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Exclusive extracts from the writer's final interview.
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Tags: Christopher Hitchens
@M.Johnson. "I see Dawkins as a christo-centric person with little understanding of other religions, who thinks "religion is bad" in a very simplistic way", You can't be serious? A large portion the mans life is devoted to the very subject of religon.
Higher order never springs forth from lower order? Then where does God come from?
Tantalizing preview. Can't wait to buy my copy tomorrow even though the provinces had to wait 24 hours more than London. I would rather be stuck in a lift with Messrs Dawkins,Dennet,Hitchens and Harris than (say) the Archbishop of Canterbury (whose name I can't be bothered to google), Tariq Ramadhan or Rabbi Leopold Bloom.
RIP Hitch. You will be missed sir.
Peter, for an academic to use the phrase "from the thousands of years of knowledge we have on god" is pretty disconcerting. do you mean lack of knowledge, which god by the way, Salem after whom a certain city takes its name. El perhaps, the Canaanite god, perhaps Zeus. I merely expected you to list a few academic works disproving Dawkins..
I did fully grasp what you said, it sounded like ID speak. Can I hear faint echoes of "Of Pandas and People" I think if you read enough of Hitchens works you will find some quite critical self analysis. not sure its all that pertinent in respect of Dawkins, The self gene ? The greatest Show on earth. no, no need there.
Many many years of zoology, and you know what, not a glimpse of the paranormal.
All I ask is you don't put forward any religious text as an academic work..
Religion throughout history has relied on indoctrination through the control of information and suppression of criticism. This is increasingly becoming no longer possible and consequently the rug is being pulled rather rapidly from beneath its feet.
In an uncompromised debate between those selling a religious world view and those selling a scientific one (one in which where the hard questions are permitted) none of the world's religions can hold together under the scrutiny.
Hitler was an extremist left wing Athiest mad man with deeply disturbed sense of self. A bit like the modern day BNP.
I wasn't aware Nazi's were religious though. Thought it was a psyedo-religion in its own right like pure communism and other left wing ideals.
@Peter Matthews Smythe
thanks for yet another tortured exercise in 'a priori' gibberish. such a shame you found time to "explain" yourself, despite promising not to....
i now know what i would like for Xmas.
"Hitler was an extremist left wing Athiest mad man with deeply disturbed sense of self."
What a lovely and well timed case in point of this sort of misinformation. Anyhow who cares to gain some insight into the sort of skewing of the facts proponents of religion are forced to resort to can fact check this statement on any reputable website. It is in fact almost entirely the opposite of the truth. Hitler was an extreme right wing fascist and outspoken Roman Catholic.
"You've obviously never read any history. Fascism was a direct backlash against the rise of communism. Fascism most certainly is *the* extreme right-wing ideology."
Actually, a very strong argument can be made that Fascism was a backlash against liberal/social democracy rather than communism. Communism was merely the fear factor that they used to gain support from the capitalist classes. Having said that, I agree that it was foolish of the poster to categorise Nazism as an extreme left wing ideology as it was a profoundly conservative anti-modernist doctrine.
"I should add that I think Hitchens fans are the most pathetic lot of people I've come across in awhile. Look, for example, how they simply copy the man's words - e.g. "mental gymnastics" - and pass them off as their own. You people are a joke."
I'm a little confused how you seem to be under the illusion that Hitchens has a monopoly on certain words. Mental gymnastics? Are you serious? That is a fairly common phrase. Going by your own arrogant logic: you've obviously never read anything.
Hitchens vocabulary itself contains a lot of pet words and phrases from the writers he admires. After all you are what you eat. Obviously the collective nature of language troubles you but it is sheer tomfoolery on your part to react to this with fatuous playground insults. As G.K Chesterton reminds us when any stick will do be careful it’s not a boomerang.
@Marcus "Name three figures that were deeply religious an in Hitlers inner circle."
Well Himmler was a religious pagan. Hitler himself claimed he was doing gods work in Mein Kampf. Interestingly enough the only member of Hitler's inner circle to be excommunicated by the Church of Rome was Goebbels for the grave crime of marrying a Protestant.
As Steigmann-Gall points out in The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 (2003) p.266:
"The insistence that Nazism was an anti-Christian movement has been one of the most enduring truisms of the past fifty years. ... Exploring the possibility that many Nazis regarded themselves as Christian would have decisively undermined the myths of the Cold War and the regeneration of the German nation ... Nearly all Western societies retain a sense of Christian identity to this day. ... That Nazism as the world-historical metaphor for human evil and wickedness should in some way have been related to Christianity can therefore be regarded by many only as unthinkable."
