Thoughts On The Passing of Christopher Hitchens

I just wanted to share an incredible post by Justin McRoberts written on his blog. Check out the full post, here. I promise it’s worth the time spent reading.

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“The order to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ is too extreme and too strenuous to be obeyed.”

This is one of the lines from Christopher Hitchens’ book “God Is Not Great.”  It’s not a small thought or some quippy, dismissive jab; Hitchens sincerely believed that the strain of christian moralism hurt people mentally and emotionally… and I agree with him.  For this reason and many others, I’m deeply thankful for the work of Christopher Hitchens.

Reading Hitchens exposed for me the difference between playing a game against the practice squad in practice drills vs actually getting hit in the mouth by an opposing team; I had to mean what I said and know what I meant when I made crazy religious claims like “prayer works,” or that I was “born again” or even that “God is good.”  His work forced me to face my religious claims and practices from outside my tradition and honestly, critically evaluate what it is I believe wholeheartedly vs what I only claim to believe.  In doing so, he performed a service that very few within my tradition either can or will perform; to sincerely challenge the roots of faith without the safety net of cherishing that faith.

His challenge that religion does not make people more “moral” led me to see the difference between learning to live well and learning to “be good.” I recognized that I do not believe that religion makes people moral and furthermore that it should not be the goal of religion to do so.

… finish the post here.

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