Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson
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Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson

2009, Religion  -   131 Comments
8.04
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Ratings: 8.04/10 from 23 users.

COLLISION: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas WilsonCOLLISION carves a new path in documentary film-making as it pits leading atheist, political journalist and bestselling author Christopher Hitchens against fellow author, satirist and evangelical theologian Douglas Wilson, as they go on the road to exchange blows over the question: "Is Christianity Good for the World?".

The two contrarians laugh, confide and argue, in public and in private, as they journey through three cities. And the film captures it all. The result is a magnetic conflict, a character-driven narrative that sparkles cinematically with a perfect match of arresting personalities and intellectual rivalry.

In May 2007, leading atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson began to argue the topic "Is Christianity Good for the World?" in a series of written exchanges published in Christianity Today. The rowdy literary bout piqued the interest of filmmaker Darren Doane, who sought out Hitchens and Wilson to pitch the idea of making a film around the debate.

In Fall 2008, Doane and crew accompanied Hitchens and Wilson on an east coast tour to promote the book compiled from their written debate titled creatively enough, Is Christianity Good for the World?. “I loved the idea of putting one of the beltway’s most respected public intellectuals together with an ultra-conservative pastor from Idaho that looks like a lumberjack”, says Doane. "You couldn't write two characters more contrary. What’s more real than a fight between two guys who are on complete opposite sides of the fence on the most divisive issue in the world? We were ready to make a movie about two intellectual warriors at the top of their game going one-on-one. I knew it would make an amazing film."

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N B
N B
8 years ago

I agree with Dawkins, and I share his incredulity with Christopher Hitchens statement.

Hitchens was a natural-born debater - he was a smart guy that simply enjoyed arguing. Frankly, even though I think he was right about most things, Hitchens was an a$$hole.

nofearofgods
nofearofgods
11 years ago

Hitchens wins hands down !

nofearofgods
nofearofgods
11 years ago

Wilson admitted that he s a Christian because his parents were, so if his parents were Jewish he would be fighting the same battle for them, So whose god is real ???????? None..

Johnny O'Connell
Johnny O'Connell
11 years ago

What about evolutionary psychology? The basis of our society is the ability to communicate, the basis of our ability to communicate is language and the basis of language is theory of mind. Theory of mind is the ability to think about what another is thinking about and act acordingly. Being able to think like this is the basis of empathy which is the basis of morality, social cohesion and human solidarity.
Nice and circuler but there is some truth in there somewhere!! Haha.

Cody Welch
Cody Welch
11 years ago

i really wish Hitchens would have picked up an evolutionary biology book once or twice. Every Christian crusader I come across always reverts to the argument, "how can you explain morals through innate evolution?", and the answer is very simple. Over thousands of years, random mutations in DNA, as we all know, produce different results in offspring, and, as a process of natural selection, the fittest survive and reproduce. That is fact. What Wilson obviously never considered is that a morally just individual, one who has empathy for his or her kin and sees the importance of working together, is much more likely to survive. His argument is destroyed on this principle. I'm formally trained as a chemist and not a biologist but that is the gist of it. Just angers me when I keep hearing this argument over and over.

Sondre Jensen
Sondre Jensen
11 years ago

I wish this movie wasn't ruined by shitty music, often times disturbingly in the background, shaky camera and gangster'ish helicopter shoots.. It just doesn't fit, and it grinds my gears. Otherwise a good collection of discussions. I must say I'm impressed by Douglas Wilson, he has his own arguments, which he obviously has put a lot of thought in to, and they are often well formulated. But Christopher, as he always did (rip), rules!

btw, one of Douglas' arguments, which was about looking at the world map, and picking out the nations that had been or still is, christian, you get the nations of the first world. Granted, but as Neil D. Tyson said, the middle east was once the great center of science on earth. Think about it, most of the stars names are arabic, we use latin letters, arabic numbers and mathematics, etc. etc... Until this douche prophet came along and made every man grow beards, woman cover themselves up and stay indoor, and kill everyone saying that he was wrong about his religion (infidels).

And take a look at the christan dark ages, which ruined the progression of science and set us back, and held us back for several hundred years.

Emir De La Biz
Emir De La Biz
11 years ago

If Jesus resurrected from the dead than he never died for our sins did he?!

