Christopher Hitchens decides who gets to be called a Christian

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...and, naturally, he gets it wrong. Here is what Hitchens says in an interview:

I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.
He sure sounds like a fundamentalist Christian at this point, doesn't he? The funny thing is that he is being interviewed here by a UU Christian, who of course doesn't fit into that stereotype at all, and when she points that out, Hitchens then responds by dismissing her faith as a "waste of time"

I think it is this arrogant pomposity--the notion that what's good for Christopher Hitchens is what is good for everyone else--that I find so annoying about him and others like him. I have always been a believer in religious pluralism and in the notion that when it comes to religion, whatever works for other people is probably okay, as long as it doesn't encourage them to do bad things to other people, and as long as they don't impose their beliefs on me or anyone else. When he says that religion just adds a superfluous layer to what could simply be people's raw convictions about right and wrong, he clearly misses the point that myth and metaphor and the language of the sacred speaks to people in ways that inspire them. Just because none of that inspires him, he somehow infers that it should not inspire anyone else either.

7 comments:

Joel Monka said...

All of the big-name atheists buy the fundamentalist view of Christianity; they would have enough substance to sell their books if they didn't. I'm convinced this is deliberate; he's a college grad, I'm sure he's aware that unitarian Christians have existed from the very beginning.

Mystical Seeker said...

Joel, interesting thought.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Many atheists make the claim that liberal versions of Christianity enable the more radical versions. I do not agree any more than I would agree with the idea that me being an atheist enables rude, angry atheists.

If it weren't for fundamentalist religionists I don't think we'd hear much out of atheists, at least not as much as we do these days.

PrickliestPear said...

Hitchens has to deny that progressive Christians are "Christians" because our very existence threatens his worldview, in which all Christians are unthinking nitwits who reject science and reason.

I pay about as much attention to Hitchens as I do to Pat Robertson, and for the same reason.

Mystical Seeker said...

What's really funny is that some fundamentalist Christian bloggers have praised Hitchens for "getting it right" on who is is Christian and who isn't. Here is one example.

CT said...

Well spotted - what a notion - you can call yourself a follower of Christ based on what you believe about him - with no reference at all to what Jesus actually taught about how we should live our lives.

Honesty said...

This is just one of the many paradoxes I find in Mr. Hitchens. He is just as narrow minded as the very people he criticizes. People like him only encourages the polarity that already exists in a world so full of misunderstandings. Though I have to say, I enjoyed his books.