Friday, May 18

Day 138 — Grotto

grotto — May 18

I live near a Catholic school, which has a little grotto out in the courtyard. I never see any kids hanging around it.

[Insert clumsy religion-related segue here.]

I'm reading Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great, a rambly manifesto on the ways in which all religion — from arbitrary, black-cat superstitionist spirituality to Christianity to Islam — makes people think and do outrageous and harmful things in the name of pleasing/impressing/sating the sky fairy of one's choice.

While I don't count myself a big Hitchens fan, it's still a relief to see someone fearlessly call out and condemn those belief systems that seek to control the lives of all — even those who don't believe. He's preaching to the choir, I suppose (to use a worn-out religious metaphor), but sometimes when you count yourself a member of a choir that is largely ignored or despised, it's nice to be addressed every now and again.

(This photo has been darkened. Here's the original.)

Project 365

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Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

The first thing I ever read by Hitchens referred to Mother Teresa and Princess Di as a malignant dwarf and a narcissistic bambi (if I remember correctly).

Then I saw a speech on CSPAN where he referred to the "great Kitty Kelley". People laughed but he wasn't kidding. He explained: Kelley had taken on and taken down 2 major public figures and icons, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan.

I've been a Hitchen's fan since.

Fri May 18, 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Atheism is a lonely road to walk, but it's far better today than ever before. I can remember when the automatic assumption of most folks to admitting you were an atheist was that you were a Satanist and a child molester. I've lost friends over it and had Christians target me as a "special project" to convert, like it would earn them bonus points with God.

Fri May 18, 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger fearlessvk said...

gotta confess i don't like hitchens very much. he is self-obsessed, arrogant, and, worst of all, not half as smart as he thinks he is. he strikes me as a kind of shock jock for the "public intellectual" world, and i just don't have much tolerance for people who try really hard to say outrageous things to get attention.

as far as his take on religion - i can't remember a time in my life when i believed in god. i mean as far back as i can remember, i recall thinking of god in the same company as santa claus and the tooth fairy. yet all the same, i find dogmatic and militant atheism pretty insufferable. religious faith is such a complicated and multi-faceted phenomenon, it's just simple-minded to reduce it to this monolithic evil stupidity as hitchens does.

that said, i grew up in a place where atheism was pretty normal and where there weren't people trying to save my soul on a regular basis. i could imagine how growing up in a very different environment, an oppressively religious one, where my atheism could have become a lot more dogmatic and militant simply as a reaction to the intolerance around me.

Sat May 19, 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris Wage said...

I'm a hitchens fanboy myself, as well.. I disagree with him half the time, but he's consistent, and awesome.

Sun May 20, 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

I think he's a pompous Bush apologist who borders on neo-conservative dementia. Bush uses religion as a sticking point in Middle Eastern policy and Hitchens vocierfously defends said policy while failing to see the underlying hypocrisy that doesn't necesarily gel with his anti-clericalism.

Sun May 20, 10:54:00 PM  

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