Vlad Tsimbler
Vlad Tsimbler
11 years ago

How would I define truth? Well, I would know how to define the struggle for it. I don't believe that as with, objectivity for example, that it can be declared to be arrived at or found or discovered. But I think there are rules of etiquette and procedure that one must follow in the un-ending search so that the struggle may go on. As Rabbi Halil once put it "you may not ever win the battle, but you are not allowed to give it up".

I don't think that everything is relative. I don't think that subjectivity or individual impressions, in aggregate, cancel each other out. No. I mean I think there are concepts such as honestly, and objectivity that could help one in the struggle for truth, but I would very much doubt someone who said that they've found what the truth was.

Max
Max
11 years ago

What an awesome Documentary!

Simon Dahlström
Simon Dahlström
12 years ago

If we go to other planets in the future, will all these religious people stay on earth? The bible is about events on earth, and never mention any other planets, why would they follow the rest of us?

James Cabral
James Cabral
12 years ago

in grammar school the priest came at 9am, and i had to lower my head and while internaly i asked myself 'what the hell is this for', I had to externaly obei and agree with the man of cloth. And that is what I recall of religion. It is a dictatorship. And it is on that basis alone that it is morally wrong. In other words there probably is nothing wrong with "informing" young ones of certain moral conduct, when it be in the interest of the youngling's well being, in which case it is assumed the parents are not able to perform some basic functions. but on the flip side when the vulnerable child is imposed a train of thought by a complete stranger who has no interest in the familly, I question the validity of the medium. As a matter of fact I question it's value.

D Jones
D Jones
12 years ago

Look for a moment at cultures that have no Judeo/Christian moral code.

a) India.
Example: Suttee, a practise where a widow, regardless of her age (sometimes 9 or 10) is burned alive on her husband's funeral pyre. (This was outlawed by the Judeo/Christian laws of the British who colonised India.)

b) China.
Example: endless murder of female infants, culminating in a population which now had 60,000,000 more young adult males than females.

c) Islamic nations.
Examples:
Stonings, beheadings, amputations, mutilations, enslavement of an entire gender...the list is too horrific to continue.

I could site more examples than could fit on this site, but I don't have time to write a thesis.

D Jones
D Jones
12 years ago

That was a terrible 'documentary'. Such an incoherent mish-mash of half-finished ideas and snippets of film, backed by nerve-rending 'music'.
I thought this video was going to be an actual debate.

nate_171
nate_171
12 years ago

melvin i believe the bias it uses is the outright denial of the truth that has been given to the world.

nate_171
nate_171
12 years ago

you see "the kicking of a pregnant woman is repulsive", sure maybe for a sympathetic viewer, but, I would beg to differ if you say the person kicking them is feeling repulsed by the act he is doing.

biologist190
biologist190
12 years ago

Ughh. I almost want to believe at least one idea that comes from Wilson's mouth just because he seems like such a nice man and he's getting his ass kicked. It actually makes me sad how much he believes what he is saying, but essentially is making points that wouldn't sway even a wavering atheist, let alone a firm one. Anyways any logical human being would agree with Hitchens. Just plain and simple.

Dennis Kautz
Dennis Kautz
12 years ago

What Christians don't want to admit is they share a core belief with other religions that the answers are within. A teaching shared by Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Muslim and many other faiths. The problem with actually teaching this within each religion is that it undermines the control they have over their flock. "If the answers are within than why the hell do you need us" is a fear of any control system.

Dennis Kautz
Dennis Kautz
12 years ago

"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

dhairy
dhairy
12 years ago

I like the argument because they respected each other which made for a good and not irritating listen. I grew up with all chrstian beliefs and walked away from them later in life. The killings which took place in Joshua were something I could not get over. I do have a question for people on the side of athiesm which was not brought up in the debate. What about the supernatural? What do athiests say about healings, signs and wonders etc. There are thousands upon thousands of cases of healings from the past up to the present. I am curiouse for some feed back on this.

Dave

Mark Mobbs
Mark Mobbs
12 years ago

My problem with the good samaritan is that the church teaches the wrong story. I realised the story was aimed against the church a long time ago and I'm surprised at Mr Hitchens look of epiphany at this. It goes against the church and yet he took time to work that out. He should have used this against the believer instead of a bit of mutual backslapping.

I think they have to much mutual respect to argue effectively on this subject. This is more about book sales than actually pushing the argument forward.

