Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:10 am

<< Week of August 25, 2016 >>
Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday
25 Day Month

26 Day Month

27 Day Month

28 Day Month

29 Day Month

30 Day Month

31 Day Month





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Ch. 17: An Objection Anticipated 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 15179
Location: Florida
Thanks: 2925
Thanked: 1143 times in 906 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 6

Post Ch. 17: An Objection Anticipated
God is Not Great

Ch. 17: An Objection Anticipated

[hr][hr]



Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:43 pm
Profile Email WWW
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5526
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1380
Thanked: 1386 times in 1083 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
"One could go further and say that secular totalitarianism has actually provided us with the summa of human evil. The examples most in common use--those of the Hitler and Stalin regimes--show us with terrible clarity what can happen when men usurp the role of gods. When I consult with my secular and atheist friends, I find that this has become the most common and frequent objection that they encounter from religious audiences. The point deserves a detailed reply." (p. 230)

Hitchens observes that if the two regimes mentioned are examples of the despotism called totalitarianism, then it has to be further observed that "For most of human history, the idea of the total or absolute state was intimately bound up with religion." These old theocracies wanted not just your money and allegiance, but "the contents of your heart and your head." Thus were dictators in many of the old civilizations also gods.

Eventually, the divine right of rulers began to give way to modern notions of equality. But the idea of the ideal, utopian condition, an idea of religion, did not die easily and led many to commit crimes in the name of creating a secular Eden. One of the first attempts at an Edenic society was made in, of all places, Paraguay, by Jesuit priests. "It managed to combine the maximum of egalitarianism with the maximum of unfreedom, and could only be kept going by the maximum of fear....the object of perfecting the species--which is the very root and source of the totalitarian impulse--is in essence a religious one." (p. 232). Orwell said, "a totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy." (p. 232) I find this argument convincing.

Hitchens strongly implies that the totalitarianism of religion made it naturally sympathetic to or compliant with the "'secular' totalitarians of our time." He reviews the record of the Catholic church as an opponent of tyranny and finds it damning. Japan had an actual deity as head of state, and millions died at his hand or for his glory.

"Thus, those who invoke 'secular' tyranny in contrast to religion are hoping that we will forget two things: the connection between the Christian churches and fascism, and the capitulation of of the churches to National Socialism" (p 242).

Hitchens moves on to cover the Russian and Chinese totalitarians, situations in which there was not much church/state overlap. In these attempted utopias, the state sought to be a replacement for religion.

This quote might serve as a summary of Hitchens' finely argued chapter:

"All that totalitarians have demonstrated is that the religious impulse--the need to worship--can take even more monstrous forms if it is repressed. This might not necessarily be a compliment to our worshipping tendency" (p. 247). Those who consider Hitchens to be unbending toward religion should note the concession (a small one) within this statement.


_________________
No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live as we dream--alone.

Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


Sun May 03, 2009 8:10 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:



Site Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

Featured Books

Books by New Authors


*

FACTS is a select group of active BookTalk.org members passionate about promoting Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

Apply to join FACTS
See who else is in FACTS







BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.



Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2016. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank