I Read That

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December 17, 2011

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John, nice blog. Found you over at Betsy's. I like what you said regarding the lack of believers' intelligent articulation of their beliefs. However, I feel that Hitchens pretty much had an easy job of it when he dealt with most defenders of faith. I don't know if he ever tangled with any Jesuits, but I would have liked to have seen it.

I'm a Hare Krishna convert, and in our tradition, even children are (or used to be) trained to refute basic atheistic propositions. I wish some of our smarter people could have had a chance to duke it out with the Hitch.

The problem is, he was extremely articulate and intelligent in a way that few people are. Unfortunately, that can give the impression that what he was saying was true simply by virtue of it sounding more intelligent. But truth is not the slave of intelligence, and there's more than one way to know the truth. An unlettered peasant would know Hitchens was talking nonsense, even if he couldn't eloquently say why.

I'm also sorry he's gone, because I think he could have had a change of heart if a he had come across a good argument in favor of theism. From my vantage point, he will get another chance to find out, hopefully before too long.

Oh, and I'd like to request that you get a "subscribe by email" plug-in for your blog. A lot of people don't bother with readers; I'm one of them. It's much more convenient to read the posts as they come in with the other email. Please consider it. Thanks!

Hi Tulasi-Priya, thanks for stopping by the blog.

Wow, what a thoughtful comment!

Re Hitch had an easy job: I agree. I think many of the debates side-step the core discussion of the possibility of a creator and go right to the old testament God. Because most people - especially fundamentalists (and me too, really) - have little knowledge of the Bible or how it was formed, their position is highly untenable. This article by fundamentalist escapee Bart Erhman makes the point well: http://thehumanist.org/november-december-2011/biblical-scholarship-and-the-right-to-know/

Re Hitch the brain: "truth is not the slave of intelligence" That's great! Seriously! Is that one yours? But you know, truth can be the victim of ignorance. I sometimes vacillate on how much bible some folks really ought to be reading - thinking they should just stick with the basics: Mark 12:30-31 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12%3A30-31&version=NIV)

Re Hitch and a change of heart: You might be right. I'm a glass half empty guy by nature and I don't think he would have come around. Public figures who espouse strong, polarized views build careers based on holding those views. It's difficult for them to change - especially politicians. But Hitchens was more courageous than most in shifting gears and he most certainly had the intellect to stand by it. Would have been interesting to see him square off against Dawkins or Daniel Dennett. He would have done well.

Re subscribe by email: Let me have a look at that. I'm a reader guy myself - the less in my inbox the happier I am, but I'll see what I can do!

John, thanks for the links. I've subscribed to you in my Google Reader. I may just have to break down and start using it. My inbox could certainly use some de-cluttering. As far as the "truth is not the slave" quote, I googled it and I'm the only one who comes close to having said that. However, my thoughts have been greatly influence by others who might not show up in Google. Yes, ignorance is certainly the enemy of truth, but simplicity of heart is not.

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Sites I Visit

  • failblog.org
    A collection of pictures and videos of things and events that were intended to turn out a certain way and clearly did not. If you have any work to get done on a given day, or plan to accomplish anything meaningful with the life God issued you, DO NOT GO TO THIS SITE! You've been warned.
  • Listverse
    A site of top ten (sometimes 15, sometimes more) lists. I won't reveal how much time I've wasted on this site, but it is significant. Highly addictive. You've been warned.
  • Classical Bookworm
    Sylvia blogs about books - classical books - and other things. A great guide to deeper reading.
  • Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate
    Links to articles about books, art, culture, philosophy. A great time killer for the mind-lifers.