Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is Christianity Good for the World-Hitchens/Wilson Debate

Just finished the short book, Is Christianity Good For The World over a long cup of coffee. Thoroughly enjoyed both. Atheists and Christians, alike, will enjoy this debate between Wilson and Hitchens. However, Hitchens' cheerleaders will be tempted to dribble little bits of their morning coffee all over the book. That, say, as opposed to throwing little bits of wadded up paper at a televised debate. Their champion, while eloquent, is clearly not up to the task of taking down his straw man opponent. I say that because Hitchens seems to want to attack what is worst in Christianity but cannot give an adequate answer for what is best in Atheism.

Wilson repeatedly asks Hitchens to offer support for why Atheism is a worthy alternative to Christianity. Or put more in Wilson's formula, What is the basis of any authority for Atheism? Why ought we to listen to you, Mr. Hitchens?

Hitchens seem completely flummoxed by this line of questioning. Other than a very vague response to this question, say "We evolved authority", Hitchens, and atheism for that matter, cannot offer up any compelling reason for us to listen to them. Wilson's answer is that Christianity is good for the world becuase Christianity offers us a way to answer questions about good and evil. Hitchens can still accuse men of committing evil but he has no steam in his engine to justify his accusation.

Wilson asks Hitchens to justify himself and he is still waiting for an answer.

You will enjoy this book. I sincerely hope many atheists buy this book with the intent of doing a better job than Hitchens of answering the question. Or, they may see their Goliath fall and be forced to hie it on out of there with the rout of the Davidsons on their heels.


richard said...

I haven't read the book, but I read the debate as it was published on (and it's still there, links here). Is anything different in the book, or is it a straight transcript?

The best line, without a doubt of the whole debate...
"the two fundamental tenets of true atheism. One: There is no God. Two: I hate Him."

Virgil said...

The book is pretty much the original debate as published on CT. However, there is a good forward by Jonah Goldberg and new introductory comments by Wilson and Hitchens.