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Christopher Hitchens has mellowed, but his idea of Christianity is still grossly distorted

He suspects the scientist who pioneered his cancer treatment is praying for him, and doesn’t mind

By on Monday, 28 March 2011

Dr Francis Collins, who pioneered Hitchens's cancer treatment, is mentioned in the Pope's new book (AP Photo/J Scott Applewhite)

Dr Francis Collins, who pioneered Hitchens's cancer treatment, is mentioned in the Pope's new book (AP Photo/J Scott Applewhite)

If this sounds like a question from the radio programme Round Britain Quiz, I’m sorry. It has just struck me so I will formulate it anyway: what do Pope Benedict, the scientist Francis Collins and Christopher Hitchens have in common? Answer: His Holiness mentions Collins on page 193 of his book Jesus of Nazareth (that’s as far as I’ve got; it’s very dense so I’m having to read it slowly); Collins is the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute; and it is his research which has pioneered the experimental treatment that Hitchens is receiving for his throat cancer. Interestingly, Hitchens, as well as naturally hoping that this treatment will efficiently target the site of his tumour, has become good friends with Collins and has publicly debated religion with him.

The Holy Father, as is generally known, is a Catholic; Francis Collins is an evangelical Christian, and author of The Language of God: A Scientist presents Evidence for Belief; and Hitchens, in case you didn’t know it, is a devout atheist. “Devout” is probably the wrong word but “keen” or “committed” don’t quite convey his evangelical brand of atheism. Some Christians hope that if the experiment, involving Hitchens’s DNA, is effective and he is cured, he will undergo a change of heart. But conversion doesn’t work so straightforwardly; you have to be open to grace at some level and, judging from his public pronouncements, Hitchens has slammed this particular door shut. Yet who am I to judge him? As Carson McCullers once wrote, the heart is a lonely hunter.

What is obvious, though, is that in Hitchens’s case, it is not a question of Christianity having been tried and found wanting: it has simply never been tried – or understood. In an interview with Mick Brown in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph magazine he says he has never yearned for faith, adding: “There isn’t the evidence and I don’t see why anyone would want it to be true. A permanent, invigilated, regulated dictatorship which you are told is for your own good – I can’t think of anything worse.” If that is not the most grotesque distortion of Christianity in short compass, I don’t know what is.

And why does Pope Benedict mention Francis Collins? Because “in the magnificent mathematics of creation, which today we can read in the human genetic code, we recognise the language of God”. It was this “language” that converted Collins himself (although it has not yet converted the scientist Richard Dawkins). The Pope tells us why: “But unfortunately not the whole language. The functional truth about man has been discovered. But the truth about man himself – who he is, where he comes from, what he should do, what is right, what is wrong – this… cannot be read in the same way. Hand in hand with growing knowledge of functional truth there seems to be an increasing blindness towards ‘truth’ itself – towards the question of our real identity and purpose.”

It hardly needs to be pointed out how this applies to Hitchens’s mindset. Still, he has mellowed. He suspects that Collins is praying for him and doesn’t mind, although he thinks it a waste of time. I have blogged before about Hitchens and prayer. He still needs it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BrandyMMiller1975 Brandy Miller

    The blind cannot see, but that does not mean there is nothing to be seen. And, speaking as someone who talks to myself all the time, it can indeed help to focus your mind and gather your thoughts.

  • Jeff

    Well Atheism is only the Belief that there is no god. It can’t be responsible for anythIng else besides the absence of god. On the other hand, many atheists ARE humanists, secularists, and as christians put it, truth seekers. A recent poll showed that Atheist are among the most theologically literate because of the interest and time they put into trying to prove or disprove it’s legitimacy. No, atheism CAN’T tell you how the world began but science SCIENCE can. And if we have learned anything from history it’s that science continually disproved religious explanation from god responsibility of hurricanes, human anatomy, biology, cosmology, physics and physiology. One day science will completely negate god and all humans can really try to argue is it’s supernatural existence. Well, of course you can’t disprove it more than the supernatural existence of Thor or Zeus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BrandyMMiller1975 Brandy Miller

    If prayer fails, it is only because the person praying does not understand how prayer works. Prayer is a conversation with God. It requires both speaking and listening, as does any conversation. If it has failed it is because those who engage in it have failed to do one or the other.

