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Hitchens - Spokesman For Atheism?


jwhitlock

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Kudos to DCP on his review of Hitchens' book "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" at the FAIR conference. We evidently now have a fine example of an atheist oriented, anti-religion (and specifically anti-Mormon in one part) diatribe that is demonstrably poorly researched, blatantly inaccurate, and filled with vitriol in the finest tradition of what the Evangelical fringe has to offer.

On this board, threads have been posted concerning members of that Evangelical fringe such Decker, Keller, Hinn, various street screechers, and others. Usually the more mainstream Christian posters here have distanced themselves from the writings and rantings of such fringe elements. LDS posters also have no trouble distancing themselves from fringe elements within the LDS community. The end does not justify the means, and there are many in these religious groups who are disturbed by the antics of fringe elements, whether EV or LDS.

Does the atheist community also disavow the writings and rantings of obvious demagogues such as Hitchens (no matter how well it is claimed he writes), or is Hitchens embraced as a leader and thinker and example of what atheism is really all about?

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Does the atheist community also disavow the writings and rantings of obvious demagogues such as Hitchens (no matter how well it is claimed he writes), or is Hitchens embraced as a leader and thinker and example of what atheism is really all about?

There is no atheist community. Just a bunch of unbelievers doin' their own thing.

I haven't read the book yet. It's been on hold at the library for a while now... ever since I saw that DCP was going to review it. Have you read it J? Or are you satisfied from DCP's review that Hitchins is an "obvious demagogue" and you don't need to actually read the book to know DCP is spot on?

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Kudos to DCP on his review of Hitchens' book "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything"

at the FAIR conference. We evidently now have a fine example of an atheist oriented, anti-religion

(and specifically anti-Mormon in one part) diatribe that is demonstrably poorly researched, blatantly

inaccurate, and filled with vitriol in the finest tradition of what the Evangelical fringe has to offer.

Exactly how you connect Hitchens to the "Evangelical fringe" I am clueless --- he probably has

no idea at all what a born-again experience is, or even what the gospel of Jesus entails.

If you are saying that he has mimicked the spirit of some Evangelical attacks upon other religious

groups (and upon secular society), you may have at least one leg to stand upon. His conception of and

reaction to theism rather parallels the Evangelical reaction to Latter Day Saintism.

That much admitted, I think that we also must concede that Hitchens is sincere in what he says --

he is exceptionally articulate and intelligent -- a Marxist for the Vanity Fair crowd, moreso than a true

Bolshevik (with bombs tucked under his trenchcoat).

Rather than attacking the fellow personally, however, we might do better to talk about a few of his

perceptions of theism and believers -- and of Mormonism in particular.

UD

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I haven't read the book yet. It's been on hold at the library for a while now... ever since I saw that DCP was going to review it. Have you read it J? Or are you satisfied from DCP's review that Hitchins is an "obvious demagogue" and you don't need to actually read the book to know DCP is spot on?

If DCP's quotes of his material are accurate, at the very least Hitchen's research lacks greatly. As to whether Hitchen's logic is as bad as it appeared, I think I'd need to read the book to decide that.

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Rather than attacking the fellow personally, however, we might do better to talk about a few of his

perceptions of theism and believers -- and of Mormonism in particular.

UD

True that. I, for one, would love to learn more about the prophet Lephi, for example.

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Found an excerpt (http://www.slate.com/?id=2165033):