Atheist13
Atheist13
12 years ago

Excellent doc.

Hitchens and Wilson debate in very affable manner and at times it's lol stuff. The Woodhouse quotes bit is hilarious! I think it's because Wilson is such jolly and genial chap that Hitch is a bit easy on him. Hitch says that this is one of the few debates where his opponent genuinely believes in god. Wilson's arguements are weak but his belief is strong, he cannot see he has been brainwashed so effectively that brainwashing is now his profession. Religion is the business of mind control and they are very good at it.

Unkeep the faith

Sheli Gonzalez
Sheli Gonzalez
12 years ago

Wow.. Best ReligiousAtheist debated Documentary.. very well carried.. well handled.. very respected... it's beautiful to see people agree to disagree and not be so irate or hostile about it.. Strong points on BOTH sides... but I still love God. God reveals himself to me and I can NEVER deny it. I can't leave it.. not only because the Bible says so.. it's just diferent .. not of this world as some would say.. If I had such fluent words for such a description as these gentlemen in the film.. perhaphs it might help.. but as usual.. you have to experience God .. know God.. not just learn about Him.. I mean really get to know him.. seeking Him.. when you experience that.. then you'll understand love, grace.. not just stories.. you begin to change.. something good dwells in you that come alive änd makes you yearn for more of Him. Experience.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

I am surprised the frequent players are not all over this doc.
az

Timothy Rogers
Timothy Rogers
12 years ago

God is love. God is light. The light shines in the darkness. Even though in the name of religion wrong is done, love and light persist. Billy Graham said if the Holy Spirit went home, 90% of the religious business would continue. It is in the 10%, amongst those filled with the Spirit of Jesus, that miracles are seen, love is released, and the world made a better place. We are naturally self serving, sin is choosing self. Christ's spirit empowers us to choose others and to focus our lives on transforming a suffering world.

jonathanconway
jonathanconway
12 years ago

Although I'm an atheist, I have a certain respect for religion, because it has served as a primitive form of philosophy in times when there simply wasn't any other system of ideas in existence, and men needed (as they also now need) a consistent worldview.

I also think the majority of philosophers (both religious and secular) have undermined the pursuit of truth.

However, the truth ultimately lies in understanding reality by means of reason, and that's why I choose Objectivism and atheism rather than faith or skepticism.

Another positive word on religion - I admire the artistic creations of certain religious people of the past. I very much enjoy the music of Bruckner, not because I agree with him on religion, but because I'm moved by the feelings of joy, profoundness and purpose that his music conveys (particularly his 7th and 8th Symphonies).

jonathanconway
jonathanconway
12 years ago

I'm an atheist, but more importantly, an Objectivist.

There are elements of Douglas's argument which I agree with: that absolute knowledge of reality is possible, that practicing virtue requires a consistent ethical foundation, that ideas are important and influence history.

There are elements of Hitchen's argument which I agree with: that god does not exist (I know, big surprise), that our sense of right and wrong doesn't come from a supernatural source, and that a universe controlled and governed by a supreme being would be a totalitarian dictatorship. (Although this last point is insignificant; we *don't* live in such a universe, and the existence of such a universe is metaphysically impossible.)

However, I find both sides to be seriously mistaken in their fundamental premises.

This debate is basically the refresher of a much older debate that goes back centuries: between rationalism and empiricism.

The rationalists adhered to reason, but claim that knowledge it is only possible within consciousness - divorced from existence and gained by revelation, such as from a supernatural consciousness.

The empiricists claimed that knowledge is only possible through direct experience of existence, but that reason is impotent to grasp and refine our understanding of existence.

As Ayn Rand summarized it: "those who joined the mystics by abandoning reality—and those who clung to reality, by abandoning their mind".

Douglass is obviously of a rationalist persuation. Hitchens values the achievements of science, but still seems drawn to the skeptical mindset, when he claims (paraphrase) that "we can no nothing for certain", or that "knowledge is forever changing".

I believe the correct argument is that knowledge of reality is possible (and only possible) both by sense-perception and by integrating these percepts. Reason is the tool by which we perform this integration, and the result is concepts. Ayn Rand says: "A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition."

This is a slightly more advanced form of the fundamental epistemology set forth originally by Aristotle.

