Visit the New 92Y Blog

92Y Blog
Friday, January 18, 2008
Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em: Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach


Looks like Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is warming up for his January 30 “Does God Exist?” debate at the Y with the acerbic journalist, pundit and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens on the Huffington Post. Watch your back, Mr. Hitchens. There might be a monkey on it.

Hitchens, like Richard Dawkins, is a radical reductionist. To him we humans are nothing but intelligent mammals, thinking apes. Hence, seeing nothing uniquely human about our species, Hitchens has an extremely negative view of even those whom the rest of us consider saintly.


Of course, his favorite target is Mother Theresa: “She was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return)… Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—...She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.” (

For Hitchens, the fact that saintly individuals exhibit serious flaws is proof that we are all nothing but unimpressive orangutans. For all our talk of a noble soul and human virtue, it is our beastly nature which most predominates. This reduction of modern man to nothing more than his animal urges is what is most destroying him. Men like Hitchens would have us believe that the material is our truest essence.

Both Hitchens theory and book are seriously flawed, as I intend to point out in our debate. But its mass acceptance on the part of so many who now believe that humans were not created for any transcendent purpose is what allows them to squander their lives on ephemeral pursuits like TV binge-watching and empty celebrity chatter without regret.

New Series Alert: Sex, Violence, Passion: New Insights Into the Bible

Posted in Humanities Jewish Life at 2:38pm | Email this item to a friend. Email This to a Friend | | Back to Main

Email this item to a friend. Email this item to a friend.
The email address(es) that you supply to use this service will only be used to send the requested item.

Highlights from the
92nd Street Y and 92YTribeca universe.
About 92nd Street Y
About 92YTribeca
Contact Us
Support Us

Sort By:
92nd Street Y Topics:
92nd Street Y News
The Arts
Jewish Life
Culture Klatsch
Tell Me Why
92YTribeca Topics:
Jewish Programs
Family Programs
Tribeca Podcasts
Search 92Y Blog

Advanced Search
<   December 2015   >
s m t w t f s
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31

February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
Recent Entries
Welcome to Podium! Issue Ten
From the Poetry Center Archive: Clare Cavanagh on Wisława Szymborska
Harkness Dance Festival Brings Exciting News
4 Tips To Getting The Most Out Of Your Tea
Are You Coming To The School Of Music Open House?
RSS Feed
Mobile Version

UJA Federation of New York

Contact Us | Privacy Statement | Policies | Site Map | Help | Press Resources
© 2008 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association
All Rights Reserved. Click here for directions
Web Accessibility and the 92nd Street Y