In the New Yorker this week, Anthony Gottlieb reviews Christopher Hitchen's new book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
He has this to say about Christopher:
Hitchens is nothing if not provocative. Creationists are "yokels," Pascal's theology is "not far short of sordid," the reasoning of the Christian writer C.S. Lewis is "so pathetic as to defy description," Calvin was a "sadist and torturer and killer," Buddhist sayings are "almost too easy to parody," most Eastern spiritual discourse is "not even wrong," Islam is "a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms," Hanukkah is a "vapid and annoying holiday," and the psalmist King David was an "unscrupulous bandit."
Hitchens is irreverent, as we see. Gottlieb goes on:
It's possible to wonder, indeed, where plain speaking ends and misanthropy begins: Hitchens says that the earth sometimes seems to him to be "a prison colony and lunatic asylum that is employed as a dumping ground by far-off and superior civilizations."
Gottleib continues from there. Hitchens also attacks circumcision, which the World Health Organization recently announced helps prevent the spread of AIDS. Well, who knows what Hitchens really believes. He, as Falwell did, makes a living with what he says. The point is to continue to let each speak, and what I saw on Fox news certainly was an argument for that. Why, if Hitchens is not sorry that Falwell is dead, does he need to say that he is?
I admit to watching the Sopranos, seeing the hypocrisy of lives where they kiss at a continuing array of memorial services, and then, kill each other in the next scene. It seems that honesty of feeling is the way to go, and, by the way, it sells books. If you didn't know of Christopher Hitchens and his book before, you certainly do now, and so there we are. Marketing Ho!
Again, if you didn't check it out, or, if you did, check it again. Whether or not, you agree with what he says, Hitchens is amazingly articulate. May we all speak as well, though choosing to live with less cynicism and more hope.