Now, if one accepts this epistemology, there's nowhere left for god to hide. Humans are capable of gaining absolute knowledge of reality, as long as they adhere to reason, and only reason.

Existence exists, and precedes consciousness, which means that a consciousness could not have created existence, and hence, not only does god not exist, but "a god" could not have existed.

Hitchens is incapable of presenting a *conceptual* explanation of his personal ethics, and resorts to deriving it from "instincts" and collectivist worship of society - ignoring the fact that collectivist societies have repeatedly crumbled and collapsed throughout history, and the one society that advanced science, technology and human living conditions the most (and which Hitchens himself feels drawn to) is the United States of America - the one nation which was grounded at least initially, on respect for individual rights.

It is the principle of self-interest that makes a rational, consistent morality possible. The individual's self-interest lies in acquiring knowledge of reality (the virtue of rationality), acting on such knowledge (the virtue of productiveness) and co-operating peacefully with others (the virtue of independence and the benevolent "negative"-virtue of non-coercion).

Politically, the principle of "rights" makes it possible for a stable, prosperous society to exist, while maintaining the freedom of all of its individual citizens.

No aspect of the Objectivist ethics involves a god - quite the opposite, a "morality" that is forced upon mankind wouldn't be morality, just as an existence created by god wouldn't be, and is not, existence. Reality is an absolute.

Michelle Landschoot
Michelle Landschoot
12 years ago

It frustrated me that Hitchens did not seem to have an answer to Wilson's assertion that morality comes from God. Isn't human EMPATHY the basis for morality? I am not sure what research has been done, but it seems to me that man, from an evolutionary standpoint, being relatively weak as we are, are "fittest" because of the development of empathy within us. Not that empathy cannot be found in other creatures, but one can argue that it certainly is one of the, if not THE main reason for our survival. Our numbers survive, not because God willed it, but because of our evolutionary instinct to protect the family or the tribe, and ultimately, our species, above the self. Yes, man is capable of heinous acts, but also of great heroism. What other creatures on earth consistently risk their own safety for a stranger of the same species (and in many cases, for other species).

As far as Wilson's outrage toward the question of the beating of a pregnant woman, I would personally say it is because violence is being done against her (i.e. she did not ask for it) and her unborn, and, it is assumed wanted child. Personally I believe that it is the woman who determines whether the growth within her is "fetus" or "child". Planned Parenthood is not in the habit of forcing women to kill their wanted children. Its very name implies much of what it does... allow people to better plan their families, so that, theoretically, no child will ever be born that is not wanted. There are literally over a BILLION unwanted children on the planet... please direct your outrage to that! Of course, abortions are only a very small percent of what PP does, so the argument that Planned Parenthood would be the observer who stands by whilst a woman and her wanted child are beaten to death against their will is not only wrong, but the absolute opposite of the reason for which Planned Parenthood exists.

Renevonn
Renevonn
12 years ago

For one thing, we are never finished arriving at the "truth".
Our science is always changing, growing and evolving. As it becomes more refined and precise, we will come upon newer and deeper questions, all of which will lead us to a new truth until we should happen to arrive at the "Ultimate Truth".
To say that we've arrived at Ultimate Truth because of something as fallible and archaic as the "Holy" Bible is a pretty big claim and completely baseless. The Bible makes no mention of any recently discovered archeological sites dating so far back as to double the suggested age of the earth mentioned in the "Good" book.
I would purpose that the Scientific Method is the best and strongest method by which to discover the Ultimate Truths about anything we wish to know, even God itself. The fact that we've managed to create and thrive off of such a system is evidence in and of itself that Science will lead us to the answers and critical thinking and QUESTIONING of ones environment is key to this process.
It takes a curious soul to ask "why?" but it takes a brave soul to ask "why?" and then track down the correct answers. Religion is outdated, it was great when we had no fundamental understanding of the forces of nature at work on our planet and out in the Universe, but now we have a more precise system to use other than rather humorous superstitions. (Live inside of a whale (or Big Fish), anyone?)
By the way, Scientific Method can indeed be applied to Human Ethics, so do not bother arguing that without Religion we wouldn't know right from wrong. At this stage, how difficult is it to accept that you shouldn't butcher each other or take each others stuff? Honestly, get modern, evolve and help each other. If we made the basic necessities of Life (Food, shelter, clothing) available to everyone free of charge, we'd have a huge drop in crime. Hard to get a job when you're homeless. With the current level of technology and scientific understanding, I'm surprised any Religion is even taken seriously anymore.
How can you read that old book and say "oh yea, that makes completely logical sense. I can dig it."?