  • Martin

    Out of interest, was your atheism taught to you or is that the opinion you have always held since being a child?

  • Martin

    And if you want to shut up believers in GOD then all you have to do is provide evidence that he doesnt exist.

  • Anonymous

    If it has failed it is more likely to be because it doesn’t work. What evidence is there that prayer has ever achieved anything?

  • Anonymous

    In response to your comment of….

    “….these are the words of a religion in decline….”

    I will just point out that there are approximately 15 million new Catholics joining the Church world wide every year. Not to mention the record numbers joining the Church during this years Rite of Election!

  • Anonymous

    My mother taught me about one of the gods when I was a child, and I was intrigued by the idea but I didn’t know what to make of it. I was also sent to Sunday School, and one day the vicar said that in a few minutes god would come down amongst us. I was excited that I was finally going to see him, but of course nothing happened, so I decided it was not true. Nothing since then has persuaded me to change my mind.

    If you want to know why humans are predisposed to invent gods ask a psychologist, it is now quite well understood. Or read “Religion Explained” by Pascal Boyer.

  • Martin

    So is your atheism based on the disappointment you felt and therefore following atheism a way of explaining your disappointment and justifying the disappointment?

    Is atheism therefore a group of disappointed people explaining the world under a cloud of not meeting with God as they expected?

    Is your veiw of any further evidence that could indicated the existance of God filtered by that disappointment? Could you be disregarding other peoples testimonies as foolish simply because you dont like the idea that they saw him and you didnt?

    Maybe you cant understand how God would show himself to one and not another?

    Is your rejection of him based on his percieved rejection of you?

    I only question this because most atheists i have talked to had to be taught not to believe in God. They normally believed as a Child but then due to disappointment followed the teachings of other disappointed/hut/rejected people and therefore were forced to follow paths that took them further from God to justify their positions.

    I am genuinely interested in your thoughts

  • Memory-of-Forever

    I love you people! who are the ones saying different denominations murder each other? :D have they seen the uprisings in the middle east? yeah, QUICK, SOMEONE BLAME IT ON RELIGION! yeah yeah, I’m sure islam has something to do with it!

  • AJ

    “people who believe in something which has such an enormous effect on the world that they cannot actually demonstrate any of god’s effects!”

    Atheists also have the very same dilemma in which they don’t believe in anything that they cannot actually demonstrate any of NOTHINGNESS effects!

    In fact those who believed in God are more logically tenable that those who don’t. Atheist believed that all physical tangible matters came once in nothingness or some say they are existing eternally/forever eversince no beginning, which go far beyong ANY scientific reasoning and methods they are espousing and these are the reasons why atheism is also a belief system, a religion that requires a lot of faith.

  • AJ

    “There is no God or gods!”

    Atheists also have the very same dilemma in which they don’t believe in anything that they cannot actually demonstrate any of NOTHINGNESS effects!

    In fact those who believed in God are more logically tenable that those who don’t. Atheist believed that all physical tangible matters came once in nothingness or some say they are existing eternally/forever eversince no beginning, which go far beyong ANY scientific reasoning and methods they are espousing and these are very reasons why atheism is also a belief system, a religion that requires a lot of faith….at the end, a contradiction by itself.

  • Anonymous

    And how do you do that? If someone makes an existence claim then all he has to do is simply provide the evidence that convinced him. It is not up to everyone else to disprove every crackpot idea that people come up with.

  • Anonymous

    My atheism is based on several things.

    I have never seen a coherent definition of god – how would I recognise a god if came across one? And the fact that there are so many thousands of gods it is clear that most of them are man-made, so why should I make an exception for one of them? We are all atheists with respect to most gods, some of us just go one god further (Dawkins).

    The god hypothesis explains nothing, and creates more problems than it solves – The universe seems to be exactly how you would expect it to be if there were no gods, with everything governed by natural laws.

    The gods can be explained as a consequence of how the human mind has evolved, with no need to invoke the supernatural, which seems to make more sense to me. People might claim to have seen god, but what is the evidence that they have, and that it is not merely hallucination (which we know to exist) for example?

