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10/24/07 8:53 PM
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sniper1026
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Edited: 24-Oct-07
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Debate: Dinesh D'Souza Debates Christopher Hitchens You tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boH_tJ0mCrU&eurl= FRAT Is Religion the Problem? Posted Oct 24th 2007 11:03AM by Dinesh D'Souza Filed under: Religion, Christianity, Controversy, Atheism Is religion the problem? This was the topic of my debate with America's leading atheist Christopher Hitchens before a packed house of a thousand people at the Ethical Culture Society auditorium in New York city. Hitchens is the author of God Is Not Great and I am the author of the new book What's So Great About Christianity. Unfortunately the organizers had to turn more than a hundred people away. It was a ferocious and lively debate, which also had its light moments, and many people on both sides said afterward that it was the best God v. atheism debate that has so far been held. The current crop of atheists -- Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker -- are mainly Darwinians who don't believe in God because they regard evolution as providing a sufficient accounting for life. Hitchens, however, says he is not an atheist but an "anti-theist." By this he means that he isn't just an unbeliever; he hates the God of traditional religion. He condemns Christianity as a wicked religion involving a sadomasochistic God who indulges in a gruesome sacrifice of his son. And why? To compel people to grovel before him. And if they don't (in Hitchen's portrayal) God hurls them into hell for eternity. Hitchens sees the crimes of religion, such as the Inquisition, as stemming from the inherently totalitarian nature of religion. My argument in the debate was that Christians would hardly recognize their beliefs and practices in this harsh and unbalanced account. For Christians, God helps to give ultimate meaning to life. Religion gives us a moral code to live by and to teach our children. Faith helps us to deal with hardship and suffering. The prospect of the afterlife gives us hope and helps us to believe that there is eventual justice in which the good are rewarded and unrepented evil held accountable. For Christians it is not the death of Christ but the resurrection that is the central doctrine. Sadomasochism doesn't even enter into it. Some of the most lively moments in the debate came when Hitchens and I discussed whether religion or atheism is responsible for the mass murders of history. I pointed out that even the Spanish Inquisition--a favorite atheist bugaboo -- killed 2,000 people over 350 years. By contrast, atheist tyrants like Mao and Stalin and Pol Pot killed tens of millions within the space of a few decades. Hitchens sought to argue that Communism retained many of the features of autocratic religious states. I countered by saying that if we hold religious regimes responsible for the crimes done in God's name, we should hold atheist regimes responsible for the crimes done in the name of creating an atheist utopia. Let's not blame religion not only for its own offenses but also for the offenses done by atheists on behalf of an atheist ideology. Who won? That's for you to judge. Hitchens and I are scheduled to appear tonight on Hannity & Colmes on the Fox News Channel to have another swing at each other. Our debate was also taped by C-Span 2 (Book TV) and will be aired on Saturday at 7 pm Eastern time.
11/17/07 8:15 PM
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revivalfire02
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Edited: 17-Nov-07
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Sounds good man!
11/17/07 8:26 PM
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Revolver of Reason
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Edited: 17-Nov-07
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the problem happens when people use whatever their belief system is as an excuse to ignore the fact that other people are human beings. you can do this with religion, atheism, or whatever.
1/3/08 1:02 PM
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Ted Bennett
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Edited: 03-Jan-08
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the main problem is that D'Souza does not make any advances in his arguements, or offer any positive evidence. His basis is to counterattack where there is uncertainty.

I wouldn't call it a "problem" so much as a carefully calculated decision - to make "advances" in his argument would seem awful close to (if not indistinguishable from) sounding like he is trying to convert people, which I think he worked very hard to avoid (at least in his book on the topic, which is probably his primer/cheat sheet for those debates).

1/22/08 6:07 PM
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Rastus
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Edited: 22-Jan-08
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Dinish is a baffoon, and I went to his website to excoriate him for his stupidity. Not surprisingly, my post was deleted. Just pathetic. "are mainly Darwinians who don't believe in God because they regard evolution as providing a sufficient accounting for life." But outside this arena, the evidence is overwhelming for Jehova, right? Please... And that anyone is discussing the merits of either side based on whether Hitler killed more people than Pol Pot makes me realize why there's a god that's believed in the first place.
1/22/08 6:25 PM
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Ted Bennett
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Edited: 22-Jan-08
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Dinish is a baffoon, and I went to his website to excoriate him for his stupidity. Not surprisingly, my post was deleted.

Perhaps he figured someone who couldn't even spell his name or the insult ("baffoon") correctly might have some issues with attention to detail?  ;-)

(I kid, I kid!)

1/22/08 6:33 PM
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Rastus
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Edited: 22-Jan-08
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lol...do you know that I was too lazy to even bother to right-click on Mozilla Firefox to get the spelling correct? His arguments, however, are so atrocious that any extra time spent on them is paying them too much credit.
1/22/08 6:38 PM
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Rastus
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Edited: 22-Jan-08
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Also, the oxymoronic "Atheism Religion" is exactly analogous to the "color black". Not getting that at the git-go is a sure sign of a vexing debate to ensue.
1/22/08 6:57 PM
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Ted Bennett
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Edited: 22-Jan-08
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His arguments, however, are so atrocious that any extra time spent on them is paying them too much credit.

OK, then, I'll bite - in spite of having gone to 12 years of Catholic schools, I never heard anything of the philosophy of religion of big names like Augustine, Aquinas, etc., on up to things like Pascal's gamble, Kant, Hegel, and all the other guys he references. It also doesn't help that the only philosophy class I took in college was logic. I read D'Souza's book after having read Dawkins' "Selfish Gene" (as a scientist I like the idea of listening to both sides before making conclusions), and I find it's like a one-month BJJ'er trying to listen in on a Mundials strategy session conducted by Ricardo Liborio and Marcelo Garcia - you kinda know some of what they're talking about, but you also realize most of it is WAY over your head :-P

Anyway, how are D'Souza's arguments flawed?

(I realize this may be tough to answer - my overwhelming feeling after reading Dawkins and D'Souza back to back was that even if one guy "defeated" the other, I wouldn't be able to tell, and it seemed like they would stalemate anyway since they differ on even basic assumptions, it's like a wrassler and BJJ'er who argue over the rules so much they can't even step on the mat to hash out who is the "better" grappler, etc.)

BTW, I think the "Atheism Religion" thing is very likely (bad) humor, D'Souza makes an awful lot of jokes like that in his other books, I hardly think it's that he doesn't "get it."


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