Tuesday, August 14, 2007

God Is Not Great… or at least not as great as Christopher Hitchens

In his recent book “God is not Great” Christopher Hitchens writes very graphically about things he cannot see. This work is of great value if one considers reading an appendix of errors and omissions more than the actual book.
Those who think that reading heavy books contributes to global warming can always spare the planet by not reading it. The essence of the book is expressed in its title “God is not Great” and that’s what it is all about.

Back in Armenia years ago, I had a great teacher who said that those who say there is no God think they are God themselves. My teacher was a drama critic. His life was turned into hell by the communist regime for nonconformist approach to …mediaeval Armenian theatre.
The communists also believed that God was not great, that the Party was greater than God.

Christopher Hitchens, though, has a definite advantage before God. God never spoke with a refined British accent as Mr. Hitchens does. (Although for some reason in all Biblical movies Jews, Egyptians and Romans do speak exclusively in the Queen’s English.)
Hitchens may not be saying anything new but he sells it with a British accent and that’s all that matters. This reminds me of another man who speaks with an accent. Hungarian accent. He once said, “Because of the raise of fundamentalism in all religions, now, our old friends, atheists get popular again. But unfortunately they cannot say anything helpful or new. Well, because atheists cannot say anything new”. This man is a bishop of a Gnostic Church in Hollywood. (Not a Gnostic from another ‘God is not Great’ book “The DaVinci’s Code”, but a Gnostic in a sense of knowing God is great since 3rd century AD.)
The bishop escaped Hungary in 1940’s after his father, a count, was shot in the head in front of his eyes by the occupying Communists, who now moved to spread the gospel of God is not great into the Eastern Europe.

So on one side of my equation we have an eloquent, wealthy and famous Englishman spreading the gospel of non-God in a country that relies on God and on the other side we have two foreigners who were persecuted in their countries that rejected God. This is like one of those mediaeval puzzles such as if Cod is omnipotent can He create a stone that He cannot move. Looks like some original thinkers thought that God was probably not that great even in the mediaeval times. This midlevel stuff is really weird!

The problem with Hitchens and people like him is that they are not really atheists or so-called militant atheists. The prove is again in the title of his book. Atheists do not think that God is not great; they think that there is no God. And as the bishop said, atheists cannot say anything new because they adhere to a closed argument. There is no God. Period. What else?
But once you say that God is not great you acknowledge God, you believe in God. You just do not trust God. You think, as my teacher said, that you are better and greater than God.
I will not go into lengths to prove my teacher's idea, but I urge you to do it yourself, in a scientific, empirical approach (an approach one wishes Charles Darwin and Al Gore would employ in their religious quest).
Observe people who claim that God is not great and you will notice a common characteristic that manifests throughout all of them. They are proud, superfluous and they think they are better than anyone else.

What these people do not understand about religion is the fact that true religion liberates one from the very concept of God and desperate attempts in trying to figure it out. True religion makes one to be an organic and important part of a whole creation. In its very essence religion is irreligious. By submitting to something that you think is greater than you are, you see yourself in perspective and realize how great you are after all.
When you deny God you inevitably place yourself into a position where you have to be like God, you have to worry like God and you have to be tortured with the idea of God and God’s role in society. Like the communists, you get into a paranoid frenzy and believe that someone’s opinion about mediaeval theatre can be threatening to the well being of society.
You need not to have God as unconsciously as the fundamentalist need to have Him. You depend on God for His not being. You become ardently religious and fundamentally annoyed by yourself and your and others religions which now seem to be the cause of all the confusion in your self-centered universe

Of course, again, it all can be far less torturous and could even pass as an original thought when the center of the universe thinks and sells it with the British accent. Yet, once you find yourself in a prison cell and the accent evaporates in the morning like alcohol in Paris Hilton’s brain, just like Miss Hilton the first book you kind of want to open, even if the urge is instinctive and temporary, is the one that says that God is still great… or at least greater than Christopher Hitchens.