Actually I find the Hitchens' rant you posted not one of his best moments ...impressive and shocking in its way, but rather one dimensional too. Have you read his book 'God is not Great'; it is a much more balanced account, full of polemic (his dismantling of the mother Theresa myth is masterful), but also very witty, erudite and actually full of humanity too.
You ask what alternative Hitchens offers. Well the trick is to accept that the alternative is that there is no alternative and no need for an alternative. We are what we are, here and now, we come from nothing and we go to nothing and if we all spent more effort making the most of that amazing situation we find ourselves in, the world would likely be a better place. Actually, for me at least, it is a form of letting go and liberation that perhaps a Buddhist would recognise (an irony that I am sure did not escape Mr Hitchens).
In God Is Not Great he explains his vision
'Above all, we are in need of a renewed Enlightenment, which will base itself on the proposition that the proper study of mankind is man and woman [referencing Alexander Pope]. This Enlightenment will not need to depend, like its predecessors, on the heroic breakthroughs of a few gifted and exceptionally courageous people. It is within the compass of the average person. The study of literature and poetry, both for its own sake and for the eternal ethical questions with which it deals, can now easily depose the scrutiny of sacred texts that have been found to be corrupt and confected. The pursuit of unfettered scientific inquiry, and the availability of new findings to masses of people by electronic means, will revolutionize our concepts of research and development. Very importantly, the divorce between the sexual life and fear, and the sexual life and disease, and the sexual life and tyranny, can now at last be attempted, on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse. And all this and more is, for the first time in our history, within the reach if not the grasp of everyone.'
a further musing, if i may...
i'd be interested to hear from fellow Hitch admirers, their opinion on this trend of condemnation and negative association as opposed to offering alternatives and a dedication to them.
there seems in my mind, an almost pathological obsession with nay-saying and critique; these issues must be addressed of course, but why relegate one's self to a sideline of commentary rather than pro-activity?
i greatly admire Hitchens on many levels, and Stephen Fry's comments are also close to my heart. but, like Zappa was wont to do, it seems that a constant, almost obsessive buffeting of where others are going wrong; an intellectual wallowing in quicksand, that ultimately, offers forth no possible road map to a more agreeable state, is the preferred option.
wouldn't time have been better spent positing a more agreeable course?
this may well read like a mighty contradiction, and a frankly hypocritical idea from someone who has ranted and rained down scorn in the past; i hold up my hands. but, by passionately arguing for the removal of religious intrusion into the lives of the nonplussed, surely a debate equivalent to a literary roundabout is the only outcome.
why not concentrate on something positive? why not dedicate one's life to a "better choice"?
handsomely paid intellectual discussion, the equivalent of a Linus blanket; an enveloping warmth of fire-side safety-chat that is a lot easier to indulge in than a hoisting of the sleeves. the comfortable refuge of the "educated"?
i'm not sure.
i AM a fan. but i get tired of the apparent absolving of the commentator. a verbal jerk-off.
maybe i commit the same "crime". maybe it's all healthy. maybe i'm still wrestling.
anyone the patience to comment out there?
i take my bows, TL!!! you're very kind!
i do think the points raised in the speeches are incredibly pertinent; they are things that must be addressed, i feel, by anyone claiming to be a "Catholic".
i believe that many people would be horrified if it was their boss or mother or father that behaved in a particular way and spoke loudly and with self-justification and took it upon themselves to claim they were speaking on your behalf; people wouldn't stand for it and rightly so.
but it seems that the Church, as an organisation, is allowed to behave in this manner. how come? that isn't a self-righteous remark, it's what happens, isn't it?
i do believe that any religion should have the same warnings and restrictions that hallucinogenic plants endure. and natural let us not forget, these are NATURAL plants; if everything on earth was placed here by God, then they were put here for a reason also.
both are dangerous, both can be abused, both can lead to enlightenment and comfort and safety and compassion and love. but they are the same.
a quick mention of Terence McKenna's wonderful "Food Of The God's" book is important here.
me personally? i'm only interested in whether people are Kynd or not. that is only what concerns me. i don't lay the blame for systematic torture, abuse and death at the feet of every Christian folk. something as futile and pathetic as treating every German as a fully paid up member of the nazi party and complicit in the holocaust. utter nonsense i think you'd agree.
i encourage as many world views and opinions and beliefs and faiths as possible. none of us know what the answers are. so it means we're the same. i hope both sides of the argument take note.
and yes, Mr. Pid, a topic for philosophical discussion would be a good addition.
possible suggestions for a title could be:
Islam or Isn'tlam?