    The Universe proceeds from simplicity to complexity, not from complexity (god) to the simplicity of the early universe. And it could come into existence without violating any natural law. We know that particles come into existence spontaneously, so why not the universe?

    http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/research/gr/public/qg_qc.html

  • Tony in PA

    I’ll ask every atheist on this thread, ” Why do you care what somebody else believes ? “. In the random, meaningless universe in which you claim we live, why would you choose to assign any value to what a stranger on the internet believes ? I could maybe see some antagonism if you were forced to comply with religious edits that caused you to suffer personally, but that’s certainly not the case in postChristian Britain.

  • cranker

    Milliions more are leaving the church as we speak.

  • cranker

    Martin,
    Your argument from numbers is invalid. Millions and millions of people used to think the world was flat.
    Might I suggest you purchase a book on logic.

  • TimJ

    Steve:

    You say that atheists like to talk about these issues, such as God, because they are interesting. Christians not only like to talk about God and issues and topics related to God, but we also like to put His teachings into practice.

    If the people around me believed that the moon was made of green cheese, I would probably be out looking for a new circle of friends.

  • TimJ

    Jeff:

    We need to approach life’s issues, problems, and questions with both faith and reason. There never has been any contradiction between religion and true science. Science fiction would have us believe that the universe came about through an explosion maybe millions or billion years ago. From this non-intelligent life evolved intelligent life. Reason tells us that non-intelligent life is not able to evolve into intelligent life. If we start with the premise that intelligent life was the cause or the origin of the universe, then we need to acknowledge the exitence of a Power or Spiritual Being greater than the universe.

    The role of the Jewish religion and Christianity is to teach that God created the universe and everything in the universe. The role of science is to discover how the Creator created the universe, and how the Creator has been able to keep order and harmony in the universe for these millions of years.

  • TimJ

    Dunstan:

    Fanaticism is a form of violence to humanity. Violence is contrary to the nature of God. Atheists that make atheism their religion can easily turn to fanaticism to impose their beliefs upon the believers in God. Atheists prove the need for God to help tame their fanatical approach in dealing with people who believe differently than they do. We need both faith and reason. Fanaticism is contrary to reason, and is contrary to faith in God. Atheists that have made atheism their religion have a God-problem.

  • TimJ

    LittleGreenMan:

    This all depends upon your belief system. If you believe that prayer is only about getting something from God, then your belief system will lead you into disappointment and discouragement. For those who believe that prayer is about a communication with God, they can find much comfort and consolation being in communication with God through listening, talking to God, and simply being in His Presence. In a human relationship, if one party sees the relationship as being about getting something from the other person in the relationship, that relationship could easily become self-serving. If in your belief system you believe that friendship has its own rewards without getting material things from the friend, the friendship can be supportive and a rare treasure. If in your belief system you believe that being in a relationship with God can lead you to greater wholeness and fulfillment in life, then you will be willing to take great risks in your relationship with God.

  • http://twitter.com/Luvrte66 Beth Riches

    ‎”Evangelical brand of atheism?” Seriously?

    “Some Christians hope that if the experiment, involving Hitchens’s DNA, is effective and he is cured, he will undergo a change of heart.” Why would he? Why would he think that a cure was anything other than due to science?

    “…it is not a question of Christianity having been tried and found wanting: it has simply never been tried – or understood.” Oh, I think Hitchens understands Christianity quite well.

    The guy quotes the pope. Right. When I’m reading and trying to learn about science, the pope is my go-to guy for that.

    “I have blogged before about Hitchens and prayer. He still needs it.” What compassion. I think he left off the part about how if Hitchens doesn’t repent, he’ll burn in hell.

    What an incredibly foul and self-righteous commentary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.olmsted Mark Olmsted

    There is a third way, you know. One can believe in grace, without crediting God with its provenance. One can believe doubt is what make faith magical, and one can have faith with out having faith in something. One can insist that the existence of God is neither provable nor disprovable, and therefore, in the face of the unknowable, one can have the humility to just live in the not knowing.
    If there is God, I don’t think she needs me to believe in her in order to operate in the universe. However if I am willing to not be certain that there is no God, I will probably be more likely to perceive evidence of what seems to me to be the work of God–for example, the extraordinary complexity of evolution.
    The difference between myself and either devout Catholics and confirmed atheists is that I don’t insist on certainty. “I don’t know” is actually an excellent starting and ending point for just about everything. Why don’t you both admit that neither of you can prove there is or isn’t a God, and stop arguing? Relax. Be in doubt.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Tim,

    I didn’t say that atheists find religious issues interesting. I said I do. I’m not qualified to speak on behalf of anybody else, let alone a large group of people I’ve never met collectively labelled with a word whose meaning is not even universally agreed!

