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September 29, 2005

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Nick (South Africa)

Christopher Hitchens has become one of the new darlings of the muscular liberals and the pro pre emptive us foreign policy, pro removal of Saddam crowd (a broad 'church' whose congregation includes myself).

A goodly chunk of this crowd are notably religious; the cognitive dissonance that will be introduced by this new work can only be healthy.

It will be all the more effective it is measured rather than vitriolic.

I look forward to savouring more of Christopher Hitchens' erudite, tightly argued and well informed writing.

(Oh if you deign to read this Mr Hitchens you really should upgrade your website and get RSS feed, you’d make life so much easier for the increasingly influential blogosphere which can only serve you well)

colin nicholas

All it needs for religion to overrun the world
is that non-believers do nothing. And it's happening.
Growing up in WW2 South Wales,it looked like religion was dying out. Churches were almost empty.
Religion was a bit of a joke,but harmless,rather quaint,and a comfort to some.
But now it's scary that it's just taking over
everything more and more,and without opposition. It's not cool to question religious beliefs. But it should be done and thats why I look forward to your book.

Mindaugas Aistis

Dear Mr. Hitchens:
Thank you for having the balls. It's about godamn time.
I have seen what fundamentalists can do up close and personal. They couldn't hoodwink me so they figured they would "save" my 8yr old daughter under the guise of a "church social"(aka revival meeting) I mistakenly allowed her to attend with a school friend.
My daughter returned in tears. She knew she had done something wrong when they coerced her into accepting JC as her lord and savior. Gifted with a modicum of logic she instictively knew if she accepted Jesus and would be going to heaven; conversely her dad was going elsewhere.
All ended well after she came home and we wiped her tears and discussed their trickery and she now dismisses any and all religoius tripe out of hand.
But what a trauma for a youngster to fear an impending seperation from her parents at such a vulnerable age. Even for those brief hours until we could talk about it.
Yes, that's when I saw religion not as benign but as harmful from my own personal experience.
Not islamo-facsism in distant lands and planes flying into buildings in distant cities but Good old American Christianity in my community as well.
Look forward to reading your book.
Best regards,
Mindaugas Aistis
Tucson, Arizona

Mindaugas Aistis

Dear Mr. Hitchens:
Thank you for having the balls. It's about godamn time.
I have seen what fundamentalists can do up close and personal. They couldn't hoodwink me so they figured they would "save" my 8yr old daughter under the guise of a "church social"(aka revival meeting) I mistakenly allowed her to attend with a school friend.
My daughter returned in tears. She knew she had done something wrong when they coerced her into accepting JC as her lord and savior. Gifted with a modicum of logic she instictively knew if she accepted Jesus and would be going to heaven; conversely her dad was going elsewhere.
All ended well after she came home and we wiped her tears and discussed their trickery and she now dismisses any and all religoius tripe out of hand.
But what a trauma for a youngster to fear an impending seperation from her parents at such a vulnerable age. Even for those brief hours until we could talk about it.
Yes, that's when I saw religion not as benign but as harmful from my own personal experience.
Not islamo-facsism in distant lands and planes flying into buildings in distant cities but Good old American Christianity in my community as well.
Look forward to reading your book.
Best regards,
Mindaugas Aistis
Tucson, Arizona

dean marshall

The trouble with organized religion is its tendency to assume the moral high ground while preserving its own hidden agendas.
Hitchens will show how religion muddies the waters between policy and spirituality to the point of self-destruct. Society buys into the dogma and ends up disappointed with the results. A good example was the Flatulence Movement of the Middle Ages.

Gotham Image

Christopher - recall what we told you:

It's not what you think, but how you think that counts.

Just keep that in mind!

Ken Collins

This is the book from Hitch that I have been waiting for. I wonder how the right is going to treat him? In a world of round pegs and square holes, he is a pyramid.

John Griffin

Finally,

Is it true the Grumpy One will deign to debunk religion in more than his usual 1,000 words? You mean we can actually look forward to a more elaborate, reticulated analysis. Well, that's really great ... just the class of red herring we need to steer us straight: channel the chagrin towards religious fanaticism, let the exception prove the rule, thereby justifying the murder crusade, and build a craven empire on the ruins!