Our Führer, who art in Heaven
McDonalds or Burka King?
"I can't believe it's not Buddha!"
Allah Rama Ding Dong
Choirboys have a centre parting because...
Sikh And Destroy
Sokka Cack-eye Ate My Hamster
"I'm just not that Hindu you"
"The Pope, a Black and a Jew walk into a Bar..."
Christ Christ Baby, doo doo doo doo-do-do-doo-doo
"He's not the Messiah, he's a VERY NAUGHTY BOY!"
whatever gets us through this complicated and sometimes scary life, i say.
peace to all.
well, far be it from me to be a tease...
your wishes are my command.
however, contrary to posts that've been misinterpreted before, this video (in my opinion) is not intended to denounce religion or claim there is no God.
i do believe there is a God, but not necessarily in the popular form so worshipped today.
there is no doubt that many working in various religions around the world are selfless, honest and do more for humankind that either i, or very possibly, you, the good people on the forums.
i do feel that if the Catholic Church were to really listen to what Mr. Fry & Mr. Hitchens had to say, and offer the kind of apologies that we would be so quick to give, then the world would be a better place.
this is in no way intended to poke fun or belittle people's faith. these videos deal with facts that desperately need addressing. i think any moral, right-minded person would agree.
i'm not an atheist and never will be. i'm not an "anything".
please everyone think clearly before ripping it apart.
i can see no reason why science and spirituality aren't the very best of bedfellows.
let us remember that by only focusing on "intelligence" , one can be just as guilty and blinkered as another party.
Hell In A Bucket? Death Don't Have No Mercy? A Closer Look Reveals The Human Race?
Anyone else got an idea?
Obviously the blurb should indicate that all points of view are fair game, discussion encouraged, but flaming, hate speech and ad hominem attacks, no.
if such a place existed, what would you call it?
You mean I'm the only one who actually got to see it? Cogent, eloquent and quite pointed, as usual. Any chance our good friend The Pancake Man might be persuaded to provide the URL via PM to anyone requesting it? Nudge, nudge...
I was contemplating posting here after viewing, but then remembered that I tend to not contribute to this thread for very much the same reason as I don't use lavatories bearing the sign, "Women." People who find value in Religion and Spirituality deserve to have a place where they can discuss those issues in an unmolested way.
I don't know if there's much demand for it, but perhaps another thread for more general philosophy would be an appropriate place for those who have no use for Religion and don't mind saying so. Yes, I know it smacks of the ugly "separate but equal" thing, but also provides a modicum of respect to both the pro- and anti- camps.
Now, which way is it to the Gents?
Going to save the video to watch later...gone!
But as I'm in Mr. Badger's camp, it likely was preaching to the choir. Ouch! I couldn't come up with a different, somewhat less loaded, cliche after that one got in my head.
Actually, I tuned back in expecting a firestorm...not disappointed, much.
aloha from limbo (betwixt and between London & Yokohama)!!!
yes, even though i meant the video as a genuine starting point for discussion, not an argument against, i felt i would have to clarify to whomever commented.
i didn't want to start any long-running back-and-forths; i've learned that no matter how one frames a point of view, this subject will usually be taken too seriously and mis-interpretation will, alas, be inevitable.
a shame as i think Hitchen was less bullish than usual and posed some very pertinent points.
i guess i'm getting too old for confrontation or tiring of explanation. things like this will always be taken out of context.
my life is getting too short....