Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Hitchens Takedown

Ross Douthat reviews Hitchens God is Not Great. That thump! you heard was Hitchens being body slammed:

More likely, though, the reader will come away unpersuaded of anything save the self-evident truth of the matter, which is that human beings, being a clannish and quarrelsome lot, tend to find all sorts of things to fight over, and that nearly every aspect of human affairs can serve as a powerful spur to actions both heroic and deplorable. So religion produces both Torquemada and Dorothy Day; philosophy spurs Socrates to die for truth and Heidegger to prostitute himself for Hitler; science cures polio and speeds our missiles on their way; the bonds of family provide the foundation for innumerable happy childhoods, but also for the Wars of the Roses. None of this is to excuse the crimes of religious believers; it's merely to suggest that the line between good and evil runs through every aspect of human affairs, and denouncing belief in God for poisoning the world is as absurd as denouncing "democracy" because it has empowered tyrants from Hitler down to Hugo Chavez, or "equality" because its partisans have included the Jacobins, the Khmer Rouge, and the KGB.

Read the whole thing.

Let's face it: Atheism works better when it is confined to an elite taste. Atheism for the masses, is . . . um, about as intellectually serious as religion for the masses, only less edifying.

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