Updated: Jan. 14, 2012; added full debate
with Chris Hedges
Dec. 16, 2011
Though he gives credit to Christopher Hitchens’ exceptional talent, Chris Hedges remembers the newly departed writer differently from the way others might in this clip from CBC Radio. In an unflinching appraisal, Hedges recalls what Hitchens got wrong about religion, his biggest intellectual failing and what it was like to engage him in a debate.
Click here to listen to Friday’s interview on CBC and take a look at the debate Hedges talks about in the YouTube video below.
KPFAradio on Jun 6, 2007
In the first of a series of KPFA debates, Christopher Hitchens, author of “God is Not Great”, and Chris Hedges, author of “American Fascists” debate the world’s most divisive issue – religion, moderated by KPFA’s Sasha Lilley. (This is a higher quality version of our original upload of this clip.)
Christopher Hitchens & Chris Hedges Debate Moderated by Sasha Lilley (clip)
Copyright © 2011 Truthdig
Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.
[DS added the videos.]
Christopher Hitchens Vs. Chris Hedges on Religion
TheStevenBlue on Aug 20, 2011
This debate between author and commentator Christopher Hitchens and journalist Chris Hedges focuses on religion, and was entitled “Is God Great?” It took place in Berkeley, California on May 24, 2007.
Christopher Hitchens Vs. Chris Hedges FULL plus FISH
ChristopherHitchslap on Jan 6, 2012
THE FISH ARE JUST EYE CANDY!! The debate is audio only so I figured you can watch the fish.
From the archives:
Hitchens vs. Hitchens – Christopher and Peter Hitchens Debate (2008)
Christopher Hitchens, Once Vidal’s Dauphin, Now Cosmic Stardust! by Sean Fenley
Is God great? Christopher Hitchens vs John Lennox Debate (2009)
Christopher Hitchens and David Berlinski Debate on Atheism, God and Religion (2010)
When Atheism Becomes Religion: Americas New Fundamentalists (Chris Hedges) + Hitchens on Thom Hartmann
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AH — i would appreciate it for sake of a civilized dialogue that you would not put words in my mouth . you say that i suggested that he is likely to boil in brimstone . i said no such thing . that is pre-judging on your part toward me . i judge no man . i have no idea where Hitch is now . but i know that he does now know that God is indeed great. that is a faith statement . i hear all of these people saying that they think Hitchens is in hell . how do they know ? no one knows . what we that posses faith do know is that at the hour of ones death they come to realize that there really is a God after all. actually , in Hitchens case , i think he knew it all along and like his brother peter fought God tooth and nail , except peter realized in 1997 how unfair and unreasonable it was to fight a loving God and got converted.
i am a huge fan of the ENTIRE body of christopher hitchens work . i wrote an article for this blog some time ago called ”The importance of christopher hitchens ”. it was picked up by another blog . the man is one of my heroes of dissent even if i disagreed with him on some things.
But to be of faith is to Know, no?
If you know he now Knows God, you know God has a place for career Heretical heathens like Hitchens. To not Know is to be Agnostic.
Hitchens spent his best years damning Monotheism with unmatched eloquence & wit. If he had a secret devotion it never appeared in life, therefore by definition he was doomed.
If he was redeemed as a Devil’s Advocate as you imply, strengthening faith by ‘keeping you on your toes’, would not there be evidence of his good works in his faithful followers finding Jesus?
Can you truly find acceptance & admiration of one who so skeptically & successfully questions & disparages the Christian Faith or would it not be your duty to banish unrepentant nonbelievers & encourage others to do the same.
AH — you are raising some very good questions . from the faith perspective , when i say now he knows , it is in regard to the fact that he is aware that life goes on after the grave ..even something that him and atheist sam harris debated. Add to that , also from the faith perspective , that Hitch is face to face with his maker.
i dont see a redemption based on him being the devils advocate , but rather on what some of the church fathers like Origen taught which is called ”trinitarian universalism ”. in common language , it means that after all is said and done ALL will be saved one way or another thru the great love and mercy of God . Origen includes Satan and his fallen ones with that . that is why Origen never got canonized.
