Friday, December 07, 2007

Hitchens Home for the Holidays

I like how he implies that Antiochus Epiphanes (whom he never mentions by name, as it would be a tad embarrassing that his champion of enlightened secularism named himself "God Incarnate") was the embodiment of "enlightenment and reason." You know, since worshipping him and Zeus was all so enlightened.

What Antiochus and Hitchens both seem to prefer would be the establishment of a state orthodoxy that makes all particular religions interchangeably and equally meaningless and indistinct. (Antiochus thought everyone should worship Yahweh and any other gods as well as himself and Zeus, so you can't accuse him of trying to outlaw Judaism, just outlawing its particularity.) I admit that (if such an experiment were possible), it might have the advantage of getting rid of religious strife. Religious strife quite understandably frightens me and Mr Hitchens. However, the diversity of our faiths is much more a part of our democratic life than Mr Hitchens' orthodoxy. (Religious diversity and particularity are also the underlying assumptions of the anti-establishment clause.)


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