It seems our lapsed Brit has finally been able to sate his nostalgia for a lost empire. You're home at last St Christopher, embedded right at the heart of the new imperium, but have you told the GI's yet that you've also smashed their idols. It's a good thing brother Ashcroft has joined the holy order of the has-beens, because you might have had to exorcize his churlish, tight-arsed sprites too. Never mind that, how about comrade Bush -- Is he inviolable, do you think, or will he have to genuflect and repent?

Christopher-the-lion-heart may just be the parousia we've all been waiting for: tell me, will he sweep the whole congregation of charlatans from the temple, the Robertsons-Falwells-Grahams-Roberts-Titlons-VanImpes?
An empty house is always preferrable to a bad tenant, as the man said who relieved himself of a rearward cyclone!

... Speaking of which, we are not in for a bag of wind now are we. Assure us it's all good!

Jeremy

Here is a link to an article arguing against Hitchens's writings on religious matter:
http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2000/features_june-july00.html

barry milliken

It is relatively new historically is that, while many still take their fundamentalism seriously (e.g. Osama Bin Laden), many other religious believers are able to live modern quasi-rational lives while keeping a separate unquestioned mental compartment for their manifestly absurd religious beliefs.

How modern mankind does this is a fascinating area for pathological study.

Consider these grotesqueries:

1. The vast majority of mankind firmly believes that the religion they happened to be born into (of about 4,200 world wide) is the one true religion. What good luck!

2. Imagine that Supreme Court ruled it just for an innocent third party to be tortured and executed for the crimes of another person. Pagans "sacrificed" the nearest goat or virgin to "appease" their gods . Yet this repulsive view of justice is the foundation of Christianity, whose "all merciful" "god the father" required the same kind of appeasement in order to forgive sins.

3. Cannibals believed that eating the flesh of the bravest of their victims would give them strength. Most Christians still believe in this revolting idea in the form of "holy communion". And no, they don't mean that the wine and wafer merely represent the flesh and blood of Christ: "They actually are his flesh and blood".

Anthropologists visiting Borneo might not be shocked to find societies based upon such primitive and precivilized conceptions, but those visiting Earth from other planets should be. On the absurd plots of Grand Opera, Anna Russell once observed: "You can get away with anything as long as you sing it." Apparently a similar principle applies to religion.

Dave Schwankle

I'm glad Hitchens is finally providing a detailed argument for the main premise upon which his stance in support of the US "War on Terror" is based. The irony is that the christians leading the USG won't denounce their christianity while ostensibly trying to dismantle the apparatus of Jihadist terror. I suppose it's comfort enough to hope that the regnant superstitions of the US can be put on hold long enough to avoid the red herring of "The Latest Crusade."

Andrew K

Barry Milliken-

I can help with #2. If one considers the Christian belief that Jesus was both truly God and not merely a man, then the 'sacrifice' demanded by God was self-sacrifice. In effect God himself took on the job of satisfying justice for sin, and did not scapegoat a third party. It is the ultimate in debt forgiveness, not the grotesque punishment of an innocent third party, thus also not violating justice.

One may still not believe in the divinity of Christ, and so hold his death as a great injustice. But if one does believe, the logic is impeccable.

Rob Chynoweth

"It is the ultimate in debt forgiveness, not the grotesque punishment of an innocent third party, thus also not violating justice."

The idea that someone can pay your monetary debt if you are going to be sent to jail is one thing.

If someone were to get executed instead of you for a crime you committed is completely different.

This violates the whole principal of justice in the first place.

If justice demands that you suffer for your crimes then only you can suffer for crimes for justice to be done.

Jesus crucifixion on the cross is not then justice; it is indiscriminant revenge, regardless of whom it happened to.

zenfindizzy

Mr. Hitchens seems to be something of an anomaly. In a land where so many blindly pledge allegiance to either Red or Blue, he appears to be too colorful, too intelligent to content himself with cheerleading like so many of his peers. I don't always agree with him, but his writing on most subjects is generally unique and engaging. However, I wonder if he hasn't argued himself into a hole over the whole Iraq business. He ignores what seems to be the elephant in the room- that big, slippery elephant: oil. We all know what makes the world go round, and it makes me doubt his integrity that he doesn't tear into this overgrown beast with the same wit and clarity as he does an overweight bufoon like Michael Moore. I suspect that for someone who outwardly appears so uninhibited, he's a cold, calculating son of a bitch. But his intelligence i do not question; and on religion, it seems he's nobody's lap dog. We'll see.

