Highlights from Hitchens vs Hitchens April 5, 2008

Highlights from Hitchens vs Hitchens

The entire debate between brothers Christopher Hitchens and Peter Hitchens is not available on line right now (YouTube videos were removed).

But that doesn’t mean a couple excerpts can’t be found in print!

Christopher Hitchens praised the war in Iraq, saying it “brought one of the great war criminals of the world to justice.”

And it’s about time for humankind to depose the “heavenly dictator,” too, he said.

“(Religion) is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave (to someone) who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep,” Hitchens said. “Unless you’re North Korea, who wants this to be true?

“At least you can (expletive) die and leave North Korea. Does the Quran or the Bible offer you that liberty? No. The tyranny, the misery, the utter ownership only begins at the point of death. This is evil.”

“Far more good has been done by religious belief than harm,” Peter Hitchens said.

“If you were to abolish (Christianity), it would not be replaced by a blank space,” he said. “In societies that don’t believe in hell, hell pretty quickly comes into existence. You will find a complete absence of self-government.

“If the universe does have an origin, then wouldn’t it be a good idea to try to find out and to seek to govern ourselves by it?”

Waiting to read the full transcript…

Reader Chad said this:

I was hoping to hear a stronger argument out of Peter. Instead, he focussed on character attacks against Christopher, perpetuating the all-atheists-are-dreadfully-evil stereotype, and pulling out the atheist=Hitler=Stalin=Mao card. All in all, he had no leg to stand on and eventually got to a point where he all but stopped answering.

Near the end, things kinda fizzled into the standard bickering by both sides, blaming the other for causing more wars and violence. But if you’re a fan of Christopher Hitchens’ scathing wit, you’ll enjoy this.

***UPDATE***: The torrent of the debate can be downloaded here.

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • “In societies that don’t believe in hell, hell pretty quickly comes into existence. You will find a complete absence of self-government.”

    I guess he’s never heard of Sweden. What a lame argument.

  • Tim Van Haitsma

    I saw the debate. It was the best $15 I have spent in a long time. I could not believe how many people showed up for it. The church was packed. I bet it was over 1500. And the majority was very very supportive of Chris. At least his god stuff. Iraq not so much.

    Favorite short line was “You were created sick, and commanded to be well.”

  • Grimalkin

    I have to agree with writerdd. Not to mention that “hell” (meaning a place where souls go after mortal death for punishment) didn’t exist at all until the last couple thousand years. The Ancient Egyptians had no hell, the early Jews had no hell, and as far as I know both had systems of government that really weren’t unlike the later Christian governments.

    I hope there was something else to that quote that isn’t represented here. If not, that’s just idiocy.

  • cipher

    The Ancient Egyptians had no hell

    Actually, my understanding is that in the later kingdoms, they did.

  • Marc

    It was indeed a fantastic debate; Christopher clearly had the upper hand. His brother, however, disappointed me with how many non sequiturs he could churn out.

    The best comment of the evening had my heart, and everyone else’s pounding: One pious gentlemen addressed him during the question-and-answer period with the tired old Stalin/atheism “Correlation = causation” fallacy.

    Christopher’s response to it was positively scintillating; a roar of applause followed Christopher as he demolished and, in turn, absolutely humiliated the questioner, whose ego was evidentially bruised when Christopher ended with a forceful demand that the questioner apologize!

    Great stuff.

  • cipher

    I’m actually a little surprised that Christopher is still defending the war. I thought he’d largely withdrawn his support of it.

    Also about his brother saying, In societies that don’t believe in hell, hell pretty quickly comes into existence. C of E types are usually rather liberal, theologically – although I think they do have their evangelical pockets.

  • Can’t wait for the video

  • Hi everyone. For those interested in video (as well as a pretty extensive writeup), it’s linked to from here:


    …Not sure about the comment about YouTube videos being removed – the ones linked to above are valid as of this writing.

    In addition, we’ve got a pretty good sub-debate running already from various topics from the Hitchens debate.

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