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  #1  
Old 08-23-2010, 09:29 PM
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Anyone read Peter Hitchens?

Just finished The Rage Against God: How Atheism led me to Faith. He's the brother of Christopher. Curious as to whether any theists here have read it. My impression is that it is not as powerful as his brother's. His chapter about how God is necessary for morality is very weak in my view. The brothers are similar in that in later life they both became strong nationalists, one English, one American.

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  #2  
Old 08-24-2010, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Just finished The Rage Against God: How Atheism led me to Faith. He's the brother of Christopher. Curious as to whether any theists here have read it. My impression is that it is not as powerful as his brother's. His chapter about how God is necessary for morality is very weak in my view. The brothers are similar in that in later life they both became strong nationalists, one English, one American.
it's a strange logic. i.e. my imaginary idea of god helps make me ... a more moral person? perhaps it's better to focus on the here and now.

i believe peter is some tory/conservative too. there's a whole strange psychology to these folks. they have internalized the authority figures they grew up with, and as they get older, they begin to ape them. much harder to confront one's "teachers", either literally or mentally, and separate from them. it's a lonely path that not all are able? willing? to tread.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tonkovich View Post
i there's a whole strange psychology to these folks. they have internalized the authority figures they grew up with, and as they get older, they begin to ape them. much harder to confront one's "teachers", either literally or mentally, and separate from them. d.
He has a whole chapter on religion as child abuse, criticizing his brother and Dawkins. You would think he would address precisely this issue in the chapter, explaining why religion as the reinforcement of authority in childhood does not undermine free choices in adulthood. He is completely silent on the issue.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by kerry View Post
He has a whole chapter on religion as child abuse, criticizing his brother and Dawkins. You would think he would address precisely this issue in the chapter, explaining why religion as the reinforcement of authority in childhood does not undermine free choices in adulthood. He is completely silent on the issue.
I've heard that argument before. I do think "child abuse" is a little strong for what amounts to a (mostly) harmless fantasy. I do have a problem understanding why some (the majority) of people retain this belief system into adulthood. I have heard arguments that there was an evolutionally advantage to being subservient to childhood authority figures, so people simple invent there own in adulthood. That seems a little simplistic to me, there also seems to be a strong societal/cultural aspect; the need to belong to a group with something in common (i.e., a Granfalloon).
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Craig View Post
I've heard that argument before. I do think "child abuse" is a little strong for what amounts to a (mostly) harmless fantasy. I do have a problem understanding why some (the majority) of people retain this belief system into adulthood. I have heard arguments that there was an evolutionally advantage to being subservient to childhood authority figures, so people simple invent there own in adulthood. That seems a little simplistic to me, there also seems to be a strong societal/cultural aspect; the need to belong to a group with something in common (i.e., a Granfalloon).
I'd say that the need for a strong authoritative God (the kind that Peter Hitchens clearly prefers) evolves once human groups exceed the level of tribes. Once reproductive and genetic bonds are not enough to unite a group, a substitute authority becomes necessary. In other words, God is not just a personal psychological substitute for a father figure,(although it certainly can be that) but a real social alternative for the tribal elder. You can see these in Judaism when 12 different tribes unite under one God, or most obviously in the imperial expansion of Islam.
Peter Hitchens himself seems to reinforce this social explanation of theism, insofar as most of his book is about the decline of Britain and not a philosophical defense of theism at all. He bemoans the loss of the Christian God because his loss has coincided with the decline of British power.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2010, 10:30 AM
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Peters arguments will be weak simply because that's the nature of superstition. There is no rational way to justify it when you attempt to counter reason with the big juubjuub in the sky.

I've not read his stuff, though I might consider it just as an incidental to his brother. Have you seen their debate online? It's probably the only time they will ever bee seen together in public. Both of them, in a way rebel against their youth. In that they both started out as Marxists in response to their upbringing and have both dumped that, the one for british conservatism (going back to his origins) the other for the American Revolution.

- Peter.
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2010, 10:30 AM
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So, he somehow thinks the decline of the "christian god" is responsible for the decline of British power?

Is that some type of a "Manifest Destiny" argument based on the british having a superior religion to the non-christian world (i.e., my god can beat up your god)?
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Craig View Post
So, he somehow thinks the decline of the "christian god" is responsible for the decline of British power?

Is that some type of a "Manifest Destiny" argument based on the british having a superior religion to the non-christian world (i.e., my god can beat up your god)?
I don't think he'd put it that way but there is a connection between the two. I would say he's nostalgic for the British Empire and just about the only place you'll find a remnant of it is inside the walls of a very conservative Anglican church. He does appear to think that Christianity is superior to Islam.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:20 PM
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Very strange; empires, nations, and religions will always come and go. I don't understand why people become attached to them. I just don't get it.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:38 PM
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Very strange; empires, nations, and religions will always come and go. I don't understand why people become attached to them. I just don't get it.
Having attended an Anglican school in England at the same time as Peter Hitchens was, I can understand how such attachments can get deeply imprinted in youth. Couple that with the fact that his father was a officer in the British Navy and the appeal is explained. He has an interesting chapter on war memorials in Britain. I think he correct that apart from Russia, there is no other country with an active war memorial in almost every town.
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  #11  
Old 08-24-2010, 01:07 PM
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Whatever works for him. My grandparents came from elsewhere with a religion I don't practice, and my grandkids will probably live someplace else again. It appears that these "attachments" will be less common in the modern world as time goes on and people become more mobile (at least in the developed world).
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2010, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Just finished The Rage Against God: How Atheism led me to Faith. He's the brother of Christopher. Curious as to whether any theists here have read it. My impression is that it is not as powerful as his brother's. His chapter about how God is necessary for morality is very weak in my view. The brothers are similar in that in later life they both became strong nationalists, one English, one American.
Haven't read it, but I feel compelled to tip my hat nevertheless. I was just discussing with my father how repugnant "debate" has become in this day & age; the talking heads have turned it into an exercise in grade school name-calling. Kudos to you for actually taking the time to read the book even though the assertions inside aren't your bag.

Sorry to digress... carry on!
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:46 PM
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Once again I ask, has anyone actually watched the two of them, Christopher and Peter, debate each other on Youtube? It certainly is interesting to see them jousting against each other.

- Peter.
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2010, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
Once again I ask, has anyone actually watched the two of them, Christopher and Peter, debate each other on Youtube? It certainly is interesting to see them jousting against each other.

- Peter.
I just found it an bookmarked it. I'll watch when I get a little quite time.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:57 PM
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Are you referring to the 14 part YouTube series?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oip8HS2Onw8&feature=search

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