One of the most controversial man, Christopher Hitchens, in his letters, “Letters to a Young Contrarian” (2001), implies that people of the contemporary society should avoid thinking other than for themselves by taking on the pathway of being a contrarian. His purpose is to help “individuals on how they think, and not what they think by making them a more independent and questioning person” (63). The letters take us through a pathway of what is means to be a contrarian. He uses great personal and current examples to explain why individuals should have a voice for their own. Two of the most important topics in which he heavily discusses about are religion and racism. Throughout Hitchens letters, he uses pathos and logos appeals to create arguments in which defy religion and racism in an effective manner.
One of the most debatable topics in Hitchens’s letters is about religion.Hitchens argues his point on why he is against religion using an ethos approach. He gains credibility with the audience by mentioning, “I can speak with more experience of the Christian propaganda, since I was baptized ass an Anglican, educated at a Methodist boarding school with compulsory religious instruction and was once received into the Greek Orthodox Church for reasons that are irrelevant here.” (59) While I do agree that he has gained some credibility being that he once experienced a life of what it’s like to be a believer of God, I don’t think it makes his argument any stronger.
In this way, Hitchens argue his beliefs and appealing to the audience’s emotions. “In some ways I feel sorry for racists and for religious fanatics, because they miss the point of being human, and deserve a sort of pity. But then I harden my heart, and decide to hate them all the more, because of the misery they inflict and because of the contemptible excuse they advance for doing so. It especially annoys me when racists are accused of discrimination. The ability to discriminate is a precious faculty; by judging all members of one ‘race’ to be the same, the racist precisely shows himself incapable of discrimination.” (110)
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Topic: Hitchens’s Concepts of Religion and Politics
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