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God on Trial [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
41 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Hitchens the Vanquisher of Bronze Age Stupidity 9 Jun. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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One thing I have never seen anyone who debates Christopher Hitchens do is really address the large leap one must take from Deism to Theism. If we start out with being skeptical, as we all should when supernatural claims are advanced than it seems to me that deism stands closer than theism. That being said, no one has successfully explained the "gap" between them with any degree of success. In fact, I am not sure that most of his opponents even understand what Hitchens is asking of them.

D'Souza argues like all Theists that God is the cause of the Universe and is the origin of morality and "attempts" to persuade that Christianity is more likely. Morality can easily be explained from our evolutionary past modulated by culture. As a social primate species we evolved a deep sense of right and wrong in order to accentuate and reward reciprocity and cooperation, and to attenuate and punish excessive selfishness and free riding. As well, evolution created the moral motions that tell us that lying, adultery, and stealing are wrong because they destroy trust in human relationships that depend on truth-telling, fidelity, and respect for property. It would not be possible for a social primate species to survive without some moral sense. On the constitution of human nature is built the constitutions of human societies.

Hitchen's take on Christian morality is that God is basically a tyrant and the morality that the Bible teaches is clearly sickening to any sensible, reasonable, rational person. The Christian claims to have absolute and objective ethical standards for knowing right from wrong, which is something they claim atheists don't have. In fact most Christians accept what is know as 'Divine Command theory' which basically amounts to this:

1. Morality is based upon what God commands.
2. No other reasons are needed but that God so commanded it.
3. If God commanded it, then it is right.

It doesn't take a genius to see the horror in this belief to its fullest expression. We saw this quite clearly on 9/11. For a clear refutation of this I would google John Loftus's "The Christian Illusion of Moral Superiority". Hitchens merely points to the servility of this and calls a spade a spade and a tyrant a tyrant and appeals to people to simply use their common sense on the matter in hopes that they are intelligent enough to see through this smoke and mirrors. (Sometimes Hitchens thinks too highly of people).

D'Souza clearly doesn't bring forward any real 'evidence' for God's existence but labors on the morality argument, rather unsuccessfully in my opinion. Hitchens asserts that any explanation that includes 'God' is a grafting on to something that doesn't need it. In other words it is superfluous, not required.

The debate takes a turn when discussing 'hell'. No amount of clever talking can escape the absurdity of hell and claim God is love. D'Souza is asked if an eternity of hell is a fair punishment for a mere eighty years of a disobedient life to which I have never heard a satisfying response from any Christian theist. D'Souza replies that eternity is not defined as an infinity of years but as a timeless state of existence. Don't you like it how Christians try to water down the plain message in the Bible to make it sound less grotesque than it really is?

All in all, another win by Hitchens. But would you really expect otherwise?
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Hitchens takes the cake 21 Mar. 2012
By F. Gwin - Published on
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After watching this two times, I can assure that this is a good debate. This is also my favorite debate format out of the debates I have seen thus far, so it makes it a pleasure to watch.

I am a Christian and Hitchens posed some great questions that really got me thinking. D'Souza on the other hand was sort of, well, meh... I have read his book What's So Great about Christianity, and I wasn't all that impressed. I wasn't impressed by his performance here either. There were several occasions where I just wanted to facepalm at his responses, though there were others where I thought he did a good enough job. However, I have yet to read any of Hitchens' material, and I can say now that after watching this debate I will be ordering one of his books in the near future.

Hitchens did make some far out claims (like that Stalin's tyrannical agenda that was backed and supplied by the Russian Orthodox Church), but overall he demolished D'Souza. D'Souza started making some points that I believe would have evened out the debate a little more, but they were all in his final speech. Go figure.