If the followers of the prophet Muhammad hoped to put an end to any future "revelations" after the immaculate conception of the Koran, they reckoned without the founder of what is now one of the world's fastest-growing faiths. And they did not foresee (how could they, mammals as they were?) that the prophet of this ridiculous cult would model himself on theirs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsâ??hereafter known as the Mormonsâ??was founded by a gifted opportunist who, despite couching his text in openly plagiarized Christian terms, announced that "I shall be to this generation a new Muhammad" and adopted as his fighting slogan the words, which he thought he had learned from Islam, "Either the Al-Koran or the sword."
That ought to have been all we ever heard of Joseph Smith, who at trial admitted to defrauding citizens by organizing mad gold-digging expeditions and also to claiming to possess dark or "necromantic" powers.
So notorious did this local tendency become that the region became known as the "Burned-Over District," in honor of the way in which it had surrendered to one religious craze after another.
After many wrestlings, he brought this buried apparatus home with him on September 21, 1827, about eighteen months after his conviction for fraud.
The resulting "books" turned out to be a record set down by ancient prophets, beginning with Nephi, son of Lephi
Smith refused to show the golden plates to anybody, claiming that for other eyes to view them would mean death.
Mrs. Harris was having none of this, and was already furious with the fecklessness of her husband. She stole the first hundred and sixteen pages and challenged Smith to reproduce them, as presumablyâ??given his power of revelationâ??he could.
it is likewise a simple if tedious task to discover that twenty-five thousand words of the Book of Mormon are taken directly from the Old Testament. These words can mainly be found in the chapters of Isaiah available in Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews: The Ten Tribes of Israel in America.
Every week, at special ceremonies in Mormon temples, the congregations meet and are given a certain quota of names of the departed to "pray in" to their church.
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I haven't read the book yet. It's been on hold at the library for a while now... ever since I saw that DCP was going to review it. Have you read it J? Or are you satisfied from DCP's review that Hitchins is an "obvious demagogue" and you don't need to actually read the book to know DCP is spot on?

There were three excerpts from the book on Slate that I read; the tone of them and the inaccuracies they contained were enough to corroborate DCP's review in and of themselves.

But then again, DCP is obviously enough of a hack to need independent verification before he can be deemed anywhere near "spot on", and I'm obviously the type of person stupid enough to believe him hook, line and sinker without questioning or reading for myself.

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Exactly how you connect Hitchens to the "Evangelical fringe" I am clueless --- he probably has no idea at all what a born-again experience is, or even what the gospel of Jesus entails.

If you are saying that he has mimicked the spirit of some Evangelical attacks upon other religious

groups (and upon secular society), you may have at least one leg to stand upon. His conception of and

reaction to theism rather parallels the Evangelical reaction to Latter Day Saintism.

The parallels to fringe Evangelicalism was indeed where I was coming from.

That much admitted, I think that we also must concede that Hitchens is sincere in what he says --

he is exceptionally articulate and intelligent -- a Marxist for the Vanity Fair crowd, moreso than a true

Bolshevik (with bombs tucked under his trenchcoat).

Hitchens' sincerity is unclear; certainly where there is the draw of money from selling books, or the popularity received from his showmanship, his sincerity can be questioned.

Rather than attacking the fellow personally, however, we might do better to talk about a few of his

perceptions of theism and believers -- and of Mormonism in particular.

The blatant inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of his writing woiuld probably serve to discount his perceptions in and of themselves. If he can't make an honest case for his conclusions, why should we even give them some consideration? The same goes for the fringe EVs.

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If DCP's quotes of his material are accurate, at the very least Hitchen's research lacks greatly. As to whether Hitchen's logic is as bad as it appeared, I think I'd need to read the book to decide that.

If the research is bad, then it must certainly follow that the conclusions are questionable. The excerpts on Slate that you referred to bear that up.

He's an entertaining writer, but he's all presentation and no substance. He is counting on most readers to make an emotional connection with his conclusions by the tone of his diatribe, not by whether what he says is accurate or not.

My hope is that Hitchens would be perceived as an embarrassment by most atheists, in the same manner that fringe EVs are viewed as an embarrassment by many EVs.

Looks like Mr. Hitchins used "South Park" as one of his sources.

As DCP said, Google was his main research tool.

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He's an entertaining writer, but he's all presentation and no substance. He is counting on most readers to make an emotional connection with his conclusions by the tone of his diatribe, not by whether what he says is accurate or not.

That was definitely my impression after reading that particular excerpt. What were the other excerpts on? (never mind, found them)

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There are four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking.
All I can say after this is "Wow" and "how much I don't want to read this book".

A review: http://maroon.uchicago.edu/online_edition/...far-from-great/

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That much admitted, I think that we also must concede that Hitchens is sincere in what he says

Perhaps. This article claims differently--http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/the-contrarian-delusion-_b_47295.html

But there is no excuse for Hitchens' hypocrisy. With the release of God Is Not Great, Hitchens owes his readers an explanation for his appearance at the Family Research Council, the nerve center of a theocratic movement determined to weaken the foundations of constitutional democracy. Hitchens must explain why he accepted the FRC's invitation to speak and whether he was paid for his appearance.

Don't know if it's accurate.

