Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God is Not Good

No, it isn't me up in arms again. I just polished off the Christopher Hitchens book of the same name. I had no intention of reading it, but it was on the "new books" cart at the library and I do find Hitchen's to be a very good read, even when I don't agree with him, so I checked it out. I should state for the record that while I enjoy skepticism and embrace evolution I am really a backbencher when it comes to atheism. I realize that each of our imaginary friends is a product of our upbringing, but I am in no real hurry to stamp out mine or anyone else's. I understand that it is not in vogue to argue that one can ultimately not care about religions veracity and still be a science commando. Whatever. I don't care about the abortion debate either. I enjoy church on Christmas Eve and I like living amongst Buddhist temples. I put money in the shrine. Whatever.

On the other hand, for anyone to assert that their religion makes sense in any real terms, or that it can be scientifically validated or that it is set apart from an ancients' firmly held faith in Poseidon is something this side of a joke. Hitchens does a great job of touring the Old Testament and outlining why believing it literally is not just silly, it is also criminal. Not to mention arbitrary. He is coming well on the heels of Bishop Spong who addressed how people in the Levant of old's world view and ours in no way cooperate with each other. I have always wondered how we can consult people on ultimate wisdom who we would never think of consulting on even the most basic medical matter. Not to mention issues of geography or chemistry or physics. Another strong point was discussing the role illiteracy played in the dominant position of the early church and how that controlled the power dynamic. Of course it did. As a kid I was always curious why we never talked about that in church. I think that was my big issue with church; I was always curious.

I will stop before launching into a book report that I don't have time to write. There are a few factual issues that Hitchens has been criticised on that I would like to see better documented but that is just really grasping at straws in the face of a strong argument. If you don't feel like reading the book, watch this absolutely one sided debate where Hitchens takes the poor rabbi's lunch money.

I feel a little guilty as I find Cristohper Hitchens to be a cantankerous malcontent, reeking of smoke and cigarettes when I don't agree with him and a valiant advocate for good when I do. But I always applaud his writing and debating ability and enjoy his work on the whole.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.