Thursday, May 03, 2007
[Christopher Hitchens – journalist and atheist spokesperson]
One thing which occurred to me lately: Can anyone find an example of a single prominent atheistic leader who was kind, honest, and sober and had a stable family life?
Not Karl Marx – he preached revolution and was an anti-Semite.
Not Friedrich Nietzsche – he never married and apparently died of syphilis.
Not Sigmund Freud – he was an academic fraud.
Not Bertrand Russell – he was married four times and sexually promiscuous.
Not Stalin or Mao – the most ruthless killers who ever lived.
Not Ayn Rand, who preached the "virtue" of selfishness and who was extremely arrogant in her personal life.
Not Madalyn Murray O'Hair – she embezzled outrageously.
Not John Lennon, who was a hard drug user and very cruel to his first wife and their child.
Even Carl Sagan, who was never really openly an atheist, seems to have had a very abrasive personality and was divorced twice.
My own father, an outspoken atheist, was a promiscuous drunk.
It's really remarkable when one thinks of it. Not only has there apparently never been an atheist saint. There has never been a prominent atheist whom the average person would want to have as a friend and neighbor.
Why is that?
Admittedly, many theists have been evil as well. However some have been truly great – for example the Vilna Gaon, the Chofetz Chaim, the Chazon Ish and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. But atheism never has leaders like that.
Personally, I would compare theism to health care. In health care, there are plenty of quacks, bogus fitness equipment and dangerous diets. On the other hand, there are some excellent programs as well. So someone who says, “Forget about a healthy lifestyle; all that stuff is nonsense” is not a shrewd skeptic; he’s a self-indulgent fool.
So perhaps, as Mr. Hitchens writes, God is not great – if you want to be a selfish creep and not feel guilty about it.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 12:28 PM