By the by, I'm not rejecting the idea of God, I'm rejecting the ancient superstition of Religion.

Gunnar1961
Gunnar1961
12 years ago

What I found most striking about this documentary was the pathetic weakness and irrationality of Wilson's arguments. Also, the fact that he actually tried to defend the massacre of the Amalekites and the other atrocities that the Israelites did in the name of God was a huge turn off! If anyone today tried to justify such atrocities against people whom they disliked or opposed by claiming that God commanded it, almost all Christians today would regard such a claim blasphemous and/or proof of insanity! Why was it any less blasphemous or insane for the Israelites claim that? I have no doubt that they invented the idea that God commanded these atrocities after the fact, to justify and/or salve their consciences for crimes they or their ancestors had already committed.

The one thing he said that rang true was his admission that the reason he is a Christian is that he was taught to be so by strict, religious parents who reinforced their teachings and discipline by corporal punishment whenever they deemed it necessary. It is remarkable to me that he fails to realize what a damaging admission that is!

One of Hitchen's strongest arguments was the absurdity of, as he called it, "substitutiary redemption." Imagine a man who claims to be a loving father who decides that despite his love for all his children, he cannot in good conscience forgive them for their misdeeds and disobedience, even if they sincerely repent, unless the one son who never misbehaved volunteered to be cruelly tortured to death to atone for the sins of his siblings. Would anyone disagree that such a father should be locked away in an institution for the criminally insane? Why would it be even the slightest bit less insane for God to act that way?

Mario Silverio
Mario Silverio
12 years ago

very interesting doc. its not every day that you see two different points of view being discussed in an adult faction. important point to me, both agree that there are good people regardless of their personal believes.

Tim Lawson
Tim Lawson
12 years ago

There is, assuredly, a basis of morality apart from God: We evolved as hunting pack animals (current and recent examples of this include the San people of the Kalahari, the Tarahumaras of Chihuahua Mexico, and the Navajo) and if you look at other hunting pack animals you will observe extremely complex social structures because for a hunting pack to succeed, they need trust, an understanding of hierarchy, and the ability to work together as one unit.

What can not happen in these family units, however, is 'sin.' I am defining 'sin' from a pre-theistic point of view; it is those things which can cause a pack or troop dissension, inability to trust each other or work together, to fail in the short term, and possibly ultimately not survive. Breaking the social protocols of a successful hunting troop is, therefore, punishable by the group and at least in nature, the offenders are often driven out. It is this, necessary survival of the family unit, which has ingrained this morality into the very fabric of out being.

As a pack animal, as hunters, trackers, and gatherers, we saw signs in the ground or plants and derived explanations, i.e. a gazelle recently left that footprint, or that 3 leaved plant is poison so I should avoid it. It was this learning and curiosity and very need to understand the world around us which drove us to seek explanations for quite literally everything. When we could not find answers for the seasons, the rising sun, or other things of the like, we invented explanations or 'gods' and we created them in OUR image. We imposed our morality on them, and we have changed our gods as our society changes.

Why else would 'God' be completely okay and actually encourage ethnic cleansing, genocide, rape, the keeping and beating of slaves (but only so hard as that they can get up after a day or two... after all they are the property of the owner and he can do with them as he likes Exodus 21:20-21), all this 4,000 years ago, and now he is not okay with it? what changed? culture or god?

Back then the 'family' strove to survive even if it was at the expense of their neighbors, and fighting for top-rung made genocide 'acceptable' and even Imperative (therefore encouraged by the culture driven god) as you were fighting for your own place.

Now we see ourselves differently, as part of all humanity and all able to thrive, rather than fighting against others for our own spot of earth to hunt and provide for our own. Because we have expanded our idea of the pack to include everyone, genocide now appears a social taboo working against the pack . Hurting anyone is now seen as hurting the family. Is it any wonder that the 'Love your Neighbor as yourself' God is a product of this new mentality/ philosophy?

So it is not Religion which provides us with morality, but rather, what it offers is Dogma. As long as people (all religions) hold onto the idea that 'I'm right and you're evil,' we will never be able to move beyond the conflict that we have in this world today.

