Rev. Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens Debate

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Rev. Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens Debate

There was a recent debate between Rev. Al Sharpton with Christopher Hitchens, while Hitchens was promoting his book “God is not great ". The debate was actually civil, humorous and dare I say I sensed a mutual respect between the two. Hitchens with is passionate distaste for religion and Rev. Sharpton expressing himself with such an elegant calmness, which I have never seen, made this hour and a half program such an enjoyable debate.

I have the utmost respect for Christophers Hitchens relentless attacks on the status quo. Regardless of the fact that I don’t agree with everything he says.

You can watch the whole program for free on Fora TV


[admin edit: the rest of post and moved to RRS alerts]

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Al is definately a better

Al is definately a better politician than a reverend.  I'm a bit disappointed that Hitchens didn't keep the conversation on the scriptures, which is what his book is all about.  Al dodged the bullets by concentrating on the literal meaning of the title alone.  It maybe should have be titled "Your God Is Not Great".  Mr. Sharpton may have been more willing to defend his personal interpretation of the divine in that case.  Ayaan couldn't even get it out of him, and understandably so.  I do believe Christians are ashamed of their faith in the scriptures, as much as they would deny that charge.  Mr. Sharpton's strongest arguement, I feel, was that wickedness couldn't exist with out a divine goodness.  He is simply, on faith, assuming divine origin.  He mistakenly removes these concepts, good and evil, from the human mind unfortunately.  Goodness and wickedness do infact exist, often side by side in every mind capable.  The yin yang is just a better metaphor than the external concepts like sin.  Other than that, I love listening to Hitchens.  I especially loved his observation that religions seem to teach that humans are the greatest idea ever and that the universe is here for us, while completely degrading our very natures.  That's really why religion is insane.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce

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this is also the same

this is also the same debate where Rev. Sharpton got in alot of hot water over his "bigoted" comments concerning Presidential canidate Mitt Romney.



"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?." Douglas Adams

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Sharpton's "god" was removed

Sharpton's "god" was removed from human representatives, scriptures... what was left but the word itself? Hitchens should have called him on that incohrent bullshit.

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If I remember correctly, Al

If I remember correctly, Al talks of god being the basis of human morals, while it was mentioned at least once that is is possible that evolutionary processes could explain it. That fly over his head. I did not have the time to watch it trough again but I hope I recalled it from the last time I watched it. Sticking out tongue

I'll get back to you when I think of something worthwhile to say.

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Did the Rev seem at least a

Did the Rev seem at least a little bit disrespectful to anyone else? He made quite a bit of ad homine attacks on Hitchens actually.

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This was already posted

This was already posted several weeks ago.

Also you can watch Hitch in good form at politics and prose via see link below.



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Can anyone tell me why

Can anyone tell me why anyone, including Al Sharpton, still thinks Al Sharpton is relevent? Hitchens may as well have debated Ronald McDonald.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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I honestly didnt like the

I honestly didnt like the debate,I found it kinda boring.I have respect for Hitchens,and some for the bigot Sharpton,but it just didnt have enough meat to it,on either side,to really sway anyones opinions,just seemed weak all around to me.

EDIT: I take back the bigot statement,Im not perfect,and cant remember atm where I drew that thought from. 

"Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions."--Frater Ravus

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Thanks.  Good stuff!  Al

Thanks.  Good stuff!  Al held his own, and defined the debate perfectly.  He went straight for the teleological jugular.  Hitchens attacks literalism and fundamentalism.  Fine.  Bully for him.  But Sharpton is an...ahem..liberal.  A progressive.  He brings a whole different set of tools to the debate, which don't revolve around the reactionary defense of a crude, primitivistic absolutism.  He's a harder target.

This isn't like going after washed up child actors and street charlatans.  Perhaps that's why the RRS are so reluctant to engage with Christian progressives.  It's harder.

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Sharpton didn't present

Sharpton didn't present anything challenging. I agree that progressives are harder to debate, but it's because their specific beliefs are often individual, and have to be described in full before a debate can really have any footing. You come in expecting the "god" of the OT, and you get this vague patchwork of Deepak Chopra shit. Ya'know what I mean?

I also think Hitchens was probably hung over.

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Sharpton didn't press

Sharpton didn't press Hitchens nearly as hard as he could have, mostly because Hitchens studiously avoided Sharpton's redefining of the debate.  This was to keep the focus on the book you're pitching.

  Progressives are harder to debate because the essence of a progressive faith is considerably less offensive to a rational mind.  If you're open to scientific insights, tolerant of others, and approach faith with a critical eye, you're a much harder target.  Fundamentalism is *easy* to assail.  With progressives, you've got to rely on ad hominem attacks and a reduction of faith to emotionalism and subjectivism.  That can work, but it's also refutable using the same tools of radical doubt that should define atheism.

 Have RRS folks ever attempted that kind of debate, to your knowledge?  I've looked for stuff on the podcasts, but can't find anything.

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Al's basic arguments were

Al's basic arguments were "Where do morals come from/what do we base morals on?", a vague form of the design argument, including theistic evolution, and personal experience. All three of these seem to me to be some of the easiest arguments to refute, and although Hitchens did refute at least the first two, he did so with a bunch of unnecessary fluff that I think softened the impact he could have made. I loved the first questioner. I think we got to see what those hit-and-run evangelists and trolls look like in person.

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Actually, finding a

Actually, finding a meaningful teleology (a necessary prerequisite for a normative moral framework) in the absence of the absolute is harder than you think.  You can attempt it, but anyone willing to apply a little radical Cartesian doubt to your effort can mangle you nicely.  Hitchens didn't go there, not really.  That's not his schtick.