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

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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.” (Slate.com)

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



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