crazy things, from Marxism, to metaphysical Darwinism, to Scientology, you name it.
She doesn't want to go off and "bake cookies". Instead, A_Perfect_lady said she'd rather "wander around inside some weird, red-sky landscape thats like a permanent sunset. Black trees. Silver, glittery ponds. Mountains on the horizon. Caves to explore. Very silent, no wind. Just me and my cats.... I just want to be left alone. Most humans irritate me."
I profoundly agree with these statements.
On the other hand, Robert Godwin drives me a little bit nutz with his "immanent God." I'm not sure I understand his meaning. But maybe the problem boils down to semantics in the end. I can't tell for sure....
Speaking as a Christian, I have no problem with "immanent God" understood as the divine Logos operating in the world of its Creation in the Beginning from Alpha to Omega, from "first to last," affecting everything "in between." Or to put it into Aristotelian terms, from first to final cause, implicating immanent cause "in-between."
In short, I believe in evolution at all scales of the cosmos. I can even regard a "biological function" as an evolution from a first to final cause.
But it seems to me the immanence of God as understood by, say, Advaita-Vedanta philosophy, is "a horse of [quite] a different color." This "god" ultimately, Brahman is so "immanent" in an eternal, that is, uncreated universe that he is effectively indistinguishable from it. He or It is indivisible from and coextensive with the material flux of the world. Given this condition, it is difficult for me a Christian to see any difference between the divine and the mundane realm of finite existence in which human beings live. How can a god coextensive with, and seemingly inseparable from, such a concept of Cosmos be said to be, in any way shape or form. the ordering principle of it?
Well, this is the problem I have. I'm still working it. :^) I welcome comment/correction from the Advaita-Vedanta side....
Thanks so much for writing, dear Matchett-PI! Just some thoughts, dear Matchett-PI!
I don’t know.
“Just mythoughts” suggests that it has not been made yet. I think that it has already been made.
A story from the Bible seems appropriate here: Two men are described in a parable that Jesus Christ told his followers. One of the men lived a life of luxury and the other, whose name was Lazarus, was so poor and sick that dogs licked his wounds. Both men died and Lazarus was carried to paradise and the rich man to a place of torment. The man in torment could see Lazarus in paradise and he begged that he come to comfort him with a drop of water. But he was told that he could not go to the other man and that the other man could not come to him.
So, from the story it would seem that we will all go to one of two places: a place of torment and suffering or a place of peace and comfort. The story goes on to say that the rich man begged that Lazarus go and warn his family to stay away from the place of torment. But the rich man was told that his family had Moses and the prophets (the Bible) but the rich man said, “no, my family won’t believe unless someone goes to them from the dead.” And the rich man was told if his family wouldn’t believe Moses and the prophets they wouldn’t believe someone who goes to them from the dead either.
I believe that God exists and that there is a heaven and a hell. I also believe that God loves us and that He sent His Son to become one of us. Imagine that, the CREATOR of the Universe became one of us! He lived a perfect life and then died on a cross. By doing so, He paid the debt for our sins. And like I said in the prior post; it wasn’t a debt he owed. Nor it it one we are capable of paying.
So the real question is not what will happen to you when you die, but does it matter to you that HE died?
If God exists and if Christ is His Son and if His death paid the debt for your sin then IT MATTERS.
BTW, the story of the rich man and Lazarus is the only story Christ told which includes the name which suggests to many that it may be a true story rather than a parable.
But you don’t know for sure, so you postulate the answer that seems reasonable to you. So does everyone else. That’s why there are so many different denominations and religions. People don’t know the answers, so they... just kind of “intuit” them based on whatever they can find that gives them something to go on, and their gut instinct. And I’m not picking on you: That’s what humans do. The Bible was written by humans, all intuiting and postulating and pronouncing and interpreting their little hearts out. But it’s really sound and fury, signifying nothing.
See if this helps:
"...Continuing from yesterday's post, in which we posed the question: is it possible to use Whitehead's process philosophy to illuminate traditional theology, but without doing violence to the latter and descending into an intellectually feeble and metaphysically incoherent moonbattery? [ Panentheism (God is in all) /// Pantheism (God is all).]
Stuff HappensBy George Murphy, on January 3rd, 2011
"...In other words, the absolute, insofar as it deploys itself in time and space (which it does "inevitably"), radiates from a cosmic center to the periphery, somewhat like a series of concentric circles with God at the center. God's energies are like radii emanating from the center outward, while the different concentric circles are the various levels of being, or the cosmic hierarchy.
"Therefore, although everything is ultimately God, not everything is equally God. The idea that everything is equally God leads to pantheism, which is an indiscriminate flatland philosophy no more sophisticated than bonehead atheism. It is logically equivalent to saying everything is not God. Or one might simply say "everything," and therefore "nothing" -- it doesn't matter, or mind, for that matter. In any event, nothing is that simple, let alone everything, let further alone the Divine Nothing-Everything at the center of it all.
"Now ultimately, everything "is God" in some sense, but God is not the sum total of everything. Things vary in their proximity to God. Furthermore, there is movement toward God. We call this "evolution," but we should probably come up with a different term -- perhaps Adam & Evolution -- so as to not confuse it with mere natural selection, which reduces the transcosmic fact of evolution to a random and mechanical process. ..." Gagdad-HERE
"The real Cosmos is not and cannot be synonymous with what materialists call "the universe." ....