    When I talked about the moon being made from green cheese I really wasn’t trying to be-little or riducule religious belief. Just illustrate how far apart it is from my own world view. I was brought up by non religious parents, I’m not religious myself and most people I know are not religious. I still, to this day, find it fascinating and wonderful that a large proportion of humanity really seriously believes in the existence of a supernatural being who takes a personal interest in human morality. To me, that is just as far fetched as the green cheese thing.

    But I don’t see that as a reason not the be friends with people. Why would you not want to be friends with a green cheeser? They’re not harming anybody and they’re probably quite interesting!

    Regarding morality: In my experience (the only experience I’m qualified to talk about) normal everyday people have morality, compassion and empathy regardless of their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. I have no objection if people want to codify this morality, based on our empathetic and deeply social nature, in the form of religious dogma. I do have a problem if some small sections of that dogma are morally wrong, because, if they are, I’m not permitted to argue against them. (And as you can probably see, I like arguing!)

    Personally I see a lack of religious belief as, among other things, an act of humility and moral courage: humility to realise that we, as a species, are not special or chosen. If we are going to be special it has to be by our actions, not as a birth right. And the courage to realise that we (as a species) own our morality. It is ours and we have to look after it. This is the only life we get and it’s also the only life that everyone else gets, making it all the more important to try to make a difference, for the common good, while we can.

    Cheers.

    Steve

  • Anonymous

    Tim:

    One more thing: I just re-read my original post and, actually, I DID actually imply that I was talking on behalf of all atheists, didn’t I? Sorry for denying it later! But what I meant was that I personally find religious issues interesting and assume (possibly without justification) that other atheisty types do to.

    Glad that’s cleared up.

  • Anonymous

    Your post demonstrates that prayer is all about having an invisible friend to fulfil a psychological need. In fact, the central dogma about Christianity is about sin and forgiveness, with Jesus as the scapegoat – psychological need again, not reason. This “communication with god” is clearly all in the mind, since you have to believe in this telepathy to experience it.

  • Anonymous

    I care about what somebody else believes because I care about the truth, and some religious beliefs are not only wrong but absurd. I also care about other people, and religion does an enormous amount of harm while having absolutely no real benefits.

  • Steve

    “Is atheism therefore a group of disappointed people explaining the world under a cloud of not meeting with God as they expected?”

    “I only question this because most atheists i have talked to had to be taught not to believe in God”

    The vast majority of atheists have never believed in God and would therefore never expect such a meeting. Why would they? Unbelief in anything is the default position of the human mind. Watching a child develop will demonstrate this. It is belief that must be taught and the churches know this. They are desperate to be involved in the education (indoctrination!) of young innocent minds, which is why we have faith schools, Sunday schools, madrasahs, yeshivas, bible classes, etc, etc.

    All religion can easily be explained as mankind’s first attempts to explain the world. This evolved into philosophy and the sound bits of philosophy in turn evolved into science. Science is where most atheists feel at home and, rather than explaining the world under a cloud, it invokes a real sense of wonderment, is progressive and gives us a far truer understanding and appreciation of our place in the universe than is possible through any religious thought.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that somewhere in the universe there is a planet made entirely from Lego bricks. (The little ones, not those big Duplo things.)

    Prove to me that it doesn’t exist or else accept that it does.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Martin,

    I hope you don’t mind if I chip in here with my two-penneth.

    I was not brought up religious so my lack of belief in God is based on the same thing as my lack of belief in the infinite number of other things that I wasn’t brought up to believe in and which I haven’t subsequently seen a reason to believe in: pink unicorns, chocolate planets, teapots in orbit around the sun and all that.

    In my experience, young children tend to believe what they’re told by adults. I don’t know of any example of a young child believing in God without having been told about him first. (Same with Santa).

    I can’t speak for people who were brought up religious and are now atheist, but maybe they’re just dissapointed that they appear to have been told an untruth as children.

