Wednesday’s World #2
“Between flattery and admiration there often flows a river of contempt.”
I’m sure that the American writer Minna Antirm would not have accused the British author Chris Hitchens of such an offense. He is, among many things, very candid. He does not mince words nor seek to hide his contempt behind empty flattery.
I found it interesting that in the book Christopher Hitchens edited, The Portable Atheist, that he provides such clear bias in his introductions of two men: Billy Graham and Chuck Templeton. As the two young evangelists filled stadiums with their preaching in the early 1940s, Templeton was thought by many to show more promise. Unfortunately, he would later walk away from the faith and fall out of fellowship with Graham.
In an introduction to a short excerpt from Templeton’s book A Farewall to God, Hitchens says Templeton is a “honest if simple man.” However, the words he uses to describe Billy Graham are: boring, racist, charlatan, mediocre, and demagogue. While I in no way expect Hitchens to agree with Graham’s message I find it concerning that he would use such vitriolic language of the beloved public servant whose advice and counsel has been sought by every president during his lifetime.
This reveals not only an extreme journalistic bias, but a boorish attitude towards anyone expressing faith. It appears to renounce the faith makes a person “honest if simple,” but to profess it makes one a boring racist charlatan mediocre demagogue:
“The road to Damascus was not and is not a one-way street. For many years, Charles Templeton (191502001) was the second string to the boring racist charlatan Billy Graham: addressing massive crowds in sports stadiums and allegedly bringing thousands of the credulous to Christ, there came a time when he found he could not participate in the racket any longer. His de-conversion is a testament from an honest if simple man, and also contains a close-up of the mediocre demagogue who has served as spiritual counselor to successive American presidents”
-Christopher Hitchens (The Portable Atheist, 2007)
Paul, an apostle—not from men or by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead — and all the brothers who are with me: To the churches of Galatia. Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ, [and are turning] to a different gospel— not that there is another [gospel], but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! As we have said before, I now say again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!
For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.
(The Apostle Paul, Galatians 1:1-10)