Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Relgious belief: poison or cure?

The atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian Alister McGrath square off in this debate on whether religion is good for society. I'm not a great fan of Christopher Hitchens: his belief that we should destroy our enemies, as well as his views on the Iraq war, is quite bewildering, but he definitely seems to dominate this debate.

If you don't have the time to watch the entire debate now, you can download it here. It's about 255Mb in size, so if you don't have adequate bandwidth (like me), then you can download an MP3 version here.


Drew said...

So what if it occurred that Christ dies as a result of the oppressive religious and political environment of which he was clearly a critic and a protester and it so happened that he redeemed it with a resurrection - scientific veracity of a resurrection notwithstanding?

I think Hitchens is right with his particular argument against the result of the substitutionary/judicial atonement and this view of the atonement is something that does not escape theological criticism from within Christianity.

McGrath does not seem to attack the claims of Hitchens right on which he does do quite well against Dawkins in his writing.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Kevin,

I agree with you on McGrath. He seems bit docile in view of Hitchen's rhetorical polemics. This is the contrast when we put an academic together with a non-academic.

For one to appreciate the exchange of rhetorical polemics, one should encounter D'Souza's debate with Hitchens.

Kevin Parry said...

Hi sze zeng

I listened to the D'Souza vs Hitchens debate, and I agree with you: D'Souza is much a better opponent than McGrath in terms of polemics. He definitely gave Hitchens a run for his money.

I think that McGrath is better suited for the written word rather than the spoken debate.

Sze Zeng said...

Glad you enjoy it. You might watch D'Souza debates Daniel Dennette, if you have not:,1942,Daniel-Dennett-Debates-Dinesh-DSouza,Tufts-University

As interesting.