  • Martin

    Hi LGM,

    The bible indicates that an Physical encounter with the supernatural (Angel or God) normally produces awe or spontanious worship as you have come in contact with something vastly greater than yourself. It normally leaves the individual totally changed, for better or worse, but never at the point that they were before the encounter. I have only the Bible to go one here as i have never seen an angel or encountered God in an Appear before me way, I have to rely on the witness accounts of trusted people to what actually happens. As to a spiritual encounter then i i can say the effects are simular although it will depend on the person involved. Some people will experience love on a scale that they have never felt before, some closeness, others a view of themsleves as God sees them, (some impressions highlight they are Children of God, others; the sin and rebellion in their lives) each case is different. I may not respond or react to something you would.

    I totally disagree with your second statement (although i am enjoying the conversation), GOD solves all the problems of the universe. It gives us cause for being, the reason of being, why we can see so much order in a universe that would be on its own mathmatically improbable/impossible. Everything we see relates to the whole and it fits. This is exactly what i would expect to see from a created universe.

    For me to believe in the universe under atheism i would have to have a lot greater faith than i have. I would have to accept that the universe was created out of nothing (or be the result of another universe collapsing and sparking this one) but regardless i would have to believe in a first cause that actually didnt have a cause to start with. I would have to accept that everything that was being spontanious created out of nothing, compressed by nothing and then explode in exactly the right order and quantity to produce the seeding of the universe. I would then have to be convinced that molecules ect were capable of smashing into each other to form Class 1 stars ect to produce the Chemical factories of the universe. From all this dead cell activity i would have to accept that life was produced by chance (not that chance has any inherent power or mind) and was so successfull that it took on the appearance of a mind actually guiding events so that we get where we are today. So many mathimatically improbable events coming together at just the right moment.

    I remember reading a while back that on Mars they found 3 massive mountains that were so mathmatically similar in seperation and one took on the appearance of a face from a certain angle. This, it was said had to be the result of terraforming by beings. The amount of emails about this was amasing. It was in their opinion mathmatically improbable to be anything else. I only use this as an example to suggest that what is see before me is incomparable with Mars, and for me, beyond any probability of randomness. It has the hallmarks of a genius who is more qualified in any form of science that you could think of.

    As to people claiming to see God and providing evidence, i will only argue as a convinced Christian. My ultimate example is Jesus, (not that you will be shocked here) and his physical death and resurrection prove it (if indeed you believe the eyewitness accounts). What cements it is that upon believing in Jesus not just as a historical person, but as the Son of God and your saviour, he gives you his Holy Spirit. This is the seal that God gives every Christian which is a garentee of things to come. No one who receives his Spirit can honestly remain the same as what they were before they recieved it. Whilst they will stumble and fall, they should be becoming better people from God’s perspective and in a closer walk with him. What i will point out here is what you are likely to say. I dont see many of those. Well, maybe you are right and i would personnally argue that the greatest cause of atheism today is not atheists, but failed Christians, who worship him with their mouth and then walk out of church, and then deny him by their life styles. That is probably what an unbelieving world truely finds unbelievable.

    Im not convinced on the simplicity to complex arguement, the bible argues rather that we started in a good state and we are actually regressing. We are living shorter lives, we are breaking down family values, we abuse both nature and humans for our own gain, we hate more, we want more, everything is about self and we justify everything we do in order to get it. I dont see that as progress. As for creation, which you are probably refering to, i dont buy Darwinism. That may of course make me a total fanatic or flat earther in your eyes, but there is a lot of evidence for the Biblical account of creation. (Some other christians dont accept this, but then Intelligent design required God as well, so i wont die in a ditch over this one).

    Look forward to chatting again soon

  • Semper Fidelis

    This is beyond parody, only an air-head atheist could present such irrational drivel. What a hypocite Hitchens is though. Accepting the assistance of a Christian. Still, I suppose a death-bed conversion is better than nothing. Atheists will never live this one down. Absolutely priceless.

  • Semper Fidelis

    Wolly gobbledygook. Bad ideas have bad consequences. Atheism in action in the 20th century has given us gulags ; death camps & killing fields ; oh, & Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol-Pot, Caucescu, etc., etc.Psychopathic mass murderers, one & all. It goes with the atheistic territory. By contrast, look around the great universitis of England & Europe, how did they originate ?. I’ll give you a clue. From a religion whose spiritual leader resides in the Vatican. Cue, anti-Catholic rants !. Maybe atheists are right, & there is no first cause, it was all set in motion by magic – yes Paul Daniels made the world !. The world according to atheism !.

