Bless His Soul

Atheism is probably the fastest growing segment in the religious groups in America.

This could be because of the growth of technology or it could be the greater concentration of people in cities. Either way, it has many proponents in many walks of life.

Christopher Hitchens was one of those and quite vocal about his proud atheism until his death last week at age 62 of cancer. Many of his critics thought he would “find religion” before the end but he remained in the same mental framework to the end.

One has to commend him for his perseverance.

But, what about his atheism? He summed it all quite humorously in his volume God is Not Great. It is a stinging diatribe against practically all religions in the world, throughout history. Though many scholars can point out the errors in his arguments and his conclusions, I think everyone involved – including the late Mister Hitchens, as well – missed a rather vital point in his argument.

His premise was that God is not great but all he was able to show is that Man is not great, religion is confusing – to say the least – and that many throughout history have gone quite wide of the mark in the name of the Almighty.

What he failed to show in any of it was that God lacks greatness. It is easy to show that Man is flawed – an historically simple no-brainer – or that religion, any religion, is built on falsehoods perpetrated by Man, again, or interpretations that can be shown to be slightly shoddy in construction.

However, none of that reflects on God.

Mister Hitchens seems to have plenty of bile stored up from the interactions he has had during his life with various religious folk but he seemed to have somehow forgotten that they – like himself – were simply people with their own particular hang-pus and outlooks and interpretations for what they see going on around them. We each have our own interpretations of the universe and, though from inside our own head, it may seem like THE correct view, we should always remember that the view from another’s eyes may be completely different.

So Hitchens was able to show that religions built by Man are not great – but what built by Man can possibly stand beside any of the truly awe-inspiring Divine grandeur around us? – and are flawed in fashions typical of humans.

Naturally, critics found it rather easy to rip apart Hitchens arguments. One not familiar with the scholarly debates going on in religious circles would not understand the finer points. What Hitchens considered a slam-dunk was more of a rim shot that fell outside the net.

But he at least did it with a lot of humor.

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