Friday, December 3, 2010

Hitchens and Hannity / 9th-Page Reply

I just feel an urge to throw these out there. I've said before that I haven't ever really planned on discussing reasons to not believe Mormonism and I don't plan on getting into it much here, but I kind of want to collect my thoughts on this. Mainly I'll just list them off with a little explanation as to why they 'matter,' my ''so what'' statements. - Or so I thought. Now it's some ramblings about the Hitchen's video I posted, for no reason really, just cause, and then some references to the 9-page email from Demosthenes 3 months ago.

I'm not really sure what this blog is. Sometimes I post things with readers in mind, sometimes I post things as if I writing to myself or in a journal, and then I regret having posted at all, lol. And then sometimes I just try to work things out. Discussing things with Demosthenes helps in that area. For example, in my last post I put up the Hitchens video with Hannity. Now, Hitchens is just an atheist evangelist, and I have no problem admitting that. When Dan Barker was at UofU he said he was kind of an atheist preacher, and he willingly admits it and doesn't find it wrong as long as people are looking to listen to him speak. Now, Hitchens is probably plastered as usual in that video and he makes many quips, but having watched it many times, to laugh, I eventually started listening to what he was really saying.

Overall he makes a lot of sense. The universe doesn't really speak of some great design, at least in the sense of 'for humans,' so a deistic god of course still works. A Christian God IS like North Korea, only worse. Don't worship Him and you go to hell or outer darkness. Forever! I have actually done my research on North Korea, it is disturbing, surreal, in fact I watched a political video of Hitchens talking about his 'trip' to North Korea and I think he said it was first time he felt he could describe something with the word 'surreal.' When you look at North Korea it isn't hard to see the relation between the speakers praising Kim all day and people 'worshiping' his dead father to Christianity (in the very least).

Having talked about charity Hannity brings up all the good religion does, and Hitchens points out that atheists do charity as well. For him he says 'more convincingly' lol, and he's entitled to his opinion, but his main point is after that, saying that good actions by atheists doesn't proof atheism is true no more than good Christians prove that their religion is true. Demosthenes brought up a lot of points like this back with my 9-page replies. Which I never found a reason to make a 9th page reply, only had 8 pages, or posts. Though maybe this one is kind of a post. In fact, this whole post is far from what I had planned on talking about, now I'm critiquing a Hitchens video.

(Billboard from the FFRF campaign)
In my not-so-humble opinion I felt that Hannity was p'wned by a drunk Hitchens. He didn't seem like he knew what he was talking about.
(Though I am grateful to Hannity for the things he said to Shirley Phelps when she came on his show.)
His main argument was that he can't believe all this energy could come from nothing. I still hold the belief/theory of alternative/parallel universes to our own and that all energy has always existed, though maybe not always in this universe. But with Hannity he puts forth that God was needed. Infinite regress. So you have a problem with the world existing without God but you don't have a problem with God existing without ... a ... God? This that whole bottom-most turtle thing. Doesn't disprove religion or God, but it doesn't prove itself either. The argument only takes the whole 'issue' one more step back, placing God in the equation and not solving the issue of something out of nothing. Unless Christians say God always was and is eternal ... then why do they have a problem with energy and matter being eternal?

I don't get it, perhaps I'm missing something, but even when I believed I never followed this argument.

However, even if atheists can't come up with real substantial reasoning of evidence to disprove a god, and even if theists can't prove the existence of a god I still think this is proof enough to not worry about gods in any religion. Why add something in that seems to have been made up in the first place. Take the good out of religions, fight the bad, let people live good lives if they are regardless of beliefs, but don't tell me to believe in something that, for me, is unnecessary, unfounded, invisible, magical, and continuously looks more and more like it doesn't need to be a part of the world to make the world, universe, and all matter, to work.