Now i am not an Origenist per se , though i like his neo platonic thought in general , i still think that it is very possible that after death one might ( notice i said the word ”might ” ) have a second chance when face to face with Christ . St. Paul talks about this in his letter to the Corinthians as ”being saved as thru fire ”. this is the theological foundation of purgatory that was later developed in the middle ages , and found in intertestemental texts as praying for the dead. is the fire literal or just a purging of the heart ? who knows.
the main thing is that Hitch really knows . that does not mean he is condemned … after all , scanning the body of his work he has changed his mind many times. i am sure that if he is face to face with Christ it would change his mind . but then again i am biased , for i have experienced that great love on this side of the grave . i cant even imagine what it is like in full dosage on the other .
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Notwithstanding his support for the Iraq War, Hitchens will be sorely missed. Maher would remind Hedges that Fascism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. are also forms of State Religion.
Interesting that Hedges finds in Abrahamic constructs the tradition of individual responsibility in western society, but it’s pathetic that it would take the invention of Heaven & Hell to mandate morality.
But as the literalistic interpretation of a biblical afterlife are understood to be inventions, & like much of scripture considered pre-scientific allegory, so the notion of good & evil as opposites has been rendered obsolete by investigation of evolutionary psychology.
Faith may yet have importance as Hedges maintains, but monotheistic literalism is clearly absurd in the contemporary context, and proven generally dangerous to society & morality if literalistically applied, as both these brilliant men eloquently affirm.
But both men, obsessed as they are with the vast impact of monotheism, avoid the treasures in the pantheon of the many powerful animist tribal concepts which concern not the afterlife but the Here & Now, respect for the natural world, & a non-patriarchal society which Monotheistic Dominionism makes a mission of abolishing across the globe.
(ps, seems part 4 repeats some of part 1, fyi)
Ah — well .. now we are talking ..or are we? have you read Freud’s ”Moses and Monotheism” lately ? Freud viewed it as a major leap forward in man’s evolutionary mindset. Hitch punted the issue on Freud.
does evolutionary psychology render obsolete the good and evil polemic ? that is if one believes in the biological imperative that Nietzsche so stressed. if so then one ends up with a truncated non theological form of predestination Calvinism in the form of the work of B.F.Skinner. so whatever happened to freewill and and volition . this is the struggle that the New Atheist movement is dealing with that an Atheist like Camus understood better than anyone .
Peter Hitchens addresses this very well in his work on the universal conscience and the idea of ”true north” . one is lost at sea without a true north set on the compass. Since most things in major thinking in western civ. comes back to that cantankerous genius St. Augustine …his theory of universal conscience is being re-examined in all areas of epistemology in the 21st century .
If one believes evolution, then morality arose as an adaptation per survival, not a polemic nor moral dispute. It could be that good is not the opposite of evil, rather adaptations arising at disparate points between eons & residing in remote structures of brain.
Brain science will likely clarify behavioral impulses which have dogged theologians & philosophers whose tools are crude compared to genomics, neurotransmitters & brain structures.
Add in the Brave New World of neurotransmitters & neuroscience of neurosis, psychosis, personality disorder, addiction, etc, & we’ve rendered Freud, Nietschze, Skinner & AA somewhat obsolete.
AH — even if one were to disregard the 19th century thinkers as obsolete , one still has to face the Eccles/Crick mind body debate as laid out in john searles work . which comes down to ”is the self located in or outside the brain ?” Eccles , when he won his Nobel for the most important brain scientist in the late 90’s threw down the gauntlet by stating that the self could not be found in the brain . Eccles confirmed the Kantian outside observer of the self , and threw Crick and company into shock . so , Crick set out to prove that the self is only an expression of firing synapsis and neurons , only to come up empty handed , for there was no a postiori evidence to counter Eccles , and Crick and the boys fell in reductio ad absurdum …leaving everything at a Mexican standoff.
Solipsistic conundrum indeed. Seems everyone’s weighed in on maddening metaphysics of mind from Samsara to Socrates, schopenhauer, et. al. There was a good one by Merleau-Ponty, Primacy of Perception, way too many books to bear for moi.
Certainly a master planner simplifies matters, my old friend the M. Phil. ended up a Kabbalist mystic.
But as quantum physics utterly upended our concept of classical perceptions, so epistemiology is now redefined by morphology of mind. And yet, while Science banishes beliefs for hypothesis & peer-reviewed proofs, beware its blinders! There may indeed be more than meets the microscope, seems the more we learn the less we know…
Stay tuned, it’s a fascinating time for brain science.