Memento Mori
Memento Mori
12 years ago

I have but one question for anyone who tries to claim that not only is the bible true, but that the earth was formed in 7 days.

How do you explain the fossil record?

Creatures that lived millions of years ago must have been created somehow, or does God only create what he feels like and allows evolution to take hold the rest of the week?

If you want to claim yourself a Christian, then defend that which you hold to be true. If the bible is the true and honest word of God, then you are obligated to take it as being true, or else you are not holding to your faith and you do not honor the souls of your religious ancestors.

God created the world in 7 days along with the moon, sky, stars and everything on the planet below. No one noticed large monster-like creatures lumbering around or eating up the local population?

I mean no offense as this is only my personal view but...

Organized Religion is not only a shame, it is a cancer and a blight upon the potential of the Human Race. It is because of your FAITH that Scientists and Philosophers were persecuted, thus setting back innovation and modernization, such as the computer, cell phone, coffee and air-conditioning you so adore. It is because of your FAITH that innocent lives were needlessly wasted during the Inquisition as your FAITH is grounded in half-truths, superstitions and Fear. It is because of your barbaric and archaic FAITH that young women were burned as Witches in Salem. It is because of your FAITH that people are scorned and slandered because of who they love even if they live good and honest lives. It is because of your FAITH that priceless artifacts and timeless knowledge from the Aztecs was burned and destroyed as Heresy against your "all loving and ever forgiving" God.

I try not to blame the individuals because it is Faith and Faith alone that is the cancer which saps the true potential out of the Human Race.

Imagine everyone woke up tomorrow and decided to be good.
Not because of God or Heaven or the fear of Hell, but just because its the right thing to do.
Imagine everyone woke up tomorrow and worked together, just because it would benefit us all mutually and we abandoned the old superstitions of this world.
Imagine what would happen if we said "we're destroying the walls that divide us. No longer shall the Human Race be separated by the titles of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, Democrat, Republican, Anarchist or Communist. We shall now be known as Humankind, for we all equally deserve our rights and dignity. We are here, we are one Race, one Species. We are Human."
We could become so much more than we already are and ever have been.

If you wish to hold this back, if you wish to put a stop to progress and if you wish things would get worse so that your Messiah will come back, then by all means continue with your petty and nonsensical belief's about how we're different and born in Sin and we need to be saved.

On the other hand, if you want to aid the Human Race in reaching its true potential, then learn to question what you are told. Learn to seek out information on your own. Learn to create, innovate and wonder.
Most importantly, learn to think for yourself.
Do not accept what you're told simply because someone else told you that "God said it so it must be true". That's not an answer, that's an excuse for 'I don't have an answer'. If you were born in another part of the world you'd believe something completely different. Religion is an side-effect of your particular situation at birth and young life. "I'm a Christian because I was raised by Christians" does not mean you are right, it means you are not capable of forming your own opinions and you blindly go along with what other people say you should without even giving you the option to make your own decision.
In short, be a Sheep or stand up and be a Human who thinks for themselves.

If the pope said the Messiah will come back if we have a blood sacrifice because "God and Gabriel told him so" would you believe him? He is the closest one to God, so why shouldn't you? What if he said that if you didn't participate, you'd be damned to Hell? What would you do if the priests, cardinals and bishops all went along with this?

Go ahead and ask yourself that but never forget one very important piece of evidence against the ridiculous sham you call your "Faith".

Dinosaur Bones.

If your "God" put them there to test your Faith, then he's not all-loving, he's maladjusted and wants to trick you so you'll go to Hell.
You can be a moderate Christian, but know you this, there is no Moderate Christianity and its time we grew up as a Species and left this and all other nonsense religions behind us.

Christianity is NOT good for the world and neither is any other form of Organized Religion.

A belief in a higher power is perfectly fine.
It's when a personal belief is pushed on others (and it is, do not lie to yourselves) that troubles arise.
I stand against Organized Religion, but I do not stand against God.

tipotago
tipotago
12 years ago

Can someone explain (or try to)in a Darwinian evolution model why Christopher believes in atheism and his younger brother Peter Hitchen's believes in God the father?

Troy
Troy
13 years ago

Lisa,

The reason that most (atheist) comments seem offensive to you is beacause you are religious, & when you are faced with rational explainations your brain cannot handle it & you enter "defencive" mode by default.

