Christopher Hitchens and Al Sharpton had a debate on TV's Hardball a few days ago (video of the event can be found here and here) and during that debate Hitchens started pointing out things like how bad the Ten Commandments are and how it's absurd to think the place Moses and the Hebrews had just left, Egypt, didn't have its own laws and ethics. Al Sharpton pooh-poohed Hitchens points saying that's just religion, not God. Hitchens was basically saying the Bible was a load of crap and Sharpton didn't argue that point. I wonder why Hitch didn't point that out and ask Sharpton, "are you a deist or a Christian?" If Sharpton isn't going to defend the Bible, then where does he get his vision of what God is?
Al Sharpton backed off into a position that, for all we know from his current argument, could have been a deist position or a Hindu position or a Muslim position. He did not defend the Bible because he knew he couldn't. This a common tactic used by modern Christians in these debates. Christians, as well as Jews and Muslims, need to be called on it. Al Sharpton is supposed to be a Pentecostal, not a deist, Hindu or Muslim. His autobiography is even called "Go and Tell Pharaoh."
By not dealing with Hitchens Biblical criticism, by explicitly dismissing it as "just religion - which could be wrong" he leaves behind anything that could define what he meant by God. What is God if not defined by a religion? A Christian really can't be dismissing the Bible and criticism of it as "just religion." It's suppose to be his religion.
If you agree, then the next time you use the name "Al Sharpton" make it a link to this blog post so that its title: "Al Sharpton admits the Bible is a bunch of crap" shows up on a Google search for Sharpton's name. Or, write your own Sharpton blog with a similar title and I'll link you.
Sharpton accused Hitchens of attacking religion rather than God, but the whole idea of what God is which is espoused by Christians, Jews and Muslims comes from that Old Testament description which includes giving the Hebrews the Ten Commandments. Other religions, like Buddhism, don't necessarily have a God concept.
Hitchens' book is called "God is not Great" and Sharpton fixated on it. But since Hitchens doesn't believe in god, it is clear that he is really criticizing religion, not a God that doesn't exist except as a concept in such religions.
I'd have to admit to being somewhat agnostic about some kind of "intelligence" underlying "creation." But any assertion beyond "maybe there was an intelligence that designed the universe" requires evidence, and that's where all religions go off into crazy land. They go too far in making claims for that "intelligence" that they have no right to make. The definition Sharpton wanted to use is too minimal to mean anything religious and can't be argued with, we can only argue against the mentally anthropic projections people put on the cause of the universe, those assumptions that some entity "desired," "planned," "wanted," "willed," and "designed" this universe. It could be Einstein's God they mean and Richard Dawkins dealt with that one in his book.
Hitch should have just said "yes, I'm arguing against religion not God. Are you or are you not religious? What is religion to you any way?"