Religious liberty

Now Playing at Reason.tv: Hell, the Preview

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If you're looking to kill an hour and a half with a preview of Hell itself, check out this debate between Dinesh D'Souza and Christopher Hitchens on the dread topic of God, thumb up or thumb down? Throw in the original "compassionate conservative" gangsta Marvin Olasky as moderator and you're good to go.

Josh Strawn puts on his best Charlton Heston and damns them all to hell in his smart write-up in Jewcy.

NEXT: What Presidential Campaign Are We Talking About Again?

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  1. It would be lovely to watch these two maniac right-wingers fight it out. Wwill have to wait till I get home.

  2. Wow, so that’s what hell is like.

  3. I can’t think of any other human I’d rather spend a couple hours with over a bottle of Scotch and a decent Churchill than Hitchens. It’s nice to see rational atheism (as opposed to mindless nihilism masquerading as atheism) finally getting a public airing. It’s only taken 100,000 years.
    Better late…

  4. http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/10/i_was_a_cardcarrying_libertari.php

    Nick, this a-hole Stephen Green over at Pajamas Media says he used to be a libertarian, but isn’t anymore – and it’s NICK GILLESPIE’S FAULT.

    That sounds to me like he’s calling you out. You’ve been served.

    Can we have a blog war between Reason and Pajamas Media? Please? Pretty please?

    You’re not going to take this crap, are you? You aren’t chicken, right?

  5. Damn, I would love to be on the front lines of a blog war

  6. digging trenches deep in their bbcode and slinging canisters of heated metaphor gas

  7. That sounds to me like he’s calling you out. You’ve been served.

    Oooh! Serve him back! That means IT’S ON!

  8. You think you want to be there on the front lines, boy? I pray you don’t get what you’re askin’ for.

    Horror. Absolute horror.

  9. To quote Henry Kissinger:

    Iz zere any vey zey can boze looze?

  10. I love the fact that Hitch is ignoring the bottles of water in front of him and instead is tightly clutching some sort of brown liquid, Sweet tea, I’d imagine.

  11. Fluffy,

    There’s not much fight to be had there. Stephen Green is the unserious one. He’s conflating disagreement over the Iraq war (that had fuck-all to do with 9/11) with the almost unanimous support for the war in Afghanistan (that did). He’s also trashing the most successful editor in the history of the magazine in terms of increased exposure and acceptance. He’s got a losing hand of marked cards. Gillespie might pull a leather-clad muscle punching through this paper housecat.

  12. From the pajamasmedia article:

    But I know this much: There’s no going back. Maybe there’s just too little room for principle in such a violent world.

    What a pussy. ‘Ohh, I got all scared by the bad man in the turban and only Rudy Guiliani can save us!!!’

    When the going gets rough, he leaves all his “Radical, edge of the nation” principles and runs back to Daddy’s GOP because they’ll protect him.

    Anyway…

  13. I can’t think of any other human I’d rather spend a couple hours with over a bottle of Scotch and a decent Churchill than Hitchens. It’s nice to see rational atheism (as opposed to mindless nihilism masquerading as atheism) finally getting a public airing. It’s only taken 100,000 years.
    Better late…

    Rational atheist? That genocidal maniac with the manners of a drunk sailor and the enunciation of a drunk Englishman?

    I’d rather drink with a teetotaler and smoke with Meathead.

  14. I suspect true believers aren’t really the intended audience here, but I wonder if those who indulge the urge to argue about whether God is a blessing or a curse consider what believers think of them and their debates.

    God, of course, exists or not regardless of whether we’re better off without him, as do I, believers, non-believers and every other consciousness in the universe. Maybe when they’re through debating whether society would be better off without belief in a deity, they could argue about whether we’d be better off without American Idol, which also seems to have a cult following.

  15. I agree, Bernd, Hitch is a drunken buffoon who likes him some war. Rational atheist or no, screw that guy.

  16. Oh, and for the record, drunk or sober, Christopher Hitchens is more interesting than any or you ever will be.

  17. ken, true true true dat.

    man d’souza is a real lightweight.

  18. genocidal maniac with the manners of a drunk sailor

    drunken buffoon who likes him some war

    Witness the mental capacity of Hitchens’ detractors.
    Is that the best you can do? Really? How sad.

  19. My favorite take in this whole tiresome debate (the general one, not Hitchens vs. D’Souza), is the one by the asshats who proclaim that they aren’t personally religious but that religious belief is a good thing because it makes people behave themselves. Sort of “opiate of the masses,” but in an affirmative way.

  20. ChrisO,

    There are some legitimate moral principles in all religions. Where theists and I diverge is where theists claim their particular god’s authority in defining morality. Theists cannot resolve the inescapable contradiction of one species claiming a thousand competing philosophies, all of which are false (except theirs, of course).

  21. ChrisO,

    My favorite take in this whole tiresome debate (the general one, not Hitchens vs. D’Souza), is the one by the asshats who proclaim that they aren’t personally religious but that religious belief is a good thing because it makes people behave themselves.

    As a believer, Im going to ditto your asshat. I can deal with anti-God atheists (they at least make sense). But non-believers who think religion is a good idea make me sick. Its sort of a reverse gnosticism, or maybe another form of gnosticism. Either way, it is evil.

  22. crap. Trying again.

    Theists cannot resolve the inescapable contradiction of one species claiming a thousand competing philosophies, all of which are false mostly true (except theirs, of course).

    Fixed that for you.