Quite simple really & dont try & sound holier than thou with your attack on peoples grammar, you are not better than any other person by indirectly proclaiming yourself to be the smartest human alive :)

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

I am fairly new to this website and have enjoyed some of the documentary`s within....however...the comments are what really interest me.

I have spent hours in the past week reading the comments and absolute mean spirited rhetoric between atheists and Christians. What seems abundantly clear is that the atheists are obviously the ones who are omniscient...not God! While there have been many preachy comments made by the Christians the ones that blow my mind are the absolute arrogant, narrow minded, and often down right mean comments made by the atheists. They apparently know all and anyone who has a faith is considered a moron.

As well, please proof read your comments before hitting the add comment button....the spelling and grammar from both the atheists and Christians is terrible!!!

James
James
13 years ago

This entire so-called documentary lacks depth and is really hardly more than an extended commercial for a money making venture created by two authors simply cashing in through book, film, and tour while their popularity is peaking!

I must be honest. This is primarily business first, and at a very distant second, an intellectual debate. There is no sincere attempt to produce a thought provoking examination of religion and secular humanism, only the appearance of one. The film idea was craftily invented to heighten the expectation of a hot debate.
No doubt some of you will disagree, but I don't apologize for calling this as I see it! I also happen to know someone involved with its inception and much of what I point out here is true, unfortunately!

I have read books written by both authors, spoken with them, and I have to say...there is nothing new under the sun regarding this old argument!!

One consideration regarding atheists that I personally believe theists either overlook or dismiss, is the fact that many disbelievers truly want to believe! Most of the atheists I have spoken with, including myself, would welcome the prospect of a second existence, a beginning at the conclusion of this one. Especially alluring are the common qualities assigned to nearly every religion's concept of the afterlife!

Also, I must conclude, from the comments made by Joseph on this board, that he or she is developmentally regressed and obviously mentally r@#$%^|&*!!

Lester Wise
Lester Wise
13 years ago

Yes Jordan I wouldn't look down at them if they only had "one unjustified hypothesis." I think the problem is much more influential on all parts of their own philosophy and their actions. A simple belief in God is not that drastic and taken by itself would certainly not merit any form of disrespect.

However, I do think that the very foundations of our society are based upon antiquated rules and oversimplifications that are used to justify everyone's own specific actions. Zero accountabilty for all...

Their system is one of scapegoating and this is what is truley dangerous for modern communities.

Libral Christians are usually complacent look-the-other-way types that do not ever chance a confrontation of any kind with the various institutions that exert contol over their lives.

I don't these ideas are quaint superstitions.

Jordan Hardy
Jordan Hardy
13 years ago

Hi Lester,

I'm actually an atheist, so I'm the wrong one to answer a lot of those questions. But, there are lots of liberal Christians (people who go to Christian churches, consider themselves Christians, but hold liberal views) who might not really be Christians at all, strictly, not believing in the resurrection or the incarnation. But they believe in God. I find very little reason to look down on these people. So they have one unjustified hypothesis, big deal. It is only when it begins to influence them to do highly irrational things, or to try to change public policy in the interest of their hypothesis that there is a problem. And believe it or not, a huge proportion of Christianity has interest in pushing their hypothesis on others.

bg
bg
13 years ago

A Deist could make a good case, but when you add in the dogma and man made "facts" then you start to look foolish.

Lester Wise
Lester Wise
13 years ago

"Oversimplification is rarely a good rhetorical strategy." I like that. Most of us atheist have a tendency to debate religous folks by talking down to them or we just make fun of something that they believe that we think is silly.

PC812 did have some interesting points about morality though...

Might I ask you what your defintion of a "liberal Christian" is? How do you know what part of the Bible should be taken literally and which part are simply metaphors?

If there is a God that inspired the books and letters of the bible, wouldn't God have made the meaning of each story, parable or retelling of events easy enough to comprehend and understand that there would be no doubt as to the real meaning of the ideas expressed?

It seems to me that most modern day Christians use the bible to fit the morals and standards that they themselves have learned from their own experience and environment. If you really thought that the bible was the absolute word of God, shouldn't you be like the "God hates America" church? Aren't extremist the real face of True christianity and all other religions for that matter?

