Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chris Hedges Doesn't Believe in Atheists









If you'd like to bone up on Hedges' thesis (without having to read the whole book), please read the opening statement of his debate against Sam Harris at truthdig.

A few key tidbits:
On God: "God is a human concept. God is the name we give to our belief that life has meaning, one that transcends the world’s chaos, randomness and cruelty. To argue about whether God exists or does not exist is futile. The question is not whether God exists. The question is whether we concern ourselves with, or are utterly indifferent to, the sanctity and ultimate transcendence of human existence. God is that mysterious force—and you can give it many names as other religions do—which works upon us and through us to seek and achieve truth, beauty and goodness. God is perhaps best understood as our ultimate concern, that in which we should place our highest hopes, confidence and trust."

On Faith: "Faith allows us to trust, rather, in human compassion, even in a cruel and morally neutral universe. This is not faith in magic, not faith in church doctrine or church hierarchy, but faith in simple human kindness. It is only by holding on to the sanctity of each individual, each human life, only by placing our faith in the tiny, insignificant acts of compassion and kindness, that we survive as a community and as a human being. And these small acts of kindness are deeply feared and subversive to institutional religious and political authorities."

On Religion and Violence: "...let us not forget that the worst genocides and slaughters of the last century were perpetrated not by Muslims but Christians. To someone who lived in Sarajevo during the Serbian siege of the city, Sam’s demonization of the Muslim world seems odd. It was the Muslim-led government in Bosnia that practiced tolerance. There were some 10,000 Serbs who remained in the city and fought alongside the Bosnia Muslims during the war. The city’s Jewish community, dating back to 1492, was also loyal to the government. And the worst atrocities of the war were blessed not by imams but Catholic and Serbian Orthodox priests. Sam’s argument that atheists have a higher moral code is as specious as his attacks on Islam. Does he forget Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot? These three alone filled the earth with more corpses in the last century than all of the world’s clerics combined."

4 Comments:

Blogger Dan said...

That's such a dumb title for a book... I mean, it's totally the easy way out / cheap.

He was recently on Point of Inquiry. DJ Grothe, the Host, seemed to be slightly annoyed (only slightly), and he's always the most cordial host ever.

~Dan
http://jazzsick.wordpress.com/

6/26/08, 6:44 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

The chestnut about Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot is old and trite.

Hitler was not an atheist and indeed used Christian imagery and worked with churches.

We can similarly claim that Hitler and Stalin show that men with moustaches are evil; what we need to establish was whether their alleged atheism was integral, related or peripheral to their evil deeds.

Rather, I’d characterise the lesson of Hitler and Stalin as being that when there is an unthinking adherence to ideology, convenient rationalisation of heinous deeds, the creation of an us vs them mentality and the unquestioning acceptance of what infallible, omnibenevolent authority/father figures dictate, evil can reign unchecked. Not coincidentally, this is what you find in Fundamentalist Christianity with, for example, its justification of the Midanite Holocaust (the logic for which can similarly justify the Jewish one).

7/25/08, 4:28 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

It seems Hedges would be a secular humanist if he could only find meaning within the human condition, instead of the forced appeal to a transcendent source.

Purpose can be found within oneself and who/what you interact with and enjoy. I understand the need many feel to be a part of something larger than themselves, but we already are!

7/28/08, 10:19 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

One thing that we should all remember when talking about Evil minded people that use God's name for evil purposes is that it is man who is doing this evil.How sad that Satan has used religion as an excuse to hurt and destroy other of different cultures and minds.
How is it posible that a pastor can bless an army from a certain country in God's name and another paster in a different country bless the opposing army force.The bible tells us that God is not the author of confussion and I( truely believe thay He is not,but man is!!
I think that most religions all have it wrong especially the Catholics and everything that has come out of them(Catholic Church)
I have a theory about the 1000 year reign spoken of which Jesus Christ comes back to rule the earth.The bible tells us that a day is a thousand years to God.God gave us 6 days for our own use and one day that He made Holy for us to worship Him.If that day actually was the reign of Jesus Christ.The 6 days or 6000 years of recorded history we as a planet have lived through,wouldn't it seem likely that the next 1000 years would be God's under the rulership of His son Jesus?
I can only share what I have come to see by study of the bible.I follow the 7th day Sabbath which we are all commanded to do for all eternity Hebrew's 4(A sabbath rest for the people)The world is under a curse from not folowing God's commandments correctly.Sunday worship is based o0n pagen doctrines.Of course most would get offended to ghear that but when anyone researches these things there is only one truth of the matter God asks us how long we will be of two minds.If it is Baal that you follow follow him(Sunday worhip Sun God BAAL)Or if it is Him that we want to follow than follow him!That would include the Sabbath and all the 7 Holy Days of the Bible from _Passover to The Feast of Trumpets.WE follow churches without knowing what they support or how they have come about.The time is coming soon that God punishes us all for our adulteress nature

8/22/08, 3:45 PM  

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