“Atheism is Vandalism!” — Hitchens respondsJanuary 22, 2014
From a panel discussion about “Religion and Culture” featuring Christopher Hitchens and two writers on religion, Zachary Karabell and Jonathan Kirsch…..
About 51 minutes in comes this attack on Christopher Hitchens and atheism from Jonathan Kirsch–
Kirsch: I was reminded of a trip my wife and I took to Paris, we saw the Pantheon, which is a church which was desacrilized after the French Revolution. It is a sterile church. You can go to Notre Dame or Sacré-Cœur which are old medieval churches and they’re very beautiful places. We go into our art museums which we praise as the highest art of the classical world. Their original purpose was what our Bible calls idols.
This is our culture – religion is our culture. It provides the stuff of our culture. And to repudiate that — our cultural legacy — is precisely the same as the Taliban going out an dynamiting Buddhist statues in Afghanistan: it’s vandalism!
Christopher Hitchens responds bluntly —
Silly point. Very very silly point…. Extremely silly point.
The (so-called) moderator ridicules Hitchens for being so blunt, so Hitchens makes his point more clearly:
Sacré-Cœur, by the way, was built-in the late nineteenth century. It’s not medieval at all. It was built to celebrate the defeat of Republicanism in France. It expresses the sectarianism of the French Catholic Church; its historical alignment with the anti-semites, the army and the elite. You can go and worship there if you like, if that’s the kind of culture to you like.
The so-called moderator tries to stop him and says “Now we’re just bickering.” Kirsch takes the interruption as a chance to try to salvage something:
Kirsch: Well I do believe Notre dame is a Medieval cathedral.
Hitchens: Yes, around which Thomas Aquinas once flew, you might be interested to know…He levitated… We have witnesses! After leaving one of his books on the high altar for God to read, and receiving — by channeling — a favorable review, he flew in delight around the knave of Notre Dame. You can check it out. And many people think that’s culture.
Well something got demolished there, but it was not the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur!
Posted by Yakaru