Inside Catholic is carrying a repeat of a review of God is not great. Reviewer Benjamin D Wicker suggests it belongs in the 18th Century, when it was still possible to claim that religion poisons everything.
That was before the French Revolution, before Stalin, before Hitler, before Mao, before Pol Pot; in short, before any actual attempt to politically eliminate either Christianity in particular or all religion in general, and set up a regime based entirely on secular foundations. Before it was ever tried in earnest, the intellectual atheist could wade through many a hypothetical reverie of the innocent and Edenic future of practical atheism.
The article explores Christopher Hitchin’s brief response to the appalling record of atheistic regimes, and concludes:
If Hitchens really wants to be an atheist, he should have girded his loins before taking up his pen, and taken a good, long, hard, sobering, honest look at the blood and darkness of the 20th century, almost all of it done in the name of unbelief.If he had, he would have to conclude that it is not religion that poisons everything, but human beings that poison everything, including religion and atheism. They also poison garden clubs, baseball teams, industrial corporations, moose lodges, academic departments, and charitable trusts. In short, wherever one finds humanity, one also finds inhumanity. But that is a point for Christianity — indeed, a point of doctrine. The doctrine of original sin, noted Chesterton, “is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.”For both believers and unbelievers, it is a sobering thought that the same kind of hypocrisy, cruelty, sloth, cowardice, pride, short-sightedness, shallowness, injustice, and greed is found among believers and unbelievers. The error of Hitchens is to assume that because he finds all these vices among believers, it is belief that causes vice — even among unbelievers.