A Debate: God Is Not Great with Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens.
Taking on possibly the greatest issue of our time - the malignant force of religion in the world - Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion through a close and learned reading of the major religious texts, citing numerous historical instances in which sexual repression and outrageous acts of violence have been committed in the name of God. He argues for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.
Join The New York Public Library as the Reverand Al Sharpton and author Christopher Hitchens debate faith, religion and God.
Christopher Hitchens is an author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in 2008.
Reverend Al Sharpton
Reverend Al Sharpton is one of the nation's most-renowned civil rights leaders and the founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization based in Harlem, New York. Rev. Sharpton’s strong commitment to equality and progressive politics has had an irrefutable impact on national politics, as evidenced by his noteworthy presidential run as a U.S. Democratic candidate in 2004 and his compelling speech at the Democratic National Convention. Throughout his career he has challenged the American political establishment to include all people in the dialogue regardless of race, gender, class or beliefs. He is a nationally-syndicated radio host, T.V. personality, and columnist. He has three popular radio shows broadcast throughout the country, a regular television show featured on TV One, and a column that appears in national newspapers across the country. Rev. Sharpton says his religious convictions are the basis for his life and he preaches throughout the country most Sundays.
Relation of human beings to God or the gods or to whatever they consider sacred or, in some cases, merely supernatural. Archaeological evidence suggests that religious beliefs have existed since the first human communities. They are generally shared by a community, and they express the communal culture and values through myth, doctrine, and ritual. Worship is probably the most basic element of religion, but moral conduct, right belief, and participation in religious institutions also constitute elements of the religious life. Religions attempt to answer basic questions intrinsic to the human condition (Why do we suffer? Why is there evil in the world? What happens to us when we die?) through the relationship to the sacred or supernatural or (e.g., in the case of Buddhism) through perception of the true nature of reality. Broadly speaking, some religions (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are outwardly focused, and others (e.g., Jainism, Buddhism) are inwardly focused.
Surprising performance by Sharpton - he didn't get bogged down by dogma. I believe Hitchens thought Sharpton would be a bit more conventionally dogmatic. I winced a bit when Hitchens mentioned a "bullet to the throat"..........coincidentally that was where he got his cancer.
Sami, you're misinformed( or, somewhat more likely, you've 'misassumed'). There is no assertion that in order to be an atheist that you have to believe that there is no god. The definition of 'Atheism' is 'A lack of belief in the existence of God or gods'
One can think there might be a god and be an atheist and one can think there might not be a god and be a deist. Though both fall into the realm of 'agnostic' there is actually a line between atheistic agnosticism and deistic agnosticism... though that's not to say that you have to be on one side or the other of the line. Some people really don't care if there's a god or not, and most people of both sides would call them atheist. There is not a positive belief in god for them, even though the source of this 'lack of belief' might simply be that they haven't really thought about it, or that they think that 'either way things will turn out basically the same.'
I agree with your statement completely, that he was correct in the distinction between god and religion.. I don't think so that they will start attacking each other personally..
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the debate itself was intended to be about christophers book, which al sharpton was unsuccessful in attempting to direct to that initial topic. he was correct in the distinction between god and religion, which i also believe to be completely separate topics if a constructive argument is to be made. if i understand your comment correctly, you were anticipating (and maybe hoping for) more confrontation between the debaters themeselves, rather than focusing on the debate itself. i for one am glad they were able to maintain their composure, as it likely helped them think more constructively during the entire process. if they started attacking eachother personally, emotional responses would have likely prevailed, and resulted in a far less intelligent debate in the end. if i want a so called debate to erupt in verbal abuse and personal attacks, i'll watch jerry springer thank you very much.
It sounds to me like either Sharpton was not listening the many, many times Hitchens answered his question or it was the only one he brought with him. Perhaps after being coached prior to the debate by someone he considers wise, he just had no where to go and kept asking his same question as if it were Hitchens who was unclear. Indeed Sharpton must not even have read the book's title, "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything I agree with basementjaxx, yes Hitchens did have a lot of restraint, but I'm wondering why: out of what pity? humility? sadness?