Via Media

Via Media


In case you didn’t catch it..

posted by awelborn

Christopher Hitchens, Ramesh Ponnuru and Peter Robinson were trading volleys all day at The Corner. I’m too tired to comment, but oh, Hitchens:

It applies, in other words, to those who have never heard of Catholicism. I am not sufficiently fortunate to be of that number: ergo there is at least in this case nothing invincible about me.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(30)
post a comment
Mark Shea

posted August 4, 2005 at 12:10 am


The man’s a walking demonstration of the fact that sin makes you stupid. He says the most idiotic things whenever God makes an appearance in the conversation.



report abuse
 

Jeff

posted August 4, 2005 at 12:41 am


Ah, but he’s also a great rhetorician and the most magnificent debater of our time. I have never seen anyone so fearless and on top of things in a room full of hecklers. Watch him tame or turn an unruly crowd; there are lots of examples on video available on the web; you won’t see the like from anyone else and it’s absolutely thrilling. If only, if only we had a politician or two that could do this kind of thing. He’s often absurd about religion and can’t admit to having been substantively wrong about any of his past causes or friends, but when he’s right and he’s on your side, it’s a glorious thing.
Poor Christopher, say I. Pray for him



report abuse
 

reluctant penitent

posted August 4, 2005 at 2:31 am


It’s like a scene from the Exorcist, except the demon is far less clever and Hitchens is producing a lot more green pea soup.



report abuse
 

Truth seeker

posted August 4, 2005 at 3:04 am

Truth seeker

posted August 4, 2005 at 3:05 am

Momma K

posted August 4, 2005 at 6:07 am


Hitchens is brilliant until faith is introducted into the conversation, then he transforms into a mass of screaming contradictions. Something is there blocking him.
Faith is a gift, pray for him.



report abuse
 

Jeremy Rich

posted August 4, 2005 at 6:10 am


I’m left wondering if Hitchens hangs on so tightly to his dislike of Catholicism (and religion in general) because only his thoroughly secular view still qualifies him as “radical”. He reminds me at times of an old-fashioned French anti-clerical type at times fuming about priestcraft.



report abuse
 

Plato's Stepchild

posted August 4, 2005 at 6:20 am


Christopher Hitchens uncovers American Gunpowder Plot

To the extent that this gibberish can be decoded at all, it is in flat contradiction to the Declaration of Independence, which is unique precisely because it locates the just powers of government in the consent of the governed, and



report abuse
 

Plato's Stepchild

posted August 4, 2005 at 6:22 am


I too think the Hitch is a formidable debater and future convert. It was, however, quite amusing to catch him napping on his references to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Vae victis.



report abuse
 

Cheryl

posted August 4, 2005 at 7:36 am


In the other thread someone said they thought Hitchens doth protest too much. I think they’re right.
I once read an article by him (Vanity Fair, maybe?) in which he really seemed to grasp the heart of the matter on the issue of abortion. I was impressed with his intellectual honesty on that one, hopefully one day he’ll be able to extend it even further to matters of faith.



report abuse
 

Kurt

posted August 4, 2005 at 8:15 am


I thought I read somewhere that Hitchens goes ballistic on the subject of religion (esp. Catholicism) because one of his parents was abused in some way by a priest. Am I totally off track? Could someone clarify this?



report abuse
 

Julia

posted August 4, 2005 at 8:31 am


I’m so sleepy because I was up until 3 AM finishing John Allen’s “The Rise of Benedict XVI”. I knew most of the stuff in the first 2/3 of the book, but was just blown away by the last 1/3. John evidently put his all into an incredibly fair analysis of B16 as a person and indications about where he is going to take the church.
If you have it, check out pg. 158 where we learn that “Ratzinger on many occasions has accepted invitations to dialogue with intellectuals of other faiths and of none, often in very public settings, and has always come off as open, willing to concede points when they were well articulated and cogent, and never defensive or arrogant.”
Then John goes on to describe 2 such events. One with “Italian lay thinker Ernesto Galli della Loggia, a conservative non-believer at Rome’s Palazzo Colona.” The other “took place in a jam-packed Roman theater in 2000, when Ratzinger agreed to an exchange with Italian philosopher Paolo Flores d’Arcais, a self-described atheist.”
At the first encounter, the audience roundly applauded B16’s “stamina and openness, and most scored him the winner of the exchange.” At the other, the crowd was “gradually won over by his charm, quick wit, and willingness to listen to the other party.”
May I suggest THE PERFECT DEBATE ???? Benedict and Hitchens – wouldn’t that be something to see? What would be the outcome – not just on points, but what effect on Hitchens and the audience?
JPII liked hanging out with Bob Dylan, break dancers and Bono. Maybe for his schtick vis a vis the modern world, B16 could publicly have civilized exchanges with prominent exemplars of Europe’s secularized society.
I’m sure it would get lots and lots of media coverage.



