Christopher Hitchens is the author of the latest atheist salvo called “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.” I have not read it, so I am certainly not qualified to comment on it. All I can say is that Christians seem to be saying that it is of a much higher quality than Richard Dawkin’s “The God Delusion,” which was the last popular atheist manifesto.
In the article I’m linking to, Christopher Hitchens’ brother Peter, who is a Christian, talks about and criticizes his brother’s views. It’s a pretty long article, but worth reading if you, like me, are following the atheism vs. religion public debates. Here is a poignant excerpt:
In the harsher parts of our great cities, strong, violent people rule their neighbours with pre-medieval savagery, demonstrating a fine understanding of what it means if there is no God: that if something works for you, and you can get away with it, then you may do it without fear of consequence in this world – and there is no next world.
That is practical atheism. Those who follow it probably cannot even spell it. Comfortable, suburban unbelievers hate to have this pointed out to them.
They would never behave like that, surrounded as they are by the invisible web of ten centuries of Christian law and morality, which still protects the nicer parts of our country.
But it is the application of what they preach, the worship of self and power.
Faith and belief can be and often are restraints on this arrogance of power. They offer the possibility of justice where human society fails to provide it – as it almost always does fail.