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The blatant inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of his writing woiuld probably serve to discount his perceptions in and of themselves. If he can't make an honest case for his conclusions, why should we even give them some consideration? The same goes for the fringe EVs.

I've watched the guy in the past ---- he is not above learning from his mistakes and sharpening

his attack by re-adjusting his allegations. Based upon what I have seen in the past, be will even

apologize for some of his errors, if that will further his cause.

Don't dismiss him as not being dangerous, simply because he has picked up a few faulty

views of Mormonism and Latter Day Saint culture from popular opinion. If he sees he is wrong

about any one thing, I expect he will re-adjust and come back at you twice as strong and

less error-based in his "facts."

I also expect that if Romney drops out of the picture that Hitchens will find a new toy to play with.

UD

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I've watched the guy in the past ---- he is not above learning from his mistakes and sharpening

his attack by re-adjusting his allegations. Based upon what I have seen in the past, be will even

apologize for some of his errors, if that will further his cause.

Don't dismiss him as not being dangerous, simply because he has picked up a few faulty

views of Mormonism and Latter Day Saint culture from popular opinion. If he sees he is wrong

about any one thing, I expect he will re-adjust and come back at you twice as strong and

less error-based in his "facts."

I also expect that if Romney drops out of the picture that Hitchens will find a new toy to play with.

UD

It wasn't only the LDS stuff that he had wrong. He was way off on blaming religion for anything evil. Anything and everything. If DCP's comments prove true, there are some egregious fundamental flaws in Hitchen's book.

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I've watched the guy in the past ---- he is not above learning from his mistakes and sharpening his attack by re-adjusting his allegations. Based upon what I have seen in the past, be will even apologize for some of his errors, if that will further his cause.

Don't dismiss him as not being dangerous, simply because he has picked up a few faulty views of Mormonism and Latter Day Saint culture from popular opinion. If he sees he is wrong about any one thing, I expect he will re-adjust and come back at you twice as strong and less error-based in his "facts."

I also expect that if Romney drops out of the picture that Hitchens will find a new toy to play with.

DCP was pretty specific about how riddled with errors Hitchens' book was; there weren't just a few, mischaracterization was pretty much SOP for everything he talked about in the book. Indeed, I get the impression from the excerpts I read on Slate that his attitude is almost "why tell the truth, when a juicier lie makes a bigger impact". He understands that sleaze sells. And it's not just a few errors; the book is full of them.

I don't think he's not dangerous. Anyone who is in the business of rousing the rabble up to a fever pitch needs to be watched. Reviews of his book have pointed out the errors he makes; the errors are so pervasive in his book that I am not sure that he really cares or did care whether he was accurate. He's not out to convert, only to sell to the choir. The comments on Amazon are interesting in their polarization and perspective as to how people have reacted.

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The Hitchens book is far worse than I had realized even after my second reading of it.

There is virtually no claim in it that isn't at least questionable. Many are as wrong as they could possibly be.

It's unspeakably awful.

The scary part about this is going to Amazon and reading the comments of so many who think this is a wonderful, well reasoned book. Polarization of perspective, indeed!

We worry about the number of followers those on the EV fringe have; it may appear that Hitchens' following is even more significant, which would be something to worry about. These are not well meaning people!

The purpose of this thread is to try to gauge if there is significant support for Hitchens, or if he is really considered on the fringes by most atheists.

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I've watched the guy in the past ---- he is not above learning from his mistakes and sharpening

his attack by re-adjusting his allegations. Based upon what I have seen in the past, be will even

apologize for some of his errors, if that will further his cause.

Don't dismiss him as not being dangerous, simply because he has picked up a few faulty

views of Mormonism and Latter Day Saint culture from popular opinion. If he sees he is wrong

about any one thing, I expect he will re-adjust and come back at you twice as strong and

less error-based in his "facts."

I also expect that if Romney drops out of the picture that Hitchens will find a new toy to play with.

UD

I heard him on a radio show with a very conservative host: he seemed very nice, english accent, just recently became a US citizen, loves the united states, It seemed to me that he would likely admitt there are other views. He thought Jesus was a myth created by people in the first century. His thoughts though on the church seemed to cause some concern as it doesn't really hit the mark. But I would say if people pointed out the issues he may just change them. How many people on this board when shown some information that questions how right a thought is reasoned will even entertain the thought but try to send it off in another direction.