Mike Field

Just a quick word of warning to CH from Evelyn Waugh. From Chapter 8 of "Decline and Fall"...
"I have noticed again and again since I have been in the Church that lay interest in ecclesiastical matters is often a prelude to insanity." The Vicar.

Hope2Endure

Jeremy

Your #2 point doesn't reflect the purpose of the biblical "ransome doctrine" of one equal life for another, which by the way negates the Trinity Doctrine. As far as the way Jesus died, the Romans and the Pharisees were responsible for his cruel torture and death. Only a perfect man, Jesus could "buy" back what another perfect man, Adam, lost. Hence the need for a ransom.

"That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned—."

"...death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come."

"...For if by one man’s trespass many died, the undeserved kindness of God and his free gift with the undeserved kindness by the one man Jesus Christ abounded much more to many."

"For if by the trespass of the one man death ruled as king through that one, much more will those who receive the abundance of the undeserved kindness and of the free gift of righteousness rule as kings in life through the one person, Jesus Christ. So, then, as through one trespass the result to men of all sorts was condemnation, likewise also through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life. For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person many will be constituted righteous." Romans 5:12-20

Jesse Rinard

It seams that the blind on every side of the issue are banging their shields over this one. You've got athiests ready to see religion get a good stomping and the religious ready to give a good stomping back. Those lost in the middle, like myself, are the ones that believe personally (as stated in the synopsis) but try to keep it out politically. Unfortunately it isn't always entirely possible. But it is possible not to run about like a complete fruit bag. It appears from the previous comments that this book is being watched mostly by said "fruit bag"'s. I'm only hoping that somewhere in your book you give some credance to those of us that are happy to sit at home and believe as we might (I believe we're being called the "spiritual"), personally and are not interested in the civil war styled "line & fire" that is raging between the anti-religious and the religious.

atgrate

"...religion is unusual among divisive labels in being spectactularly unnecessary."
Richard Dawkins
Is it not about time for the human race to grow up? "God" is no more than a scapegoat for our own shortcoming.

JIM MARTIN

It seems to me an amazing thing that so many can be so blind to immediate evidence of the lack of any moral authority in man. The whole known history of the world shows in tragic clarity of the butal depravity of man to man. The whole of nature points in vivid color and complexity the inability of anything to come into existence without a tremendous intelligence behind it. In glaring and painful mathematical exactnes the whole universe exits dependant on each quantity of matter and unseen forces. Then the small paucity of the mind of man begins to think it may define God. It would be better for that man to rid himself of all material benefits in life and go to in any small way dedicate himself to helping the terminally ill and desparately poor of this world. If this is worthy, then how much more if the God who created all things would seek to reveal even a small part of himself to depraved and selfish man. It is then astronomical in value to think that God loves His creation so much that He would provide a way out to man's own self created depravity and destruction.

Shelly Anderson

And now let the name calling begin as the religionists perceive a threat from somebody using his rational mind.
Bravo Christopher Hitchins! I applaud your courageous book.
It rather proves itself to be true by looking at the offended messages from the deluded masses.

jeremy b

I saw Mr. Hitchins on The Daily Show with John Stewart, and I think that there is finally some rational thought in a world of blind ignorance.
There has been more murders committed in the name of GOD than for any other reason. It is a scapegoat for the insane killers in this world and for the retards on Capitol Hill.

Scott Gill

Congratulations to Mr. Hitchens on obtaining his US citizenship; America will be better for it. Leaving aside the hysteria this book will no doubt stir in some people, it is great to have Hitchens taking on such a big subject. His writing is always outstanding, whether one agrees with him or not.
Scott Gill

Mindaugas Aistis

Dear Mr. Hitchens:
Read your latest book with great enjoyment.
I'm very happy someone would state such an unpopular position in today's "faith based" society where God wins basketball games and saves people from tornados and hurricanes.
Welcome to America; the land of the First Amendment - where you can be a thorn in anyone's side.
I urge you to continue doing just that.

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