I watch a lot of online debates and discussions with Atheists and theists I watched many with the late Christopher Hitchens who was one of the first people to interest me in the subject. In the opening of one of his debates he made the point that if we knew at the infancy of of species what we know now religion would never have had the chance to really take off. He said that we have much better explanations to our questions now and religion even though it may have benefited us in the past has been made redundant. He said that the chances of any religion being true was in the highest degree improbable but how does one measure those odds? Is it because there are many other different religions and Christianity is only one of them or is it because the actual concept of a god is unlikely? What is the method or tool he used to determine the probability? Thank you.
Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz
Writers of this ilk are a tiresome lot; and when one considers the brain power they claim to possess, one wonders why they leave them at home so often.
So Hitchens posits an “infancy of the species”? Which year was that? Two million BC? But maybe 1935 when Albert Einstein told Niels Bohr that God doesn’t play dice — presumably from his lack of advance on hominid belief systems? Moreover it seems to me that old and new religions are still infecting highly educated and knowledgable people in every corner of the globe, and it would be presumptuous in the highest degree to call them primitive or stupid.
As for the concept of god(s) being unlikely, Tertullian knew it 2000 years ago and said, it is precisely because of its absurdity that faith is such a powerful magnet on our intellects. Kant 200 years ago proved with cast-iron logic that we humans don’t command the intellectual wherewithal to nail down an argument for or against god(s). Therefore neither faith nor atheism are genuinely philosophical positions; the only choice a disbeliever can adopt with a clean conscience is agnosticism, namely the intellectual honesty to say “I don’t believe in god(s) because I cannot reconcile this idea with my conception of the constitution of the world.” Which could then be reinforced with the only two factual arguments at our disposal, namely (a) that all gods are anthropomorphisms and (b) that all documentations of human commerce with divine beings are products of a human mind — with all the ramifications such claims might entail.
After such thoughts, what’s left of Hitchens and likeminded confreres? Methods and tools? Well, what are they if not discrediting without evidence? Or sleight of hand with unproved presuppositions? Sorry, buster, but on questions like these, one has to do better than bluster!