Not that we need to be pre-occupied by the Nazi's as there were many similarly genocidal regimes during the same period that were openly Roman Catholic such as the Ustaša in Croatia and Italian Fascism. Suffice to say, that fascism, Nazism (and Stalinism) are not born of a secular humanist world view intone with the writings of Spinoza, Bayle or Einstein but of a cultish fusion between celestial and political religion and based on the false premise that there is such a thing as infallible mammals. As Benito Mussolini pointed out in the ‘Doctrine of Fascism’ it is a religious concept of life.
"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions." — Adolf Hitler (Speech of May 1, 1927.
What? In this 30 line Interview, yes, but if you'd know any of their books, their debates and discussions, you'd know that they hold all religions as different versions of the same untruth. And having two intellectual persons talking about how harmfull the catholic church was and is, and then saying this is any testament to its truth... wow, this is spectaculary stupid...
humans do good and bad things despite being religious.
humans do good and bad things despite not being religious.
Dawkins has not provided evidence that would allow him to move beyond these 2 statements of fact.
They absolutely have the right and with such articulation and intelligence the duty, to fight religion. It's tentacles reach Into our laws and influence the direction of us all and we need to have it removed for the endless valid reasons you can read them give. Most people are no longer religious when push comes to shove. People do NOT sit at home and pray to get well, they go to hospital for treatment. Treatments based entirely on science, based on a science and biology with evolution at its core. It is not Hitch who needed to change his mind on his deathbed. He followed his beliefs and went to hospital and had treatments. I DEFY those religious people to stay at home and pray when they are I'll rather than have the science based treatments. By not doing so, in fact, unlike him, every one of you that does, already admits "you changed your mind when it came down to it".
God is just too complex to ever by understood by mere humans, so He is allowed to have always existed.
what this implies about the Universe is that it isn't all that complex, mere humans already fully understand it, and we've concluded it could not have always existed.
pure nonsense imho.
God is just too complex to ever BE understood by mere humans...
FOR all thou women THOU speaketh here..
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee...
Thateth the price you pay for eating a fruit ??...Bearing children ??
Just wanted to throw that out there to show to absurdity through its own scripture..
Try that line gents...
Genesis 3:16 skip the pain and go to
He shall rule over thee...hahaha
With Mr. Hitchens all I can say is cheers my friend...
We will all be there eventually
Joe Public: "The expressions of disdain amount to a form of censorship (ineffective perhaps but intentional nonetheless)." Oh you silly little bitch!
I like the comment about 'letting Islam in' if Christianity is neutered. Yes, that is a big problem indeed, for Islam is relentlessly aggressive.
As it says in the book 'Magdalene, Princess of Orange', Islam is the biggest protection racket ever created, and it sucks other nations dry. It did this with Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, which were all once highly successful Gnosto-Christian nations, but have been sucked dry and turned into basket cases.
Indeed, Christianity was also doing the sucking, because all these nation had their heyday under Roman rule, and it was downhill from there on. But Islam takes the biscuit as being the most bloodthirsty, aggressive and regressive protection racket ever created (Google the jizya tax on unbelievers, and the status of dhimmi nations.)
The point is that they will refuse to stop the practice for religious, faith-based reasons. Those are by definition amenable to reason. People without those beliefs are more persuadable than if they didn't have them. How then can you say that religion has no influence?
Ernie: as Wilhelm Reich shows in "The Mass Psychology Of Fascism," Hitler's words cannot be trusted, ever. By his works however you can know him: and "National Socialism" is no sort of socialism.
jankaas: Perhaps not but Hitchens has pointed out that there are very many bad things that only religious humans do e.g. hacking at an infant's genitals with a blade.
by definition *not* amenable to reason
John Drinkwater: "I should add that I think Hitchens fans are the most pathetic lot of people I've come across in awhile." Yep, "What Would Christopher Do?" - that's us!!!!
God, these sums are tricky aren't they!
"@Joe Public: If you were familiar with any of the other writings and interviews by RD and CH, you would know that, if they had a magic wand and could eliminate religion from everyone's brains, they wouldn't use it."
This is true of Hitchens but not of Dawkins, and there are two videos on YouTube to back this up. One is of RD and CH disputing the point, and the other of CH relating the discussion to someone (I think in the back of a car).
Thank you, Jason, for so effectively proving my point for me.
TO : jankaas
Prof. Dawkins has provided ample of information and evidences in many of his social encounters. Only thing missing is you need to consider them beyond your religious beliefs.
Also, bit of intelligence is required to properly understand those.
