Just a Little Common Sense

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Posts Tagged ‘God Is Not Great

A Humanist Manifesto

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I just browsed through Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great, intending to look something up for a discussion I’ve recently had with a friend. A paragraph from the first chapter cought my eye, and once again I wasn’t able to put the book down until over an hour later. I really admire Hitchens’ command of the english language; there are few writers so effortlessly eloquent.
There is only one thing to criticize: His misleading use of the word ‘atheist’. Theism is usually defined as the belief in a single God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. All that is necessary in order to qualify as an atheist, is not to believe in that. Even if one defines atheism as the positive doctrine that there is no god (there is some controversy about wether atheism describes a lack of belief in existence, or the assertion of the nonexistence of god), the values that Hitchens names are absolutely optional. Atheism is one belief, not a belief system. That is also why ‘atheism’ is written with a lower-case ‘a’, while ‘Theism’ is written with a capital ‘T’. What Hitchens laudates here are essentially the values of Secular Humanism, and are far beyond simple non-belief. Anyhow, it is a beautiful and moving piece of writing, so enjoy: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

May 18, 2010 at 21:15

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