  23. Can’t watch the damn thing because of windows media player validation.

  24. As a believer, Im going to ditto your asshat. I can deal with anti-God atheists (they at least make sense). But non-believers who think religion is a good idea make me sick. Its sort of a reverse gnosticism, or maybe another form of gnosticism. Either way, it is evil.

    I don’t see it as anything so high falutin’ as gnosticism. More like hypocrisy and rampant egotism. It’s religion as a form of crowd control with the speaker, of course, not being a mere member of the ‘crowd’. I’ve seen this ugly phenomenon poke its head out at National Review at least once, and it seems to exist among a subspecies of Washington-based conservatives who talk it but don’t feel the need to walk it.

    There are some legitimate moral principles in all religions.

    Sure, and that wasn’t my point. In fact, if you want to look at the advance of western thought between the Neo-Stoics and and the Enlightenment, you mostly have to look at thinkers who worked under the guise of theology.

    Merely because I accept some of the moral precepts created or advanced by Christianity does not mean I have to accept its cosmology, or even that I have to accept all of Christianity’s moral tenets.

  25. Fixed that for you.

    That clich? has gotten tiresome. Time to toss it in the LOL bin.

  26. Oh, and for the record, drunk or sober, Christopher Hitchens is more interesting than any or you ever will be.

    Actually, I should have limited my comment to some of his boring detractors–most of the rest of you are actually very interesting, so please consider the comment amended.

  27. That clich? has gotten tiresome.

    Fair enough. I actually hated it from the beginning. Not sure why I used it. I hereby promose to not use that particular cliche on this site ever again. I reserve the right to link to lolcats for all eternity however.

  28. I don’t see it as anything so high falutin’ as gnosticism. More like hypocrisy and rampant egotism.

    Im going to stick with gnosticism. They claim to have the real truth while pushing something else on the common folk. “Religion is good for them but we know its not real.”

    I’ve seen this ugly phenomenon poke its head out at National Review at least once,

    Very common at the Weekly Standard. In fact, Ive heard Kristol basically say that. Its a common neo-con concept.

  29. so we’re talking about “noble lie” type folk, rather than “well, everyone is entitled to a spiritual life because it is part of the human animal and really none of my beeswax” folk?

  30. Im going to stick with gnosticism. They claim to have the real truth while pushing something else on the common folk. “Religion is good for them but we know its not real.”

    I can see where you are coming from in the notion of faith vs. knowledge inherent in Gnosticism. However the process of Gnosis wasn’t necessarily exclusive, but more akin to the Buddhist idea of becoming an enlightened one. The Gnostics believed that mere faith without knowledge of the creator was useless, not that they themselves were the only ones entitled to special knowledge (though there were about a zillion different types of Gnosticism, so maybe some believed that?).

    so we’re talking about “noble lie” type folk, rather than “well, everyone is entitled to a spiritual life because it is part of the human animal and really none of my beeswax” folk?

    Well, that’s what robc and I are talking about. Bit of a diversion from the Hitchens vs. D’Souza debate. Hitchens doesn’t believe that religion is a “noble” like, and D’Souza obviously doesn’t believe it’s a lie at all.

  31. ChrisO,

    IIRC (and I may not be), the gnosticism that Paul was warning against in some of his letters to the early churches was of the “revealed knowledge to insiders” type. To make a modern analogy:

    Gnosticism == Microsoft
    Christianity == Linux

    Christianity is supposed to be open source. Everyone has access (if they so choose to use it) to all the information God has revealed.

  32. Hitchens is erudite and witty in ways I can only envy, but sometimes I wonder if he is more interested in being smart and interesting than right.

    I have seen him delight in being the devil’s advocate too many times and when his words actually result in serious consequences (the death of that Hitchens acolyte in Iraq) he seems more embarrassed than contrite.

  33. IIRC (and I may not be), the gnosticism that Paul was warning against in some of his letters to the early churches was of the “revealed knowledge to insiders” type.

    Paul may have said that, but that is a rather warped reading of what Gnosticism was. Irenaeus was the main Christian writer who propagandized against Gnosticism, which appears to have been a significant force in early Christian history. If anything, I believe that Gnosticism was a Middle Eastern synthesis of traditional belief with Buddhist ideas. Buddhism was then at its historical high point and had at least some contact with the Middle East.

    For me as an atheist, of course, even the Gnostics’ purported “knowledge” is simply another article of faith, since it wasn’t based on the physical world.

  34. robc,

    Well, the question is whether that is an accurate description of human society. Leo Strauss certainly thought so.

  35. I wish this Stephen Green character were the exception, but of course he is quite the rule. Youthful idealism naturally gives way to bitterness against the young and idealistic, yearning for the good old days, and wanting the government to take care of you. You get arthritis, your eyesight and memory worsen, and all of a sudden you feel a lot more vulnerable. Since the free market can’t guarantee your health and security, you eventually demand that the government provide you with them and to hell with those stupid kids yammering about freedom.

    I’m 23. I really hope this doesn’t happen to me, but apparently this philosophical malady can overtake even those who are diametrically opposed to it in their youth, so all bets are off. fuck.

  36. oh, and Hitchens is awesome. not with him on the war issue, though it’s possibly telling that he’s switched his ideological focus from the war to religion

  37. “oh, and Hitchens is awesome. not with him on the war issue, though it’s possibly telling that he’s switched his ideological focus from the war to religion”

    I suspect he sees them as related issues. I’m not sure he’d be wrong about that.

  38. If this is what hell is like then I’m thankful not to believe in it.

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