Comments: Christopher Hitchens vs. Hanukkah

Warning: Excessively long response to follow.

Hitchens needs to get counseling for his anger problem. His hatred of all who believe in G-D (yeah, I just wrote that) has led him to an insulting conclusion that seems to ignore the facts of the situation. His entire article is based on his idea (stated in the second paragraph) that Judaism is "an ancient and cruel faith" whose adherents had to be weaned away from "the sacrifices, the circumcisions, the belief in a special relationship with God and the other reactionary manifestations" of the religion by the more enlightened Greeks.

His oversimplified and self-serving description of an apikoros and his historically inaccurate contention that Orthodox Judaism (a concept which - at least in name - didn't really exist until around 1900 years after the Hasmoneans) was responsible for the rise of Islam, make Hitch's piece seem less like a persuasive, well thought out argument and more like a diatribe which glances over the subtlelies of history and only serves to promote his current world view. His reference to that period as the "original victory of bloody-minded faith over enlightenment and reason" comes to belittle people of faith as well as glorifying all things that derived from the Ancient Greeks. In Mr. Hitchens's mind, it seems, ALL faith is "bloody-minded", yet he can't seem to believe that products of his beloved enlightenment (ie: the Seleucid Empire) were equally prone to bloody-mindedness.

Particualrly insulting is his assertion that "when Judaism repudiated Athens for Jerusalem, the development of the whole of humanity was terribly retarded". Aside from the obvious hyperbolic nature of that statement, it completely ignores the great contributions that Jewish thinkers (both religious and secular) have brought to the world at large over the past 2000+ years.

The only positive thing that can be said for Hitchens is that at least he is consistent both in his hatred of all organized religion and in his support for the "enlightened" invading forces over the "bloody-minded" religious locals both in antiquity and today.

Posted by Dan at December 4, 2007 12:04 PM
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