Ah –on the contrary (but not totally contrary ) my fine cerebral friend . just when some though it was safe to get somewhat comfortable in the so called banishment of the Ancients , up pops Quantum Theology . ”what? ”you say …
it goes beyond even Teliard de Chardin in its merging of faith and science…who by the way was way ahead of his time .
And every time some one brings up Occams razor to refute Medieval and Ancient thought , i have to remind them that William of Occam was a devout Franciscan .
and if that isn’t enough.. here is one out of left field –the Dalia Lama’s book ”The universe in a single atom” ..on the science/Buddhist dialogue where cenobetic Tibetan hermits are scanned under EEG’s . whew ! yes , this is a strange time for brain science indeed.
I once got chewed out calling into a radio show with an old-school physicist about the ‘giant clock’ model of existence, seems Niels Bohr’s Uncertainty Principle negates pure Determinism at the subatomic level.
So until further notice, we can take it all with a grain of salt & figure we have some leeway to actively filter thought through our neurochemical structures, limited by their functionality & specialization (the Primacy of Perception). Otherwise existence would be just a mean trick.
(Until Stephen Hawking comes up with a ‘God Particle’ Boson to explain whether our longing is freewill or preordained, stand by…)
The world has lost a great thinker Christopher Hitchens, author of “God is Not Great”.
It is absolutely amazing what humans for so many years have believed.
As for me, it is nonsense. I prefer high and elevating principles and truth.
A free thinker does not need a god or many gods. These thinkers seek principles and honorable behavior. No talk about whether the female or male is sterile.
For amazing reading, read the Miraculous Births that have been believed around the world for centuries, millenniums to date. Multi gods to mono god and back again to multi gods side by side with mono god beliefs. And we all know the facts: The multi god believers think their man conceived beliefs hold the truth where as the mono god believers also believe their human conceived mono god. It really is amazing.
Praise all moral principles from whence
Goodness, Kindness, and Love flows.
Sincerely, Georgianne E. Matthews
G – as a fan of Hitchens work since the 1980s , we did a lose a good devils advocate. Having read the entire body of his work and seen him speak many times , it will be a great loss. it kept those of us who are thinking Christians on our toes.
But let us look at the word –Freethinker. We know historically that the movement came out of the age of Enlightenment . ..another tricky word. just how enlightened are so called free thinkers ? are they really thinking for themselves , or are they what Oscar Wilde said of them ,”all a combination of other peoples thoughts and ideas”. And what about Noam Chomsky ‘s ”Manufacturing consent” , and Daniel Bells’ work on how todays so called freethinkers are really ”trapped in the prison of the present ”?
it is incumbent on all critical thinkers to question the Freethinker movement from the 18th century until now . Questions are begged –what are moral principles that come about by goodness , kindness , and love . ”What is truth ”? asked a jesting Pilate who would not stay for an answer. like Pilate many neofreethinkers really are not as free as they think they are. For gazing into the face of truth like Pilate did , they wont stay for an answer either. But it matters not . for unfortunately for us Hitchens is dead , but let us have no illusions Hitch is face to face with the source of all high and elevated truth that does beyond eternal verities ot truism … and NOW HITCHENS KNOWS that God is indeed great , because God is all merciful , even to a devils advocate like Hitchens .
Protested Too Much, Doth He?
Indeed Believers were waiting in vain for his redemption in his final breath (Or per the Times obit commentary convinced Christopher Hitchen’s getting terminal throat cancer was God’s revenge for him using his voice to blaspheme).
Likely he’s destined to boil in Brimstone as you suggest, along with brilliant fellow byproducts of cloth, clergy & Mother Superior’s steel rule; Mr. George http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo Carlin, Bill http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT66cPfhJ-8 Hicks, Bill http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FG6iNe_3rs Maher, & the rest of the Godless heretics who have us thanking the Heavens for humorous Heathens.
When were feeling weak & tempted to question the Word, we can simply listen to this version of the Commandments by a brilliant Sinner, and we’re led back to the Path.
To his credit, Hitchens was indeed articulate in spelling out his own blasphemy, heresy & inevitable demise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ORn-wmhliU&feature=related
I’m sorry but some of your links didn’t work so I removed the coding and put in the correct urls for them.
Full debate: https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/hitchens-vs-hitchens-christopher-and-peter-hitchens-debate-2008/
Here are the working links for the Hilarious Heathens, Catholics all:
Hitchens himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ORn-wmhliU&feature=related
So Does the Devil’s Advocate really still go to Heaven for testing our faith? Hmmm…