On October 22, The King’s College played host to a debate between Dinesh D’Souza, noted author and member of the Catholic League’s board of advisors, and popular British atheist writer Christopher Hitchens. The two men met at the New York Society for Ethical Culture to discuss the question “Is Christianity the Problem?” The Catholic League’s Kiera McCaffrey was in attendance for the battle of the minds.
Both Hitchens and D’Souza are crack debaters, so the audience expected a lively evening and was not disappointed. Those accustomed to hearing Hitchens manipulate the truth to support his arguments weren’t disappointed either. Blaming Christianity for all the world’s ills, as he is wont to do, Hitchens attempted to convince the audience that the Nazis were really Christians. To support his preposterous claim (which he has trotted out before) he told the audience that Joseph Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister was a Catholic who was excommunicated by the Catholic Church not for holding a leadership role in the Nazi party, but for marrying a Protestant. In truth, Goebbels left the Church when he married his Protestant bride in 1931—before the Nazis’ rise to power. But Hitchens is prone to making the sort of charges that draw a guffaw from the crowd and then quickly moving on to something else.
For his part, D’Souza engaged the crowd with selections of the arguments he offers in his latest book, What’s So Great About Christianity (for more information, see pp. 8-9). Particularly strong were his rebuttals of Hitchens’ preposterous claim that Christianity is in some way responsible for the atrocities perpetuated by Joseph Stalin. D’Souza also countered Hitchens’ statement that whenever an atheist makes a moral decision in our time, he is doing it without being influenced by Christianity. D’Souza pointed out the pervading influence of Christianity in our culture and suggested Hitchens and others are reaping the benefits of the faith’s moral fiber without being aware of it.
Anyone wishing to watch the debate in full may do so by visiting The King’s College’s website at www.tkc.edu/debate