Saturday, October 30, 2010

God's Englishman



Peter Hitchens takes no prisoners. He is about the most uncompromising conservative you're likely to come across (a proper conservative as Splinty calls him - giving him the handle The Hitch, normally given to his brother, Christopher). The Rage Against God is a polemic-apologetic work giving an account of his upbringing, adoption of Trotskyist-atheism and conversion to (a very Anglican) Christianity. As a consequnce of a never-to-be-repeated debate with his famously atheist brother (the debate can be found online HERE) it is also a reflection and refutation of familiar arguments raised by atheists (especially familiar to those of us who haunt blogs) and his own account of his experience of the militant soviet communist form of atheism as a Moscow-based journalist.

It is a good read, but it is clearly the work of a journalist who likes his information in bite-sized, punchy pieces, rather than the ruminative style of an academic. There is a degree of affection and compassion for his brother but the passion that runs through the piece is recognisably driven by sibling rivalry. It is a useful book as his dismissal of the familiar arguments put up by militant atheists, especially on blogs, (Are conflicts fought in the name of religion conflicts about religion? Is it possible to determine what is right and what is wrong without God? Are atheist states not actually atheist?) are effectively and concisely dealt with. He loses his way a little in his description of the cult of Winston Churchill and the War Dead as a national substitute religion (I'd have said that's more likely to be the typical funeral amalgam of Dianaesque-sentimentality-Robbie-Williams-Angels-spirituality with a side-order of Raoul Moat/road accident-flower-laying).

His abrasive style may grate with some readers but I admire the fact that he is one of the few writers/journalists to stand up to the lazy assumptions that constitute the zeitgeist.

Well worth a read. My copy will go to whoever wants it. Preference given to priests or students. I'll pay postage. You might want to give a donation to Aid to the Church in Need in lieu. Email me: lepanto{at}hotmail{dot}co{dot}uk

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1 Comments:

Blogger Jackie Parkes MJ said...

looks interesting!

9:25 PM  

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