By: Leslie A. Zukor
When I was invited to have dinner with Christopher Hitchens, I jumped at the opportunity. For the past several years, Hitchens has made a name as a provocateur, as someone who minces no words with regard to his personal views.
His latest target, as he wrote about in God Is Not Great, is the institution of religion. When I had the opportunity to eat dinner with Hitchens, I was curious as to the validity of the book’s subtitle, How Religion Poisons Everything.
What came next I should have expected. Hitchens comported himself with an almost narrow-minded disdain for all things religious. Anything good that believers did was possible without religion, and everything else was the fault of the faith.
By the end of the night, I had tired of Hitchens’s dogmatic rejection of religion. In a room full of scholars and educated people, he could have learned something from others’ experiences. Instead, Hitchens clung fervently to his disdain for faith.
It was ultimately Hitchens’s dogmatism that proved to be his undoing. Such a strident rejection of religion shared more than a little in common with the religious people he condemned. In short, Hitchens is an atheist fundamentalist.
For more about the Hitchens dinner in Portland and my objections to his dogmatism, see the Portland Monthly Magazine’s website.