Jordan Hardy
Jordan Hardy
13 years ago

PC812,

I know you're just reacting, but that's a bad strategy. Christianity doesn't boil down to an invisible man in the sky who abides on conditional love. It doesn't boil down to anything. It is a complex system of beliefs about God that developed over thousands of years, and which will manifest themselves differently in the lives and beliefs of every adherent. Believe it or not, many liberal Christians probably live their lives much like you do even though they believe in the "invisible dictator."

Oversimplification is rarely a good rhetorical strategy. You just did exactly the same thing that Joseph did in reverse. Do you really want to parallel your discussion of the subject with Joseph, who's obviously ill-informed?

PC812
PC812
13 years ago

I wish the Q&A was included on this.

"The subject matter of atheism just boils down to ‘there is not god” what a boring and dry subject.
atheists are sick, old boring clowns trying to be funny."

Spoken like someone who has no idea what atheism is all about. The subject matter of Christianity just boils down to, "there's an invisible man in the sky who will love you as long as you do whatever he tells you to do. But if you disobey him, you'll be tortured for all eternity."

That's it. With atheism, you have questions about morality, about relativism, about how to treat each other. We don't have the luxury of an invisible dictator telling us what we can and can't do. Believing in such a figure is easy -- all your decisions are made for you. Believing in nothing is much harder because you have to find valid reasons to justify the choices you make beyond just, "God told me to."

Ali
Ali
13 years ago

______How long is the world going to avoid what islam really means

Kurrrt
Kurrrt
13 years ago

God is not a living entity. Is that what a judge would say if you asked for "God" in court while swearing in?
Daily 2010 use of the word "god" used mostly as an expression, (of personal needs, love, hopes, and hate). Hear of anyone seeing an angel around lately ? No. Does thousands see the many UFO's while no one at all sees- not one god, or an angel, raise any question of their existence?
Faith, (a verb) is a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. There are those directing their faith into supernatural accounts, when in reality- actual facts of TRUTH are readily available! Question a religion before you follow one of them aimlessly. Focus on the Laws of the Universe. It can be done through intention and attention to what choices can be made to bring as many peaceful moments to each day as possable.

miamia
miamia
13 years ago

I recomment to watch "oh my god" the best docu about religions i have see do far...

mona
mona
13 years ago

If you could post a diffrent link that would be great, the stagevu is not working even if I downloaded the divx player.

Lester Wise
Lester Wise
13 years ago

"always win..." ?? Hmmm, I guess they are not debating for your benefit. Thank you for the perfect example of blind faith. Better yet, deaf faith.

and to Chris, you really should watch the full movie for an accurate idea of how these two debate. Neither of these guys are inept for this task though and it is hardly "out of the resources" for either man.

I do somewhat agree with Jordan H. about Hitchens being the drunken (did he say drunken?) figure head for a group that can't even really call itself a group, that he is a bad representation of all Atheist. I would rather hear Hume, Nietzsche or especially M. Twain but alas, all of these cats are dead.

So, out of those that are alive such as C. Hitchens, R. Dawkins, D. Dennett, J. Miller and S. Harris just to name a few, I would really like to see Sam Harris debate the more broad issues about religions but Dawkins or even Miller would probally be the better fit to tackle creationism vs science debates.

Ron
Ron
13 years ago

Hitchens will always lose the debate. See V you really have me rattled.

Ron
Ron
13 years ago

Well thanks for the sensorship V.

You cut my reply out to Keith and then I get to read the drivel that follows on anyway.

Must be a real kick to play god here?

Last post of a comment for me but enjoy the doc's.

I tried to explain my position to Keith and you didn't allow it. Totally unfair and uncalled for.

@ Keith. With faith you cannot lose anything. Hitchens will always win a debate. Miracles that supposedly happened 2000 years ago are truths to the man. If it was the spagetti monster that did it the debate would have been about the spagetti monster. I brought up GW BUSH because leaders thinking they have the right to go to war based on their beliefs has occured in the past. THAT IS WHY I MENTIONED BUSH. OK. Much appreciated if you let this one last post of mine go on V if not so be it I will not post again anyway.

Good luck with your work as god V.

Jordan Hardy
Jordan Hardy
13 years ago

I hate that Hitchens has become a spokesperson for atheists. I want another Hume or Nietzche. New Atheists are terrible.