  1. I've disliked Sean Hannity ever since I heard him speak at UVSC six years ago. He does not come across as particularly eloquent here. That said, Hitchens is intellectually dishonest when he's sober, and apparently ethanol doesn't help the situation much. I don't understand how someone can watch this and walk away thinking that Hitchens said anything worthwhile. Not that Hannity fared much better.

    The comparison of Christianity with North Korea is absurd on its face. To learn about North Korea read Chang Jung's Mao: The Unknown Story and B.R. Meyers' The Cleanest Race. There is nothing remotely similar about a divinity judging the morality of your behavior after you are dead and a totalitarian state like that created by Kim Il Sung. That both involve a father and son is no grounds for serious comparison and you have to question the intelligence of someone who thinks there is something significant there.

    Hitchens' next point about collapsed stars somehow throwing God's morality into question is probably excusable as he is drunk. Hydrogen atoms fusing into heavier metals through heat and pressure does not strike me as a moral dilemma. The notion that God is responsible for the extinction of species is also only tenable if one subscribes to the notion that nothing happens without being specifically commanded by God. Almost nobody holds this view.

    Hitchens then talks about religious intimidation and clerical bullying. This only happens in a specific religious context in a small region of the world today and it is dishonest not to acknowledge that fact. Islamic totalitarianism is not an argument against religion in general. But we've covered this many times on this blog already.

    The last thing that Hitchens says is that the majority of American philanthropists have been atheists. This is factually untrue, and those relatively few that are atheists are philanthropists because of the ethical system created by the Christianity they reject.

    There is not one serious point here that Hitchens makes against religion or God. I feel sorry for a man pathetic enough to appear on international television intoxicated, but I cannot see what is impressive in his performance.

  2. To address your other point, I have never suggested that the goodness of religion is evidence of its literal truth. Only that if you are going to dismantle religion you'd damn well better have a replacement or the world will fall apart.

  3. Oh, most of this isn't necessarily directed at you, only really the points where I said I learned or changed some thinking from you.

    I thought his rant on the 'design' of the universe was to counter what Hannity said just before, about how he can see God in the world when he looks out at it. I didn't think Hitchen's comment had anything to do with God's morality.

    I don't wish to defend Hitchen's here, I obviously don't agree with him a lot, I just like him a lot, he makes me laugh. And for that one I feel like you're applying an argument to him that he isn't making.

    I also like how he said that goodness from people doesn't prove their beliefs are correct. That wasn't directed at you either. In fact, your arguments generally have made me see how that applies to just about everything. Because people act a certain way does not necessarily truly reflect their belief system.

    I still think something needs to replace religion if it went away, and as I've said before I think we can 'improve' the ethics of religions, but NEVER get rid of them. And on that point, many people stop believing and still are good people. So I kind of doubt the whole 'world will end' mentality most people have. I think that mere fact of thinking and fearing something helps to stop it from happening in the first place.

    My two cents. Thanks as always though.

  4. Not to belabor a moot point, but Hitchens' language indicates a moral argument: "Do you really want to make God responsible for...". He is not explicit, but his use of the word "responsible" followed by a disussion of waste very strongly suggests that he thinks there is a moral issue here. I disagree.

    As far as the world falling apart, the question at hand is whether or not the ethical system established by the Judeo-Christian tradition is carried on. Without the theology it is not likely to last long, and when it has been abandoned in recent history the results have not been pretty. I tend to prefer an empirical approach to the "I kind of doubt" hunch-based model.

  5. Please check out my recent post about Bountiful from the Book of Mormon found! Yes found baby, found.

  6. See, NHM is one thing that I found hard to refute when I believed, and I still haven't done research into seeing if it fits or not. But the oasis for Bountiful. Though they don't account for much of the eastern coast, there still are tons of oasis zones, usually all of which have nuts, dates, and cattle animals. Also, when you have a direction given saying 'mostly eastward' that leaves it pretty open to pick and choose which oasis works. It's one of those things that is vague enough that you're guaranteed to get several hits, and I'm betting many oasis would fit the requirements.