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I heard him on a radio show with a very conservative host: he seemed very nice, english accent, just recently became a US citizen, loves the united states, It seemed to me that he would likely admitt there are other views. He thought Jesus was a myth created by people in the first century. His thoughts though on the church seemed to cause some concern as it doesn't really hit the mark. But I would say if people pointed out the issues he may just change them. How many people on this board when shown some information that questions how right a thought is reasoned will even entertain the thought but try to send it off in another direction.

This doesn't sound at all like the Hitchens that wrote the book we are referring to. You can refer to the excerpts in Slate mentioned above, if you'd like. "Doesn't really hit the mark" is understating his attitude a bit; he's downright nasty about the Church. And I don't get any impression from his writings that he is willing to entertain the fact that he might just be wrong; the errors in his book appear to be so pervasive and blatant as to discount such a possibility.

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This doesn't sound at all like the Hitchens that wrote the book we are referring to. You can refer to the excerpts in Slate mentioned above, if you'd like. "Doesn't really hit the mark" is understating his attitude a bit; he's downright nasty about the Church. And I don't get any impression from his writings that he is willing to entertain the fact that he might just be wrong; the errors in his book appear to be so pervasive and blatant as to discount such a possibility.

I will see if the radio host has his past broadcasts on line and will link it if he does. I'm sure there are youtube thingys where he has spoken. I havn't looked, but I will since his credibility has been brought up.

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If the followers of the prophet Muhammad hoped to put an end to any future "revelations" after the immaculate conception of the Koran, they reckoned without the founder of what is now one of the world's fastest-growing faiths. And they did not foresee (how could they, mammals as they were?) that the prophet of this ridiculous cult would model himself on theirs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsâ??hereafter known as the Mormonsâ??was founded by a gifted opportunist who, despite couching his text in openly plagiarized Christian terms, announced that "I shall be to this generation a new Muhammad" and adopted as his fighting slogan the words, which he thought he had learned from Islam, "Either the Al-Koran or the sword."

Uh-huh. Funny how that alleged slogan, only once attributed to Joseph and only by an accuser, suddenly becomes Joseph's own.

And notice that Hitchens can't even get it right.

That ought to have been all we ever heard of Joseph Smith, who at trial admitted to defrauding citizens by organizing mad gold-digging expeditions and also to claiming to possess dark or "necromantic" powers.

No, he didn't. Hitchens made that up.

So notorious did this local tendency become that the region became known as the "Burned-Over District," in honor of the way in which it had surrendered to one religious craze after another.

Yes, and one of the religious crazes to which it surrendered was atheism.

After many wrestlings, he brought this buried apparatus home with him on September 21, 1827, about eighteen months after his conviction for fraud.

There is no such conviction anywhere on record, but don't expect that to slow Mr. Hitchens down.

The resulting "books" turned out to be a record set down by ancient prophets, beginning with Nephi, son of Lephi

Lephi?

Smith refused to show the golden plates to anybody, claiming that for other eyes to view them would mean death.

He did?

So Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, along with eight other Whitmers and Smiths, were all struck dead on the spot, were they?

Mrs. Harris was having none of this, and was already furious with the fecklessness of her husband. She stole the first hundred and sixteen pages and challenged Smith to reproduce them, as presumablyâ??given his power of revelationâ??he could.

Is such a challenge recorded anywhere? Mr. Hitchens evidently admires treachery and theft. Hardly surprising, really.

it is likewise a simple if tedious task to discover that twenty-five thousand words of the Book of Mormon are taken directly from the Old Testament. These words can mainly be found in the chapters of Isaiah available in Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews: The Ten Tribes of Israel in America.

No, they cannot. In fact the overlap between Isaiah in The Book of Mormon and Isaiah in VoTH falls at the low end of what can be accounted for by random chance.

Every week, at special ceremonies in Mormon temples, the congregations meet and are given a certain quota of names of the departed to "pray in" to their church.

Not in any temple I've ever attended.

I find little ground for Karl's confidence in Mr. Hitchens. The above errors bespeak more than the mere contemptuous negligence consequent upon the bigoted disdain for religion and believers so commonly displayed by those who style themselves "brights." He can only be that spectacularly wrong on purpose.

Regards,

Pahoran

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There is no atheist community. Just a bunch of unbelievers doin' their own thing.

I couldn't have said it better myself. I would never join myself with the American Atheists (or any other organized atheist group.) As such, said groups operate like a religion.

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