If you have an hour and forty minutes to spare (or just want some background to your day) check out this interesting debate on religious belief. Poison or Cure? Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, goes up against Alister McGrath, author of Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolutionâ€”A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First. From Hitchens’ opening statement:
“I can’t believe there is a thinking person here who does not realize that our species would begin to grow to something like its full height if it left this childishness behind, if it emancipated itself from this sinister, childish nonsense.”
I have not read Hitchens’ book, and certainly find many other things about him to be less than desirable (namely his support for the war in Iraq), but he’s entertaining, and his arguments in this case are pretty solid. And I really enjoy this stuff.
Perhaps because of the empirical nature of the atheist argument, or perhaps because Hitchens is a superb debater, I find this debate to be remarkably one-sided. It seems to me that McGrath concedes many points to him, possibly because his own arguments are based on faith, and therefore unable to be proven or even demonstrated by example. Or possibly I am looking at it this way because I find organized religion to be, as Hitchens says, childish nonsense. McGrath does nothing to counter this.