God Is Not Great – He Is Boring

I’m giving up on “God Is Not Great – How religion poisons everything.” by Christopher Hitchens for the second time. On my first attempt I made it to 23% on my Kindle; this time around I stuck it out to 32%.

I’m a great admirer of Hitchens, and if I were the type to cultivate heroes, he would be one of them. I’ve probably watched 20+ hours of him in various debates/lectures/interviews on YouTube and nothing is more entertaining than watching him destroy a Jesus freak with logic and merciless acerbic wit.

I don’t think there’s anything he has said that I disagree with (apart from his support for America’s unprovoked attack on Iraq, and the subsequent decade-long train wreck of a war), and there’s nothing I have said that he couldn’t have said better. I hold the man to be a true intellectual giant.

BUT, watching him demolish some poor creationist dimwit on stage doesn’t necessarily translate well to the written format. Un-reciprocated snark and belittlement has little entertainment value. While the man clearly is a good debater and wordsmith, it quickly gets annoying when he tries to make a point of, and prove, his superiority in this regard in every other sentence. It makes you look like an arrogant prick. Furthermore, this style is most probably a turnoff for the very audience he (presumably) aims to convert, which makes me doubt his motivation in the first place.

While I do not consider myself anywhere near his academic league and intellectual stature, I haven’t read anything of his that I haven’t thought, or reasoned, myself at some level, however murky and dim. He has, nevertheless, helped illuminate and clarify my own nebulous speculations, I’ll give him that.

While I enjoy him “live” and respect him greatly, there is a strong element of snobbery about him and he clearly takes some sadistic joy in figuratively disemboweling his opponents that may be entertaining in a debate, but tiresome in writing. I’m not at all sure I would have liked him in person (and he probably wouldn’t enjoy hanging out with me). I might still give one of his non-atheist themed books a try, e.g “The Trial of Henry Kissinger” or his indictment of Mother Teresa, “The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice“.

In conclusion, lest there should be any doubt; I believe the world is a better place for Christopher Hitchens having graced us with his presence, cut untimely short as it was.

On Religion And Theology

Philosophy is like being in a dark room looking for a black cat.

Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there.

Theology is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there and shouting “I found it!”.

~ Some guy on the Internet

I came across this on the Internet. I don’t know who the author is, so he shall remain uncredited, suffice to say I didn’t come up with it, but I thought it was pretty clever and approve of the message

My Hero Is Gone – Christopher Hitchens Dead

I just heard the sad news. Christopher Hitchens has succumbed to esophageal cancer. Creationists all over the  world rejoice, thanking Jesus, while reasonable people are mourning. I would say R.I.P., but that would be an insult.

If the music died 02-03-1959­, then reason and acerbic wit took a hit 12-15-2011­.

I’m not old enough to remember where I was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but I do have John Lennon (sitting in a van listening to the radio, waiting for the post office at St. Olav’s Square in Oslo, Norway to open) and Christoper Hitchens (right here in front of my computer in Newtown, Connecticut). Oddly enough I don’t think they would have gotten along very well.

I regard Mr Hitchens a beacon of reason and logic and unsurpassed intellectual wit and honesty in a world that suffers from ignorance and superstition, not only abroad, but increasingly so right here at home. He was the standard bearer promoting atheism (he referred to himself as an “anti-theist”) and casting off the shackles of religion.

I didn’t agree with him on everything (America’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq in 2003 being the biggie), but the world needed his passion for truth now more than ever. The world is a much, much , MUCH better place for having been lucky enough to have him around.