What is this standard of absolute, unchanging goodness that the English are rejecting? Hold onto your hat, gentle reader, because it's a doozy: People are gambling on Good Friday. Oh, the humanity!
Hitchens doesn't appear to have anything against gambling per se, it's the fact that English gamblers are not going out of their way to respect his particular literary metaphor for Hitchens' standard of absolute, unchanging goodness du jour.
In his criticism of his brother's book, Peter extols the virtues of doubt, reason and change:
But it is obvious to anyone that vast numbers of believers in every faith are filled with doubt, and open to reason. The Church of England’s greatest martyr, Thomas Cranmer, was burned at the stake for changing his mind once too often.You can cut the hypocrisy with a knife. Peter is so enamored of the crude literal meaning of a painting of a description of an allegorical event, and so certain of his moral judgment, that it is the failure to respect this literary metaphor thrice removed (at least!) from his theology that he would damn his entire society with the relentless mockery he criticizes in (and no doubt learned from) his brother.
The noblest thinker of that Church, Richard Hooker, enthroned reason, alongside tradition and scripture, as one of the governing principles of faith, and warned against crude literal use of the Bible to justify or prohibit any action.
This is the biggest reason why I'm anti-theism and anti-religion. I've never met a religious person — aside from those whose religion consists of nothing but vacuous, vaguely comforting slogans — who wasn't a complete fucking retard on the subject of his religion. Not just mistaken or confused, but lobotomy-level stupid.
If Christianity is your preferred literary metaphor for your ethics, and you consider gambling on Good Friday to be "obscene" because it's contrary to a painting of a description of that literary metaphor of an allegorical event, then don't fucking gamble on Good Friday. What other people do, those who use different literary metaphors, is no more of Hitchens' business than his choice of metaphor is any of my business.
[h/t to Why Don't You Blog?]