To the Editor:
It is with some surprise that I find myself writing in defense of Christopher Hitchens; I am not a fan. But Terry Golway’s review of God Is Not Great [“Hitchens Huffs and Puffs; God’s House Still Standing,” June 11] (a book I haven’t read, by the way) is so intellectually dishonest that it demands a reply.
Mr. Golway is correct to point out that crimes are committed in the name of many other beliefs besides belief in God, but he refuses to acknowledge that because belief in God is unassailable, it can be used to justify crime in a way that no mere philosophy or political system ever can. It is not enough to compare Das Kapital to the Torah; not even the most dedicated communist would assert that Karl Marx was moved to write by a supernatural, omnipotent, inerrant power that cannot be gainsaid. It is the absolute, inarguable nature of faith in God’s existence that makes religion more powerful and more dangerous than other belief systems.
When Marxists in denial tell us that the reason communism has never been successful is that it has never been put into pure practice, we snicker. Why should we take Mr. Golway any more seriously when he contends that “human beings screw up religion, not the other way around,” inferring, as he does, that a supernatural God (whose existence is unprovable) created perfect religion, to which we fallible humans can only aspire?