report abuse
 

Julia

posted August 4, 2005 at 8:36 am


Couldn’t resist sharing this example of how B16 defused an atheist opponant.
“When Flores drew cheers for suggesting that sometimes nonbelievers have done a better job of living gospel values than believers, Ratzinger said: ‘ I’m satisfied with the applause. It’s good for both of us to be self-critical, to reflect anew.”
There’s a worthy opponant for the brilliant Hitchens.



report abuse
 

Seamus

posted August 4, 2005 at 8:54 am


Why in the world is Hitchins even there on The Corner? I thought National Review was a conservative publication. There is no definition of “conservative” broad enough to take in that old leftist. (Yes, I know that NR occasionally used to publish articles by Timothy Leary, Conor Cruise O’Brien (whom they used to slam for his work in Africa on behalf of the UN in the early 60s), and others on the left, but it was always clear that they were providing a guest platform for the exposition of views that had some overlap with the core conservative message. But adding Hitchins to The Corner is more like putting him (or Timothy Leary) on the masthead.



report abuse
 

James Kabala

posted August 4, 2005 at 9:19 am


Re Hitchens and abortion: Hitchens has actually declared that recent discoveries in embryology have convinced him that abortion is wrong. I don’t know if that means that that he believes abortion should be illegal, but Eric Alterman of The Nation once referred to him as the only pro-life person he associates with socially!
On the other hand, Hitchens wrote a rather repulsive article on Leon Trotsky for the Atlantic about a year ago. Only a few people (generally anti-war rightists like Steve Sailer and Justin Raimondo) called him out on it, but it clearly showed Hitchens still holds some pretty nasty leftist ideas, and conservatives would do well not to embrace him wholeheartedly.



report abuse
 

James Kabala

posted August 4, 2005 at 9:20 am


Re Hitchens and abortion: Hitchens has actually declared that recent discoveries in embryology have convinced him that abortion is wrong. I don’t know if that means that that he believes abortion should be illegal, but Eric Alterman of The Nation once referred to him as the only pro-life person he associates with socially!
On the other hand, Hitchens wrote a rather repulsive article on Leon Trotsky for the Atlantic about a year ago. Only a few people (generally anti-war rightists like Steve Sailer and Justin Raimondo) called him out on it, but it clearly showed Hitchens still holds some pretty nasty leftist ideas, and conservatives would do well not to embrace him wholeheartedly.



report abuse
 

Seamus

posted August 4, 2005 at 9:44 am


“e Hitchens and abortion: Hitchens has actually declared that recent discoveries in embryology have convinced him that abortion is wrong.”
Actually, Hitchens has been anti-abortion for at least 20 years. He has explained, interestingly, that he holds his pro-life views not in spite of, but because of, his atheism. Because, he says, there is no God and thus no life after death, this life is of paramount value and must be protected.



report abuse
 

Maureen

posted August 4, 2005 at 10:16 am


Googling did produce some interesting info.
http://users.rcn.com/peterk.enteract/pftw.htm
Apparently, he’s been “an unenthusiastic member” of 2 Christian churches, and he got confirmed (and baptized?) in the Greek Orthodox Church to marry his first wife.
Apparently, just before his mother died, she told him all of a sudden that she wanted to move to Israel. Years later, when one of his brothers married a Jewish lady, his maternal grandmother divulged the fact that they were actually all Jewish on her side! They had restricted their observance to the home, though, and changed their name away from Blumenthal when they moved from Breslau (the same town St. Edith Stein was from) to Oxford. His grandmother was not observant or believing anymore. His mother had not really wanted to be Jewish, so nobody had ever informed their dad of this little fact.
Well, Mr. Hitchens was apparently pleased enough, but he was rather relieved to meet up with a rabbi who didn’t really insist on Jews believing much of anything!
All in all, a rather interesting and sad autobiographical column. People in our society are so fragmented, aren’t they?
http://www.forward.com/issues/2001/01.01.26/arts1.html
A shorter version of the story is embedded in this book review.



