May 13, 2007.
Hannity-And welcome back to Hannity's America. Author and journalist Christopher Hitchens is no stranger to controversy. In this week's hot seat, I go head-to-head with him over his brand new book God Is Not Great.
Hannity-You describe yourself as a devout anti-theist, and you're an atheist.kExplain.
Hitchens-Ok, well an atheist is someone who doesn't believe that there's a god or at least says that there's no evidence to believe that there is. But such a person might very well say he wished it was true.
I know some atheists who do say, "Well I wish I could believe it, I just can't. There's not enough evidence for it. Or the evidence is the other way." I see that.
I say I'm an anti-thiest because I think it would be rather awful if it was true. If there was a permanent, total, around-the-clock, divine supervision...an invigilatian
of everything you did...you would never have a waking or sleeping moment where you weren't being watched and controlled and supervised by some celetstial entity, from the moment of conception til...well not even to your death, because it's only after death that the real fun begins, isn't it? It would be like living in North Korea.
Hannity-To be an atheist, you have to believe that it is possible, which I think is a far greater leap of faith, that something that can be created out of nothing...when you look at the majesty and sophistication and the intricacy of the universe that we do know and comprehend, you have to believe that somehow that this energy could have existed on its own and I do not believe that. That to me is a leap of faith
Hitchens-You give me the awful impression, I hate to have say it, of someone who hasn't read any of the arguments against your position ever.
Hannity-I've read all the argumnts.
Hitchens-I don't see how you can be saying this. Look. You want to take...you want your god to take responsibility for the huge number of collapsing stars and imploding galaxies and destroyed universes and failed solar systems that have left us in this tiny corner on the one planet in this petty solar system that can support life some of the time on some of its surface. And you want a creator who filled this earth with species, since life began 99% of which are now extinct already...and this is some design, isn't it?
But you didn't say that. You said you were a believer. You didn't say you were a theist.
Hannity-I am a believer. I believe in a creator.
Hitchens-And that's where it stops, or you think this creator cares about you too?
Hannity-No, in this concept, I will concede this point, is that human beings I don't think fully comprehend or understand the majesty of god because it's not meant for us to know. But putting that aside here. From your position, when you really think about it, you are believing, that there is a possibility, without a creator, that somehow energy is created itself or that energy predates or...any concept of time and energy...that that for example, something that can come out of nothing, because, fundamentally there has to be that starting point or you're saying...or your confirming your belief system.
Hitchens-No, no...that is what our minds demand. We look for patterns.
Hannity-You seem to be angry with religion, angry with god. Am I wrong in my perception?
Hitchens-Not with god, obviously,that would be absurd. But yes, I mean, my book expresses, I rather say, contempt and hostility to this constant religious intimidation and clerical bullying to which we're being subjected. My book is part of an attempt to arrange and organize a push back against this...whether it's the parties of god destroying Iraqi civil society or bigots in America trying to have pseudo science taught in our schools or a pope who says that aids may be bad...and limbo by the way may have been a mistake, but let's talk about hell in any way...aids isn't as bad as condoms.
We had enough of people who think like you, that they know what god wants and that they've got god on their side.
That they can tell us what to do or what to think in this way.
Hannity-You're not comparing me...I will say this in close...
Hitchens-Yes I am, very hostile to this.
Hannity-You live in a free....there is hostility here.
But I will tell you this. You are right, and I agree with actually many of the observations you made about how religion has been perverted and how it is being used for destruction and how it is unproductive...
Hitchens-It is being used for...it is innately irrational.
Hannity-Well I disagree with that...that that's a certain intellectual snobiness perhaps on your part. Let me just say this.
Hitchens-That could well be right.
Hannity-Religion also has provided food and water and medicine and supplies and housing and there has been, in the name of religion, much good that has been done, both in this country and around the world
...and you cannot just dismiss it.
Hitchens-Well if you reduce religion to
social work, so does USAID produce...do all that. Actually, a secular organization, actually rather more convincingly.
Most of the great philanthropist of the united states have been atheists...doesn't prove that atheism is correct.
Hannity-There is a god.