"In turn, the cosmos cannot be synonymous with the Creator (pantheism), but is, however, incomprehensible in his absence. The world is none other than God, but God is not the world....."
"..Secularism begins and therefore ends with the material world. Being that the material world is a shifting and transitory world, one can only derive a shifting and transitory metaphysic from its study. This is by no means to devalue science, only to not confuse it with metaphysics.
"Furthermore, with this inversion, one will necessarily confuse the Principle with its manifestation. One will have to adhere, for example, to a bizarre metaphysic that permits a wholly accidental and contingent mind to know absolutely.
"Here is what we have heard from the wise. In reality, the cosmos may be thought of as a kind of message from God to Himself by Himself, so long as one doesn't take the analogy too far.
"But this should by no means be taken as an excuse for pantheism or narcissism, since the message is nonetheless real. For while God is both Alpha and Omega, sender and recipient, the message is deployed in time, and time is a mode of Eternity. We have received -- or assimilated -- the good news of the message when we have achieved our end. ..."
Yes, sure, in many ways no one knows for sure, that’s why it’s called faith. Sooner or later you have to be willing to make the leap of faith.
Are God’s own words as He claims ~ completely inerrant? A rich history of 66 books penned by over 40 authors spanning several centuries. The timeline of history his split in two just by his life, both B.C ~ Old Testament, and A.D. New Testament, a text unique among all the texts the world has ever known? The all time best seller.
Another thing regarding that leap ~ one claim God makes of his true believers is a clearer understanding and a hunger to read scriptures. Many other things he verifies with how the world first hated and rejected Jesus so also for his true followers.
I know from my readings and research the many character traits of God. To say he is primarily love is an understatement ~ since He is the creative source of the Universe we would not experience love or any other good and kind gifts if he had not been pretext to everything that brings joy... So yes He is love, he is patient, and kind, full of grace and mercy He alone embodies all that is good, right, ordered and just about the Universe...
A Universe He claims to have created ‘ex nihilo’ or out of nothing and from the current big bang research the physicists also know rewinding history brings the creation back to a singularity, a single point of everything in both space and time.
If you’ve really read the Bible [I read some of your past] then maybe you’d should go back and really study it with a reverence zeal and awe ~ recognizing that it is not the mere words of men, but Holy-Spirit inspired words from God himself, transcribed by his holy men of the Jewish tribe of Levi,
Don’t neglect the many and various research that’s been done confirming its rich history, authenticity, uniqueness, the prophecies [both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled].
Have you checked out any of the recent research works by Lee Strobel? He was a skeptic as an investigative reporter working for the Chicago Tribune. They allowed him to do his research, but his primary goal was to get his wife out of the ‘cult’ he felt she had joined, a local Christian church [gasp] and they of course going thru a mid-life crisis of sorts. He shared the same sentiments you’ve expressed regarding the veracity of the Bible. What was it ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing.’
Basically I’ll stop here [ but please know I’m praying for you and all those reading this screed this Christmas ] if you read as much as you claim maybe you read too much denying The Bible and not enough of the Bible nor enough of those in support of all it’s claims.
All the Special Sentiments of the Season
for all to come and accept His Free Gift
~ The Blessed Sacrificing of His Life to Redeem OURS!!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL MY FELLOW FREEPERS!!!
What I do notice is that over human history, an awful lot of men say God spoke to them. It's always the same kind of man, too. Those Alpha Male types who are smart enough to see a leadership opportunity, bold enough to grab it, charismatic enough to get followers, and canny enough to claim that God is speaking through them. It neither started nor ended with Jesus. You can see the same personality type in Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, Mohammed, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and that nut who started the Mormon church. God always talks to these kinds of guys. (He tends to tell a lot of them to take very young girls to marry, too, by strange coincidence. Or other men's pretty wives.)
It's a pattern that repeats itself again and again and again. Human nature, I guess. And most people are easily led. They see something in print and figure it must be true, so any messianic type who had literate followers would have been impressive in times when most people could not read.
But it's all balderdash. Above you is the blue sky. Behind that blue sky is black space. We are a one-in-a-billion accident, and around us are a billion empty planets to prove it.
That fraction sure does explain all that empty, lifeless space, doesn’t it. As for remaining in the balance, humans have only been around for a tiny fraction of the Earth’s existence. That balance has only existed for a very short time, and the time is going to come when it no longer exists. Then we will be gone. An anomaly that comes only when happenstance allows it, glories in its own self-importance, looks around and takes the vast emptiness as a mere stage for their antics... and then is gone.
Sorry, you apparently haven’t a clue what the balancing act entails ... but you did a great job trying to sound smart.
Look around. See all that empty space out there beyond our atmosphere? We occupy the exact amount of time and space that random chance says we should.
If someone were to ask me the 2 most basic of things about Biblical faith:
1. Understand - All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God [Rom 3:23], the true cost of sin is much more monumental then just discarding it all as ‘little white lies’ - namely the history of mankind as so evil and problematic.
2. And understand Gods requirement of justice, of payments for sin [ and no, not any current pain or anguish in this life ] but a payment in full of something we all are utterly incapable of paying on our own - normally our payment for a lifetime of your own sins - so yes life is unfair and some come out better than others. A requirement so strict that there is only one way to redemption [ unless of course one were to die before losing ones innocence - childlike so to speak] see Matt 5:31.