Last week, I strongly endorsed "What's So Great About Christianity," Dinesh D'Souza's impressive defense of Christianity against the almost-organized assault by such "antitheists" as writer Christopher Hitchens. I heartily reiterate my endorsement.
I have since read portions of Hitchens' new book "God is Not Great" and watched his debate with theologian Alister McGrath. Please indulge me in addressing a few of Hitchens' arguments.
Hitchens unfairly and illogically conflates Christianity with other religions, blaming it not only for the evils committed in its own name but also for those committed by practitioners of other religions.
Hitchens' approach is only fair if you accept the modern pluralistic ruse that all religions are the same, which they aren't since many of their truth claims contradict each other.
Hitchens also blames "religion" for the evils of godless secular systems like Soviet Communism because they had religious attributes, such as dictators to whom the state demanded reverence. By identifying secular regimes as religious, Hitchens goes for a twofer: exempting secularism for the evils of militantly secular states and simultaneously condemning religion for them. While clever, this is enormously convoluted thinking.
Hitchens claims antitheists "distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason." But doesn't it outrage reason to foist on Christianity the burden of explaining away evils committed by other religions or secularism, both of which contradict the exclusive truth claims of Christianity?
Though Christianity should answer for its own evils, antitheists shouldn't be permitted to grossly exaggerate those evils and grossly understate those committed by others. And while Hitchens longs for a "new enlightenment," where reason and science flourish without the poison of religion, he seems to forget the abject mayhem ushered in by the unshackled, licentious secular liberty of the French Jacobins.
Moving on, Hitchens sets up a straw man when he says it's "contemptible" for people to maintain that their religion is good in providing comfort to people -- for example, in times of personal loss -- even if their religion isn't true. I know of no Christians who make this argument. To the contrary, Christianity provides comfort precisely because it is true and allows a personal relationship with an eternal, omnibenevolent God.
Next, Hitchens contends the whole concept of Christ's substitutionary death on the cross is not only "superstition" but also immoral.