Friday, December 16, 2011
Christopher Hitchens: Deceased at 62
Hitchens died of pneumonia, a complication of cancer of the esophagus, Vanity Fair magazine said.
• “Christopher Hitchens – the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant – died today at the age of 62,” Vanity Fair said.
• Hitchens was not one to mince words. In his book on Bill Clinton “No one left to lie to”, he called the former U.S. president a “rapist” and a “con man.” He once referred to Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a “fanatical Albanian dwarf.”
• The 2001 attacks on the United States by Islamic fundamentalists in hijacked passenger planes made Hitchens ever more critical of the role of religion in the world, and led him to appreciate the merits of American democracy.
• “I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in the world is religion, and organized religion,” he wrote.
Hitchens was right – “the main source of hatred in the world is religion.” However, I think that he defined “religion” a little too narrowly, leaving out Communism, Atheism, Secular Humanism, Nazism and a variety of other “isms.”
Why should we regard these as “religions?” Well, for one thing, they always had been regarded as such. Here are some affirmations of this fact:
• BERTRAND RUSSELL: “The greatest danger in our day comes from new religions, communism and Nazism. To call these religions may perhaps be objectionable both to their friends and enemies, but in fact they have all the characteristics of religions…”
• THE FIRST HUMANIST MANIFESTO (Paul Kurtz, 1933): “Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view.”
• JOHN DEWEY, WHO SIGNED THE MANIFESTO: “Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race…It remains to make it explicit and militant.”
• THE US SUPREME COURT (Torasco v. Watkins – 1961): “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.”
Why does secularism and atheism now disown the idea that they are religions? If they were regarded as religions, they would then be subject to the legal rulings that discriminate against religions and their promotion, and this is something that they find unacceptable. David Noebel observed that,
• Kurtz understands this, admitting that if Secular Humanism is a religion, "then we would be faced with a violation of the First Amendment…” (All the above quoted from, Understanding the Times, 16-18)
If you doubt how tenaciously the Atheist denies that Atheism is a religion, just call Atheism a religion, and you’ll receive an angry denunciation.