Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Christopher Hitchens vs. Chris Hedges

I hover somewhere between being a Deist and an Agnostic. Though, I can respect someone who sincerely believes in the dogma of a religion. I've just been there before and have found the handprint of man all over many religous teachings. It's just my opinion. I can understand someone who disagrees. So why is it that so many people are so hostile on this topic -- from both the left and the right? I'm finding a number of recent books that advocate for one side or the other with such vitriol that you would think that the Spanish Inquisition was on it's way back.

Christopher Hitchens is one such individual. I saw him debate his new book on C-SPAN about two weeks ago and was stunned on how inflexible and downright dogmatic he was about his point of view. He wants all religions to go away as they are corrupting factors on societies. I agree that any belief system that insists that all people believe the same thing can be dangerous. That's why I question both the religious right and the likes of Christoher Hitchens. If he stopped to listen to himself (which I doubt he ever has) he would hear a voice sounding very much like the one he is criticizing: dogmatic, rigid, and, oh let's not forget, RUDE!

Christopher Hitchens recently debated Chris Hedges "over the meaning of religion in our lives and politics today." Once again the man demonstrates that he has no ability to hear anything but the voices in his own head. I suppose this is the same kind of pigheaded thinking that leads him to continue to support the war in Iraq.

From a May 29, 2007 Alternet report by Anneli Rufus:
"Hitchens vs. Hedges; Atheist vs. Believer Clash Ignites Audience" —

Hitchens broke in, repeatedly overrunning [KPFA's Interim Program Director Sasha Lilley], disdaining as "callow leftism" the "evil nonsense taught by Hedges ... that Palestinian suicide bombers are driven by despair.... These are people in a state of exaltation [for] their mullahs and their filthy religion," Hitchens raged, dismissing at once "any other explanation of Islamic jihad" besides a religious one, then likewise dismissing "anyone who eulogizes this evil wicked thing."

I agree more with Chris Hedges. (Actually, he is kind of a hero of mine. See my post Chris Hedges on the Christian Right )

"God is better understood as a verb than as a noun," he ventured. "God is a process." Invoking Tillich, Flaubert and Freud, Hedges finished his introductory remarks by proposing that "the danger is not Islam. ... The danger is the human heart."

I debated in my mind whether to carry Hitchens' book. I decided to carry it because I believe that it's important to hear multiple sides to an argument. Individuals like Hitchens make me think twice, though. I would rather dismiss him as an arrogant prick. But this would be dangerous. Arrogant people who think that they always right and manage to grab media attention for their message can sometimes turn into something extremely unpleasant ... even dangerous.

Update: To a see a video of the debate, go to KPFA.org or YouTube.


Post a Comment