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How Religion Poisons Everything

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Date and time
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Christopher Hitchens makes a case against religion. With a close reading of major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish. In God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix. Christopher Hitchens, a widely published polemicist and frequent radio and TV commentator, is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. Hitchens debates Timothy P. Jackson, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Emory University's Candler School of Theology; the debate is moderated by Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker. Co-sponsored by The Center for the Study of Law & Religion at Emory University

Christopher Eric Hitchens is an author, journalist and literary critic. He has been a columnist at *Vanity Fair*, *The Atlantic*, *World Affairs*, *The Nation*, *Slate*, *Free Inquiry*, and a variety of other media outlets. Hitchens is also a political observer, whose books the latest being *God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything* have made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits. In 2009 Hitchens was listed by *Forbes* magazine as one of the "25 most influential liberals in U.S. media." In 2007, on his 58th birthday, retaining his British citizenship, Hitchens also became an American citizen after residing in the US for a quarter century. Hitchens is known for his ardent admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, and for his excoriating critiques of Mother Teresa, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Henry Kissinger, amongst others. He is an anti-theist, and he describes himself as a believer in the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism and reason. In September 2008, he was made a media fellow at the Hoover Institution. Hitchens is currently writing his memoirs, due for publication in the spring of 2010.
Professor Jackson's, PhD, research focuses on moral philosophy and theology, especially the relationship between secular and Christian conceptions of truth, goodness, justice, freedom, and mercy. He is currently working on a book on health care ethics.
Tucker was born in 1955 in Monroeville, Alabama in the age of segregation; she did not attend an integrated school until she was a junior in high school. She then attended Auburn University and pursued double major of English and journalism and wrote for the student newspaper, *The Plainsman*. After graduation in 1976, she applied for a job at *the Atlanta Journal-Constitution *(AJC) where she was hired as a reporter. In 1980, she left Atlanta and the AJC for a job at the *The Philadelphia Inquirer*. Shortly thereafter, Tucker decided she wanted to be a foreign correspondent in Africa, but *the Inquirer* felt she was too inexperienced for the assignment. Tucker set out on her own, traveling around Africa and freelancing for six months. Realizing she had had enough of the experience, she returned to Atlanta where she was rehired as a columnist by *the AJC*. Tucker was selected as Nieman Fellow by Harvard University in 1988. She was promoted to her current position as editorial page editor of the AJC in 1990. In 1993, the National Women's Political Caucus awarded Tucker their Exceptional Merit Media Award. In 2005, Tucker received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College. Tucker currently writes two columns each week for *the AJC *appearing on Wednesday and Sunday. Her columns are further syndicated to over 40 U.S. newspapers and appear on the AJC's website. Those columns earned her nominations for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004 and 2006 before her eventual win in 2007.