report abuse
 

Maureen

posted August 4, 2005 at 10:22 am


I should specify that being Jewish is interesting, but not being able to dive into any particular religious life wholeheartedly because of your own issues is sad. Though it did cheer me up that at least the man visits synagogues, so he’s definitely not running from the Hound of Heaven as hard as I thought…. :)



report abuse
 

Touchy Tech

posted August 4, 2005 at 10:23 am


Because, he says, there is no God and thus no life after death, this life is of paramount value and must be protected.
I wonder if anyone has ever asked him where this value comes from?



report abuse
 

Kevin Jones

posted August 4, 2005 at 11:22 am


re: Hitchens’ past,
There was something a while ago on how a defrocked priest seduced his mother in Italy. She later committed suicide, and I recall people speculating that Hitchens links the two in his mind.



report abuse
 

The Anchoress

posted August 4, 2005 at 11:27 am


Hitchens needs prayin’ for. He’s so freaking brilliant, and so freaking lost. I love the guy and yes, I do pray for him. And yes, I do think his mother’s suicide is strongly connected to his complete abhorrance of religion, specifically Roman Catholicism.



report abuse
 

Donna

posted August 4, 2005 at 2:13 pm


It is also worth noting that Christopher’s brother, Peter, is a conservative writer and a theist. (I know Peter wrote an article recently bemoaning the slow suicide by P.C. of the Anglican Church).
The two brothers have not spoken to each other in years. A while back, Peter wrote a letter to Commentary Magazine slighting something Christopher had said and Christopher replied with breath-taking vitriol. It made my blood freeze to see two brothers trashing each other in a public forum like that.
A mother and sister dead by suicide,leaving two highly intelligent, extremely gifted siblings who are not only estranged, but venomously attack each other in print. I would be thrilled to be able to string words together half as well as Christopher Hitchens does. His tragic family history is nothing anybody can envy.



report abuse
 

Ramesh Ponnuru

posted August 4, 2005 at 3:26 pm


Hitchens made some statements in the past that certainly seemed anti-abortion, but in Vanity Fair a year or two ago he disavowed any anti-abortion sentiments.



report abuse
 

Donna

posted August 4, 2005 at 3:43 pm


It applies, in other words, to those who have never heard of Catholicism. I am not sufficiently fortunate to be of that number
Actually, “hearing” of Catholicism has been very fortunate for Hitchens – he’s paid more than a few bar bills with the royalties from books and articles he’s written attacking the Church.



report abuse
 

Plato's Stepchild

posted August 4, 2005 at 9:23 pm


“A mother and sister dead by suicide,leaving two highly intelligent, extremely gifted siblings who are not only estranged, but venomously attack each other in print.”
Check Plato’s Symposium 191 d and then check the reference in Pope Benedict XVI’s Introduction to Christianity on Belief As Symbol to this myth of each of us looking for his/her other half.



report abuse
 

Lynn Gazis-Sax

posted August 5, 2005 at 1:25 am


I found the article with the defrocked priest and the suicide: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/life/story/0,6903,683898,00.html.
If invincible ignorance only referred to people who had never heard of Catholicism, what would be the point of the doctrine? Everyone’s heard of Catholicism. Maybe not much that’s accurate in some cases, but everyone’s heard of Catholicism.



report abuse
 

James Kabala

posted August 5, 2005 at 8:57 am


Kudos to Ramesh for posting here. How sad to heare that Hitchens has abandoned his flirtations with being pro-life, which I had hoped might be a pathway to his conversion, i not actually to Christianity, at least to a more respectul attitude toward it. I wonder if his hatred of the Church made him no longer able to bear being on the Church’s side on such an important issue.



report abuse
 

kathleen reilly

posted August 5, 2005 at 2:51 pm


The Hitchens brothers just did a joint appearance at the Hay on Wye book festival in britain, so they have spoken recently at least.
http://books.guardian.co.uk/hay2005/story/0,15880,1495897,00.html



report abuse
 

Plato's Stepchild

posted August 14, 2005 at 3:03 pm


Christopher Hitchens uncovers American Gunpowder Plot

To the extent that this gibberish can be decoded at all, it is in flat contradiction to the Declaration of Independence, which is unique precisely because it locates the just powers of government in the consent of the governed, and



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to Michael, whom he remembered, among other things, as on

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But here's the thing.Whether or not Yates' original novel in

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, right?Well, here's a worthy recipient for your hard-

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No?Okay...how about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling Episcopalians, all the better.To tell the truth, you can bl

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every minute of labor, describing the intensity of discomfor

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.