EDIT: After re-watching this debate several times, I can't really say it's worth buying. At first it seemed like Hitchens was grilling D'Souza on every point to do with Christianity, but really he is just grilling him on his Roman Catholic beliefs. Hence, every time that interesting conversation arises Hitchens just goes back to beating that dead horse and silences D'Souza. I'm surprised I didn't notice it the very first time I watched it. Hitchens still gets his cake and eats it too, but I just found that since he plays the RC card at every turn, this debate is less enjoyable than others.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A great debate between two very well read and well spoken gentlemen 22 Feb. 2013
By Pharmanator - Published on
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This debate features christopher hitchens versus dinesh d'souza.

It is particularly interesting as it features a great number of CH's famous "hitchslaps" as well as thoughful counters from Dinesh.

For those who find the continuing debate between theists and atheists to be a interesting affair I recommend this.
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Free Will? Really? 2 Mar. 2012
By Robert K. Pavlick - Published on
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I agree with the first reviewer, John Grove, that Christopher Hitchins did an excellent job in respectfully, yet forcefully exposing the negative aspects of religions "of the Book". One must understand that he is not saying that God is a megalomaniac or a dictator or a sadist since he is not even postulating that there is a God. What he is saying is that the God of the Old Testament is all of those dreadful things and if one takes the Old Testament literally, then we would have to acknowledge that everything that Hitchins said about God The Father, is absolutely true.

Dinesh D'Souza tries to defuse the argument by saying that God wouldn't destroy people or curse people or condemn them to an eternity in hell if they would only comply with his wishes and D'Souza says that God did give them free will. But Hitchins questions how one could call it free will if the consequences for disobedience are death now and an eternity of torture in hell? That's not really much of a choice is it? Hitchins further goes on to reason with the audience by asking the question? Why would anyone want to worship a god that threatens them and terrorizes them and expects 24/7 fawning devotion and adoration or they will be tortured for eternity? Why would one want to worship a deity that demanded animal and human sacrifices and ordered the annihilation of entire city states throughout the area of Palestine?

Well, of course, D'Souza tries to water it all down saying that it was God who created in man compassion and trust and love and all of these fine qualities that are not found in the rest of creation, but of course that is simply not true. Many animals, dogs in particular, are capable of great caring and compassion and love and loyalty and will often adopt parentless animals even of another species and nurse them and raise them. So one cannot attribute all good qualities to the positive effect of theology and scripture.

When asked how and why a loving deity could sit back and casually witness tsunami's, floods, tornados and other natural disasters without interceding, D'Souza countered that the only reason that the world is in such chaos is because of the sin of Adam and Eve, so we can blame them and ourselves for the state of the world. But of course that doesn't explain the chaos, volcanoes, colliding planets and imploding stars that took place long before Adam and Eve and had nothing to do with this planet whatsoever. Neither does it explain how the God of Intelligent Design could allow over 90% of the species that he created to go extinct over the millennial periods of time, again long before man had anything to do with it.

D'Souza then tries to launch the usual Christian missile and tries to attribute the atrocities committed by Communists to the fact that they were atheists. What he fails to mention is that all of Russia was Christian before the Revolution and that the peasants were bullied and abused and exploited by both the Russian Orthodox Church and it's Christian Tzar that they ended up leaving the church and ultimately becoming Communists. So it was their treatment by Christians that inspired their atheism. Hitchens counters this by pointing out that Hitler and the vast majority of his henchmen were Catholics in good standing and he brought up the concordat that Hitler signed with Pius XII and the Vatican. He also pointed out that no Nazi war criminal was ever threatened with excommunication except for Dr. Joseph Goebbels, who was excommunicated for marrying a Protestant!!!!

Hitchens went on to say that Darwin may well some day be considered a greater emancipator than Abraham Lincoln because he was instrumental in freeing the minds of mankind from irrational fear and superstition.

All in all it is a wonderful debate well worth watching and adding to your library.
Four Stars 30 Oct. 2014
By Mikel Hedges - Published on
Anything featuring Hitchens is bound to be great. This is no exception.
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