  • Semper Fidelis

    To fill in your obvious intellectual deficiency. You should read ” How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilisation “, by Prof. Thomas Woods. The great Catholic scientists are listed there in detail. Mind you, if you’re existing on the juvenalia of Dawkins & co. Prof. Woods may be a tad intellectually advanced for you !. Start on the Beano first, it’s a bit more advanced than Dawkins !.

  • Semper Fidelis

    Unfortunately Steve, there is such a thing as bad/irrational science, it’s not all necessarily rational ; and unfortunately this is what gullible/unthinking atheists have bought into. They just repeat the vacuous mantras of Dawkins & Co. For starters it’s quite bizarre that so many of you are posting such vitriolic/hate filled entries on the Catholic Herald site. The obsession with God/religion is quite extraordinary. As a recovering atheist I know that it indicates an inherent lack of conviction about the inherent credibility of atheism. However, as I stated before, maybe atheists are right & there is no first cause. Paul Daniels set it all in motion by magic !.

  • Semper Fidelis

    Point of fact Dr. Kat. The Associated Press in the US revealed that abuse by Protestant Clergy exceeded that of Catholic clergy ; & both were significantly less than abuse in the wider population. All to be deplored, of course.

  • cranker

    Semper Fidelis,

    I assume that you were in the Marine Corps by your handle. So was I, 1969-1971. Please stop making the rest of the ex-Marines look like dumb asses. We were taught critical thinking in all of our training from combat skills to the requiements of our MOS. Try being a little less arrogant in your ignorance.

  • Semper Fidelis

    For Marine Corps, read knuckle-head in your case. Would’nt be seen dead ( or more likely in their case would ) near such a bunch of trigger happy thugs. Ah, I see the connection with Hitchens & Co. God bless, & dont forget the My Lai massacre !.

  • Pj112939

    you cannot blanket or stereotype atheists in any category. we are free to believe whatever we want. some of us are non believers who don’t know whats out there after death but feel its probably nothing. others believe other things or nothing as well. atheism is not a belief system. i do not believe or have faith. you shouldn’t try to tell me or any other atheist what we believe. stick to your churches, mosques and synagogues if you want to tell others what they do and do not believe. if you’re not an atheist, you don’t know what it means to be atheist. I am not a christian so i wont go around telling christians what they believe or how to be christian. Ignoramus.

  • Pj112939

    you cannot blanket or stereotype atheists in any category. we are free to believe whatever we want. some of us are non believers who don’t know whats out there after death but feel its probably nothing. others believe other things or nothing as well. atheism is not a belief system. i do not believe or have faith. you shouldn’t try to tell me or any other atheist what we believe. stick to your churches, mosques and synagogues if you want to tell others what they do and do not believe. if you’re not an atheist, you don’t know what it means to be atheist. I am not a christian so i wont go around telling christians what they believe or how to be christian. Ignoramus.

  • Pj112939

    this isn’t china. we discuss god and his absurdity and non-existence in the western world. when other groups, christians, muslims, jews try to force their crap onto me or into our schools we have a duty to speak out against them and the non-existence of god. it is this notion that we somehow are struggling or arent true atheists that i find absolutely absurd. how do you presume to tell what another person thinks or believes? you must have one tremendous ego or somehow you have some form of telepathy? oh and thanks for clarifying in your post “a chinese student from china” – you are probably lying about your whole comment. I bet you don’t know any chinese students, nevermind ones from china to boot. another christian liar. this is why we speak out against god and the non-existence of that work of the imagination.

  • Pj112939

    atheism is not responsible for your distorting of history and outright lies. russia and germany were not atheist countries. germany and the third reich were endorsed by the roman catholic church and russia with stalin was a communist state with communism as the state sponsored religion. so the holocaust was endorsed by catholics, 9/11 by muslims, the crusades by catholics, the with trials by catholics, the spanish inquisition by catholics, the genocide in and around africa by muslims and christians, world war 2 japan worshipped the emperor as god, slavery is in the 10 commandments and reaffirmed throughout the bible, torah and quran. religion is a poison to Humanity. how would the world be if we were all Humanitarians instead? I would never put god before humanity.

