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.
Al Sharpton makes a point. If Hitchens cannot prove that God exists how can he prove that God is bad? Interestingly Hitchens was not supported by Al for beliefe in a innate sense of morality which is a biblical doctrine.
I think, atheists can do a better job than what hitchens is putting up. Atheists rarely put up a REAL argument, not just fart out all their hatred.
Hitchens is just bashing religion, and worshiping his own ego, but still not attacking God directly. Maybe he's afraid and so is leaving something on the side, that if, God is real, he can say I only attacked your followers and not you! LOL
Proof that there is a God: the Holy Bible, the Quran, the Torah, churces, sysnogogues, mosques, 3.8 billion followers of Abrahamic religions.
Call it what you will but the force of God is real. The reason we can speak freely of religion and condemn it is the power of the intellect which surpasses "God". The proof that intellect is more powerful than God is that, whereas God created Niagra Falls, Man can stop it (as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers did in 1969).
Sharpton should actually read Hitchens's book - 'The God Delusion' - he obviously hasn't done his homework - he has an immovable agenda and he hasn't opened his mind - I'm just reading Hitchen's book at the moment, and it's very worthwhile
What I got from this debate is that Mr. Hitchens finds the concept of a sovereign God appalling and naively illogical. He seems to be deeply disgusted by the immorality he percieves in the actions and claims of the religious people. So, he attributes their apparently immoral and religiously mislead deeds to what he believes is an evil idealogy. In other words: he hates religion because of his belief that it is a major force behind the inhumanity and moral corruption of this world. His perspective interests me; I've never seen the atheist's argument from that standpoint before... Sadly though -- and this is merely my viewpoint as a Christian (I cannot speak for those of any other belief) -- it seems to me that his idea of God is very different from what God is really like (or the way I believe God is portrayed in the Bible).
Hitchens described God as some all-powerful, invisible being that watches us when we sleep, scrutinizes us every moment to see if we do anything bad, and condems us when we do. With that kind of an idea about God, it is no wonder to me why he believes deism is merely a way to oppress people into submissively handing over their wallets and obeying the perverse demands of some tyrant disguised as a "representative of the divine". In some ways, Hitchens is right; deism has been used in that despicable way over the ages, especially with Christianity. What he does not suspect, however, is that perhaps those people were less Christian than they claimed to be... No, I believe Mr. Hitchens is mistaken when he reads the Bible and sees God as some big meany intent on robbing people of joy and freedom, or as some being that persists in mutilating the human body out of disgust for its flawed design. According to the very scriptures he uses to debate the morality of God and derive the idea that deism is harmful to society, God is not actually full of hatred and condemning desires but rather love and the persistent grace to offer a salvation that humans can neither deserve nor attain on their own, even more so a salvation for which many believe they have no need. That's not a God of oppression folks, that's a God of liberation, mercy, and a genuine desire to give life in its full instead of making it worse or simply letting people die.
As for the intellectual grounds on which Hutchins argues the non-existence of God, there is no evidence for God, yet their is none disproving His existence, a fact of the matter which both atheists and deists/theists have excepted after many years of debate. Personally -- and this may simply be more naive illogical thinking -- I have no problem believing in an infinite and mysterious God that I cannot fully comprehend in my contained and finite state of being. Really, I would be more cautious of the adult who says they can understand God than of the child who realizes they cannot. Again, this is just my opinion, but of the two sides in this never-ending debate, both have equally serious arguments which demand the entire energy of mind and faith. One says, "I believe, therefore I have been shown." The other says, "I do not see, therefore I do not believe." A very worth-while video...
I bet Hitchens rubbed his hands in glee when he was given the chance to debate Sharpton. The Rev Al is clearly out of his depth in this debate, so for the most part are most people who argue for the creationist side. An easy slaughter.
Like him or hate him, Christopher Hitchens is well educated, articulate and thorough. He does not lower himself to cheap personal attacks that are so often leveled against him.
To debate a guy like Hitchens, you better know your "stuff". However it is evident that "creationist stuff" has no basis. It is of man made fables that have been passed down through the centuries by those who want to maintain control over the masses. Keep them scared, make false promises, and keep the bucks rolling in, sums up all religions, everywhere, period.
Al Sharpton, Had incredibly weak points with equally weak analogies.
He was later caught in his act of dodging the justification of the Bible by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and gave a poor justification for this.
I think his 'real' reason was that his arguments in favour of the Bible he knew could not withstand the scrutiny of Christopher Hitchens.