11/10/08

New Hitchens debate

Link here.

This must be the 5th debate I've fully listened to, but it isn't for substance that I keep coming back to Hitchens. The man, quite simply, is charisma embodied. I just can't quite you, Chris.

I have a feeling that many of you enjoy Chris Hitchens for other reasons- perhaps you think his arguments are sound or something along those lines. I'm offering a challenge. Change my mind about the merits of his arguments by formulating them in some kind of systematic fashion (a numbered syllogism would do just fine) and provide evidence for the important steps. I'll take the top submissions and dedicate a post for each of them to spur discussion.

If you are regulars here, tell your atheist friends that they are welcome to offer their own interpretations of Hitchens's arguments. I'm not doing this to be inflammatory or arrogant, but I really want to know why aside from a masterful, sardonic wit, people think he is a serious threat to the veracity of theistic belief.

Go nuts everyone.

4 comments:

  1. 1: He's got an accent.
    2: He's pretty good at that thing where you string words together in a sequential way.
    3: It's debate, which is more about rhetorical combat than, say, converting (or deconverting someone). Hitchens is pretty good at Arguments from Outrage, and those, for lack of a better term, "work" in debates.
    4: The limited time and format of debate greatly limits one's options. If philosophers haven't proved/disproved something in the time since we discovered fire, then person X isn't going to do it in ten minutes, or rebut the other guy's proof in five. Also, you've probably noticed that most debaters are "live" but working from a script. Hitchens has a pretty good script. This is because he's good, as I said earlier, at that thing with the words and the organization of them.
    5: None of these things have any bearing on God's existence or lack thereof (or god's, or gods'). Hitchens is pretty good at making you forget that fact, just like D'souza is pretty good doing the same, but instead with the Argument from Christianity Really is the Greatest Thing Ever, If You Ignore All Those People Who Don't Do It Right, which is a logical fallacy that I just made up, and one that is also tangental as to whether any gods are really out there.

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  2. "... but I really want to know why aside from a masterful, sardonic wit, people think he is a serious threat to the veracity of theistic belief."

    I think that neither Hitchens, nor the words of any other atheist, can threaten the theistic belief on anything more than the occaisional individual level.

    From my perspective, what is far more threatening to theism are theists themselves. Most Christians will never read Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, etc. But they see their fellow believers in action daily. That was enough to end my 25 year journey as a believer.

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  3. bob,

    I can appreicate your comments and even agree that many who claim to follow Jesus Christ do not act in accordance to what He taught.

    However, it has been wisely said that one should not judge a philosophy or worldview by those who abuse it.

    Jesus is the standard in which one should accept or reject the Christian message. After all, if Christianity is true, it is Jesus we will answer to, not those who Jesus Himself would have called, "hypocrites." Clearly, those who follow Him are far from perfect, but that's why we need Him.

    Again, I just wanted to share that respectfully and hope you have a great weekend.

    Take Care

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  4. I agree to some extent with you first point, bob. What Dawkins, Hitchens and co. do is propaganda. It has more to do with emotions than with actual merits. Their negative campaign polarize society and thus also strengthen their opponents.

    But how unethical behavior of fellow Christians underminded your faith? Have you ever heared about Judas? There's just more like him today than probably ever was.

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