Don’t Confuse me with the Facts

I’ve just finished reading an extract of Christopher Hitchen’s ‘God is not Great’ which he concludes with the words, ‘As I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard-won human attainments that I have touched upon. Religion poisons everything.’ Before coming to this conclusion he runs through the usual ill-defined nonsense. He states there four core arguments against the existence of God. But before that he already tells us that he has decided the case on the basis not of argument but experience. Thus in his investigation of religion he has closed his mind before weighing the issues. But of course he is not like those religious fundamentalists with their closed minds. We know that because he tells us it is so!

Hitchens writes, ‘There still remain four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking.’ If I may have the temerity to challenges Hitchens argument, without trying to poison the minds of any-

1. Religious faith does not inherently misrepresent the origins of man and the cosmos. Since not all faiths are agreed upon this. Indeed not all Christians are agreed on the interpretation of the the Bible’s teachings on origins. Some favour mainstream scientific theories being compatible with Christian teaching others do not. But Hitchens spirit of open inquiry is too lazy to actually consider this.

2. I assume in argument 2 we are the ones who are in servility and God maximises the solipsism. This assumes that those who worship God are servile. That is of course Hitchens’ spin rather than the result of inquiry. I like millions of others across the centuries find joy in knowing and serving God. Facts borne out by the hymnology of the Christian tradition.

3. A careful reading of the Bible would clearly show Hitchens that Jesus taught a message of liberation not sexual repression. For example in his teaching on divorce he taught that men could not simply get rid of a wife they no longer wanted by mere casuistry. But again that is a fact that would not fit with Hitchens tilting at windmills.

4. Hitchens explains religion on the old Feuerbach/Freud/Marx idea of wish fulfillment. Again their arguments like his were rooted in their own prejudices rather than any examination of facts. The wish fulfillment theory simply holds no water. e.g. if religion explains our longing for a father figure when then do so many religions not have a father figure?

Hitchens expressed desire to have free inquiry apart from prejudice is just what he says he is seeking to expose- poisonous myth-making.

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One Response to “Don’t Confuse me with the Facts”

  1. Feargal Says:

    I find Hitchen’s assertion that religious faith is the casue and result of dangerous sexual repression loopy. Has he ever read Solomon’s Song? Or read anything by Paul? I agree with you, he is the kind of man you could use as an illustration why you should never mix party drugs.

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