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Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson (2009)

Video  |   |  Documentary  |  27 October 2009 (USA)
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The documentary COLLISION pits leading atheist, political journalist and author Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) against fellow author and ... See full summary »

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Title: Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson (Video 2009)

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The documentary COLLISION pits leading atheist, political journalist and author Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) against fellow author and evangelical theologian Pastor Douglas Wilson on a debate tour arguing the topic "Is Religion Good For The World?". Lives and worldviews collide as Hitchens and Wilson wittily and passionately argue the timeless question, proving to be perfectly matched intellectual, philosophical, and cinematic rivals. COLLISION is directed by prolific independent filmmaker Darren Doane (Van Morrison: To Be Born Again, The Battle For L.A., Godmoney). Written by Anonymous

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Is Christianity Good For The World?

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27 October 2009 (USA)  »

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Christopher Hitchens: Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, ...
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User Reviews

 
Loved it! Great exposition for Hitchens & not too chabby for Wilson, either
9 January 2010 | by (Dongshih, Taiwan) – See all my reviews

I've been a big fan of Hitchens for some time, and was very curious to watch as he took on the "big" challenge. I suppose it was just a matter of time.

It's interesting: Hitchens has spent--some would say misspent--a lot of energy sparring with distinctly unworthy opponents. While it would be easy to say that Hitchens has lowered himself to do so, to be fair it's arguable that the field is rife with shabby "champions" of faith, and it was only natural that he wind up sharing the stage with same.

Don't get me wrong. In the case of Wilson, I still feel Hitchens prevails. The key to the glory of "Collision" is not that Hitchens is evenly matched. It's that the film does a very good job of creating a third realm in which we see an interplay of different takes on humanism. Wilson, by constitutionally agreeing that, in the end, real answers must be found, aids no less than HItchens in tracing the outlines of this third realm; one in which (if we're perceptive) we may acquire tools of our own as we search for truth.

So, for example, I drew a kind of provisional conclusion in which I can see that there is a very interesting answer to Wilson's repeated challenges to Hitchens--the challenge to assert a foundation for his humanistic moral probity. Since Wilson feels compelled to assert that his foundation consists of a Biblical character portrait of the divine which informs his morality, it naturally begs the question: Why is the portrait of Hitchens's character any less compelling than the portrait of the divine offered by the Bible? In the end, I'm not convinced that Hitchens loses even that battle.

The image of the divine drawn via a creative approach to interpreting scripture can be characterized this way and that way.

And what *is* the foundational image of the "divine" (as it were) of Hitchens' prophetic lightning bolts "from on high"? I'm pleased to report that Hitchens continues to found his morality on a truly refined wit and warm good humor, albeit coupled with the genuine (hot) interest in real-world human affairs that sometimes lashes out.

Sound familiar? It should. And: Is there some genuine, well-intentioned reason that this is supposed be one-upped, out of the box, by the fundamentalist Chistian moral foundation repeatedly cited by Wilson? I don't think so.

This is the special genius of Hitchens, and worthy of thoughtful consideration, and possibly emulation... though I would fain get all capital-'R' religious about it. And therein also lies the humility of Hitchens. I can see this, and it's pretty apparent Hitchens quietly and persistently knows this as well.

And--not forgetting this is a film review--this hopefully highlights why "Collision" is a wondrous good venue for Hitchens *and* the fundamentalist set.

If you ponder these things--and you want to see a good and proper launching point for apprehending Hitchens' place in the "new atheist" pantheon--see this movie.

Add to this that the film is lovingly edited and finely produced, and you have a real winner for all parties.


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