You're welcome, my dear censored friend! Life can be cruel but together I know we'll pull through, Joe.
how he views Stalin’s exactly parallel treatment of the same people in Soviet Central Asia at the same time, almost identical — ceremonies in which veils were burned in the public square, mullahs were indeed shot.
- Now, because that was done by Stalin —
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Only language they understood.
PETER HITCHENS: — was that bad, or was it OK?
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Fine.
PETER HITCHENS: Right, OK. I’d like to have that settled. You’re never asked anything like enough about your attitude towards the Soviet Revolution, but —
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Fine, I’m long overdue. People will be nostalgic for it before long.
PETER HITCHENS: I’ll bear that in mind.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Yeah, they will. Wait and see
And I rest my case.
"jankaas: Perhaps not but Hitchens has pointed out that there are very many bad things that only religious humans do e.g. hacking at an infant's genitals with a blade."
sorry, but no perhaps about it. Dawkins just hasn't. no-one has. it may never be possible.
and you're wrong about circumcision. it was quite the rage in the US not too long ago. based entirely on a well meant but wrong intention. the proponents came to their decision despite it not being for religious reasons.
They speak out against the totalitarian, against the control of the mind, of the getting inside our heads, well then, why write anything to influence anyone, especially on the subject of God which seems utterly futile, why not just go away and live in silence, is it because the utilities have to be paid?
"Prof. Dawkins has provided ample of information and evidences in many of his social encounters."
none of his arguments are supported by evidence that would allow him to move beyond the truism that 'religion is neutral'.
"Only thing missing is you need to consider them beyond your religious beliefs."
wrong. what's missing is you reading what i write. i have no religious beliefs. i don't 'do' religion.
this however doesn't stop me from wondering why Dawkins thinks that the value of methodological naturalism can be transplanted into his preferred natural ontology by default.
you ever wondered about that Aeron?
"Also, bit of intelligence is required to properly understand those."
oh do behave. that's no way to respond to my post.
So it ok for children to believe in evolution that is based upon finding fossils and making assumptions but not ok to follow a religion because Dawkins doesn't like religion. Right. OK. I hear you loud and clear. You just want people to join your gang like being a Westlife fan or a Take That fan.
Hitchens say that believers have a lot of work ahead of them to proof existence of a higher being but I say Hitchens is the one who needs to fasten with 2/3(we know its more!!) of the planet still beliving in higher being. chop chop hitch
Some of really need to start letting go of your hopes that one is exclusive to people with faith. Please don't tell me we will live one more century where everybody becomes athiest(btw nicknamed 'haters').
Love the discourse... it is vital. Keep it civil and open your minds.
Substitute "Nazi" for Catholic and "Communist" for Muslim. It is all army building and it is criminal child abuse.
Jason Pilley: No one says "What would Christopher do?" except in jest. Christopher would smack us for that... think for yourself. And by the way... we know Christopher exists, we can't same the same for Jesus !
Hitch is gone. I cried when I read the news. We'll never see his like again.
If God doesn't exist, why do RD and CH spend so much time discussing the errors of those who do? Who needs God, Lenin, Hitler, etc when you can sit at the feet of this self-indulgent pair and pour over every word of their "wisdom"?
Will those who try to defend the belief in the existence of God and the various religions surrounding that belief from the attack of non-believers please understand that prior to the attack on the WTC most atheist were silent non-believers but then we recognised that religion in its extreme forms and at its most vociferous had made the world a dangerous place to live. That coupled with the rape of children by catholic priests made we quiet atheists stand up and complain at the top of our voices that the religious extremists should cut it back a bit.
I personally have a partner who is a good Christian lady and we live in harmony because she does not try to persuade me from my beliefs and I do not try to persuade her from hers. Its simpe really. Have you beliefs by al means and welcome but keep them yourself and certainly do not use them to justify killing others.
"Actually, I find it hard to believe that you are interested in an answer. I believe you are interested in getting off on a message board because you feel smug when someone can't deliver you their worldview in four lines."
fine be like that. wish i hadn't bothered, though i did think that was the whole point of these boards. have no idea either what you would be willing and able to put in an email that you can't say here. weird.
I don't answer to a divine leader. Don't care what the Pope or anyone says...
God is my direct contact, and I have 66 books of his revealed revelations.
"...which would be the case is He hadn't revealed Himself in His Book. He's too complex to be understood, true. But he laid out the details."
ok. so this is what you believe to be correct about the God part of my post; because He iscomplex beyond human comprehension, He always existed.
you seem however to have forgotten what this implies about our knowledge of the Universe. so your response is not really complete.
so would you please answer the following statement with a 'agree' or 'don't agree', as your position on God implies it?
the Universe isn't all that complex, mere humans already fully understand it, and we've concluded it could not have always existed.