  • Pj112939

    holy crap tim, seriously man you need to read a science book. start with biological evolution, then maybe the origins and age of our universe and how science is discovering more every day to reveal the true origin of the universe and of us through non-random natural selection. at least watch the discovery channel when they show the how the universe works shows and what not. time to turn off the 700 club and turn on your brain. that message was wholly saddening to read above tim and I feel for you and your ignorance deeply.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Dave,
    Let me remind you what the word “explain” means. It means simplifying something into ideas that we can understand. For example, Darwinian Natural Selection offers an explanation of life – the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators – which is not only has enormous explanatory power, it is so easy to understand that a child can understand it, and it is hard to see how it could not be valid. Even devout Christian biologists accept it. On the other hand, saying godidit is not an explanation for life or the universe at all, because you still do haven’t a clue about the mechanism – you do not understand at all. On top of that you have the problem of who made god, and what exactly this god actually is, so you are even further from understanding. As for god explaining the existence of order, this is a circular argument, because god would presumably be ordered himself. Also, there is nothing mysterious about order – we know how the order of a snow crystal can be created by a natural process – the cooling of humid air – so I see no need to abandon natural processes. If you still think that god is a better explanation then you cannot stop there, you must not only explain why it is better than a naturalistic explanation, you must also put your hypothesis to the test, otherwise you have no reason to believe your hypothesis.

    Regarding, first cause, Quantum physics tells us that particles can come into existence spontaneously, without cause, so why not the Universe? It would not violate any physical law. And why can’t the universe be infinitely old? After all, it seems to extend infinitely forward in time and it seems to be infinite in size, so why can’t it be infinite going backwards in time? Then there would be no need of a creator!

    You talked about the “Face on Mars”. We now have much higher resolution images of it, and they show that the face is merely an illusion. which illustrates that people sometimes see what they want to see. Couldn’t it be the same with visions of the gods?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cydonia_(region_of_Mars)

  • Tony in PA

    Little Green Man, isn’t it absurd to relativise all religions into a single category ? Would Mother Teresa have done what she did if she hadn’t been a Christian ? Why was she a tireless servant of the poor and destitute instead of a suicide bomber ? Do you ever seriously wonder what might have motivated her ?
    As far as the ” enormous amount of harm ” religion does ” while having absolutely no real benefits “, this could certainly be said of atheism. We have several totalitarian communist examples from the ash heap of recent history as examples. We also have decaying, depopulating Western Europe. According to the logic of many atheists, its component societies should be flourishing as never before now that they have been largely divested of their primitive superstitions. Why aren’t they ?

  • Anonymous

    To TimJ: You wrote “The role of science is to discover how the Creator created the universe”. Wouldn’t you love it if scientists could just stick to the role you’ve allotted them? Unfortunately for you, they don’t. The Catholic Church today wants us all to believe that there is no conflict between science and religion. That is its only remaining defence against the rise of science. In Galileo’s day the Church had more power, and the conflict between science and religion was not something it either denied or avoided. At least it has learnt something since then, though it was science that imposed the education.

  • AJ

    Personally I don’t care if you don’t believe in anything anyways, Atheism IS A BELIEF system, yu are just in denial; even if you look at the old DICTIONARY “belief” means: something believed, an opinion or conviction.

    So using the dictionary it is your opinion or conviction that there is no God. Got the drip.Ignoramus.

  • AJ

    Oh Pj by the way I’m a christian but I don’t go around “forcing” people to convert or threaten them with death. It is the FREE WILL and FREE CHOICE without duress or violence of the person who converts to christianity. Get the drip. Ignoramus.

  • Anonymous

    Unlike Christianity and other religions, atheism is not generally presented as either a solution or a medicine. It simply denies that religion is a solution or a medicine. The debunking of fake solutions and medicines cannot by itself achieve what the fakes claim to be capable of achieving, but that is no reason not to debunk them. You can denounce the quack seller of snake-oil without claiming any healing powers of your own, and would be right to do so.

  • AJ

    Pj, read history please. Hitler is a christian by name only because if he was a true follower of Christian virtues he would not have committed the killing-holocaust. (our 7th commadment, “Thou shall not KILL-remember?). By your own logic, then Carl Sagan (the famous atheist astronomer) is also a christian because he was a baptized christian by birth. Does it make him a “true” christian?

    Oh by the way, Stalin was an avowed atheist, also Lenin, Mao, Pol-pot that make the abuses at the crusade war look like little boys fight.

    Atheism is a poison to society!