Aggregating Skeptical Thought

What I would have answered

Christopher Hitchens gives another great talk. This time @Google, see it here at YouTube.

When you get to about the 37:10 mark he is asked a question where someone questions the accuracy of some of his observations, specifically (here’s the leadup and the question, this is not an exact quote but it’s pretty close),

“You say that religion feeds into an innate human nature for being told what to do or not having as much freedom. Well, in the United States you have one of the most freedom loving countries in the world… yet you have one of the most arguably religious nations in the world. How do you explain this contradiction?”

Hitchens goes on to answer in his own rather rambling manner however he never gives the answer I was hoping he would make. I think the best answer to that question would have been,

“There really is no contradiction in fact I think you can see that your statement actually goes towards proving my point about religion. Our country was founded as a secular government with separation of church and statement and specific prohibitions against the establishment of religion as some of its founding principles. [insert pithy remark about “sounds to me like the founding fathers were afraid of religion”]. Anyway, look at today and you say that we are one of the most religious nations and yet we now have some of the most egregious assaults by our current very religious administration and the erosion of some of those very basic freedoms. You could argue this is only coincidental however I think any reasonable person would fit the two trends together. In fact, this is why I think you are seeing a certain resurgence in atheism today.[insert joke about what would the constitution have looked like if Jerry Falwell were one of the founding members]”

Anyway that concludes today’s “What I would have answered”

Also at about the 48:00 minute mark he is asked the question that I frequently hear and that is. How can you say atheism is better than religion when the Stalinist regime did many of the same things in the name of atheism. I think he answered it well.  

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