I'm really going to miss this guy. I was blind but now I can see.
Only in a conversation between two "free" thinkers could one get away with attributing Nazism to extreme religious right, rather than social darwinism. Here they are condemning the fruit of their worldview and attempting to pin it to their sworn enemy. Two men whose life's work spells out their anthem for us: "There is no God and I hate Him." Poor Hitchens now answers to the God he has spent his life hating.
Like a child who must climb upon his father's lap to slap him in the face, so is the man who uses the created order and the laws of loigic to attempt to refute the One who created them. An entire life devoted to lap-sitting-face-slapping is a sad thing to see.
"From where I'm sitting, it isn't the "religious" that commit infanticide and call it an act of mercy on the so-called mother."
well said. God murders about 1 in every 3 babies in the womb, causing miscarriage. not very nice now is it? or perhaps you think it is perfectly acceptable that your loving God murders around 50 million babies per annum?
"to have children in the public school indoctrinated (at an increasingly earlier age) into believing that homosexuality is a-ok."
which it is. homosexuality is completely mundane and widespread in the animal world. humans are no exception, we are just another animal.
"Make no mistake that awful acts have been committed "in the name of God." It's called false religion."
and awful acts have been committed by the non-religious, so let's call that false secularism.
" True religion seeks to preserve life and marriage and benevolence."
then there's precious little "true religion" isn't there? even you seem quite short on benevolence btw.
"Anything short of that is a perversion of the only legitimate religion."
and which version of Christianity would that be then?
Discussions like this will be the end of religion. Keep it coming!
Thanks for those who answered rather than simply labeling me "believer" in order to discredit me without having to argue any point. I have 5 further remarks:
- Many misunderstood my point about 'religious' children. I am not disregarding the view that children should not be educated in a religion (even if I disagree), I said I understand it from RD's perspective. I am merely criticizing the way RD said it, "the way THEY label children a 'Christian child' ", it's simply not true; nobody speaks of a "Muslim child". A "black child", an "Italian child", yes. I perceive in RD's formulation that he knows he is speaking to an audience of followers and is demagogically creating an enemy, "they". Perhaps just saying "children shouldn't be educated in a religion" didn't sound witty or original enough, but I think he should have opted for this line.
- I also observe RD and many commentators do not differentiate between religion and belief in god. You can be a theist, who "feels" god in his heart but who rejects all religions as dangerous ideologies (do militant atheists have anything against that?). Furthermore, you can be an atheist who believes in a religion on cultural, philosophical, moral, or even identity grounds, without being interested in spirituality and without "feeling" god.
- An ideology, whether religious or not, should be judged on both its fundamental principles and its application. Religious and non-religious ideologies have caused good and bad, I don't think any of them stand out as being the ideal system, although some are worse than others. For people who believe their enlightenment is unique and no one before today thought of "humanism" (rationality and universal human values), yes that sounds ideal, but it's only sustainable if 100% of the population is intelligent, educated, rich and nice. An unrealistic and weak ideology is eventually overtaken by a stronger ideology. I have little doubt that the formerly Christian western Europe is now only living an atheist phase, and its diluted -and often compensatingly consumerist- identity will soon be taken over by Islam, for example.
- Religions have in common that their motor is, overall, belief in the divine, which gives the ideology more strength, more devotion, however they should not be equated and put in the same "religion" bag. They are different in their essence and application. For instance the essential message of Christianity is pretty much a humanist one, indeed distorted by men interested in power. Pretty much like Communism. The essential message of Islam is contrary to universal human values since its inception -pretty much like Nazism- and many of its evil concepts are still applied today.
- I have this inkling 95% of militant atheists have four Christian grandparents. Should this be true, it could mean Christianity has more to do with their views than they'd want to believe.
Heartbroken (but not so surprised) to hear of the death of Christopher Hitchens, my hero. Right now it feels like cold comfort to know that his brilliance, intellect, passion, wit, humour, and sensibility lives on in his books--one of the very few ways in which there is life after death. Will lift a glass to you tonight Hitch --your transcendent mind, your remarkable ear for words...
Same old same old ... yada yada yada. Believe in God or don't believe in God, it's a deeply personal choice and no one else's business. The truth is no-one really knows what happens when you shuffle off your mortal coil so let's all stop arguing about it! Live and let live
George Eaton (@georgeeaton) is editor of The Staggers blog