World Religions - Essay Prowess

World Religions


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In his book God is not Great, Christopher Hitchens makes numerous provocative arguments against religion. He asserts that, far from being a force for good as advertised, religion has been a source of irrationality, injustice, sexual repression, and often horrific violence. Religions are “fossilized philosophies” (94), and “To ‘choose’ dogma and faith over doubt and experiment is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.” (94) With reference to the Abrahamic religions, he says, “monotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few non-events.” (94)

 In a short essay (8 pages), reflect upon Hitchens’s arguments.  In Section 1 (3-4 pages) of the essay, offer a close summary of Hitchens’s main points in the book. In Section 2 (3-4 pages), discuss his assertions with reference to one of the monotheistic traditions. How is it a “plagiarism”, a “hearsay”, and an “illusion””? How is it that “religion kills”? How is it “hazardous to health”? With reference to the tradition you are discussing, would you say Hitchens is making some fair points and his arguments are persuasive? Or would you argue that the positive qualities of religion mitigate the harm that it causes? Supposing religion were a “fabrication of non-events”, would you, with reference to the tradition you are discussing, argue that it has value? Why or why not?

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