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Posts Tagged ‘harris

The God-shaped Hole: Whither Theology?

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I recently came across the following exchange between the late Christopher Hitchens, renowned atheist and author of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, and Unitarian minister Marilyn Sewell:

Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

Hitchens: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian. [Emphasis added]

“The Hitchens Transcript.” Portland Monthly. January 2010.  

I have enormous respect for Hitchens and his extraordinary eloquence, intellectual integrity, and encyclopedic knowledge of history, literature, and art. His position is one of the New Atheist talking points, shared by his colleagues among the “Four Horsemen” — Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris — which argues that religion loses all meaning when it’s released from its supernatural and superstitious moorings.

This is one point — perhaps the only point — on which fundamentalists and the New Atheists wholeheartedly agree.

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