The resented theists (and even their atheist acolytes) just can't forgive Hitchens for his heretic remarks against religion, as always happens when there's direct criticism of so many other "sacred cows" of culture. Hitchens, I understand, was a literary critic, which may explain his unrestrained, confrontational style. Resentment usually arises towards any other critic that targets something very popular, as religion is.
In the case of the Salon piece by Curtis White, he tries to disqualify Hitchens as dishonest, and apparently the only proof he has to offer actually disqualifies White himself as dishonest. Here's the excerpt:
For example, William J. Hamblin wrote a thorough and admirably restrained review (“The Most Misunderstood Book: Christopher Hitchens on the Bible”) in which he held Hitchens to account for historical howlers of this kind:
In discussing the exodus, Hitchens dogmatically asserts: “There was no flight from Egypt, no wandering in the desert . . . , and no dramatic conquest of the Promised Land. It was all, quite simply and very ineptly, made up at a much later date. No Egyptian chronicle mentions this episode either, even in passing. . . . All the Mosaic myths can be safely and easily discarded.” These narratives can be “easily discarded” by Hitchens only because he has failed to do even a superficial survey of the evidence in favor of the historicity of the biblical traditions. Might we suggest that Hitchens begin with Hoffmeier’s Israel in Egypt and Ancient Israel in Sinai? It should be noted that Hoffmeier’s books were not published by some small evangelical theological press but by Oxford University—hardly a bastion of regressive fundamentalist apologetics. Hitchens’s claim that “no Egyptian chronicle mentions this episode [of Moses and the Israelites] either, even in passing” is simply polemical balderdash.
Hamblin is thorough, patient, relentless, but also, it seems to me, a little perplexed and saddened by Hitchens’s naked dishonesty and, in all probability, by his own feeling of impotence. You can hardly blame him. Criticism of this character would have, and surely should have, revealed Hitchens’s book for what it is ... if it hadn’t been published in The FARMS Review of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. Hitchens need never have feared the dulling of his reputation for intellectual dash and brio from that source.
But as it turns out with the Exodus story, Hitchens was entirely right, as the work of biblical archaelogist Israel Finkelstein has confirmed. It simply didn't happen and there's no evidence that it did.
And that's it, that's all that Curtis White would show of Hitchens' "dishonesty". The rest are just White's opinions disagreeing with Hitchens.
He also complains about Hitchens' words against the story of Abraham and Isaac for not mentioning "Kierkegaard’s complex, poetic, and deeply felt philosophical retelling of the story in 'Fear and Trembling'.
" Adding some literary style and psychological tangles from the characters does not hide the deeply immoral message of the original story. Retelling the story of an ISIS fighter as he prepares to behead an infidel in the name of Allah, no matter how "complex, poetic and deeply felt" the story is presented, does not change its sick perversion. It actually makes it worst.
Then there's the other claim in this thread about cheap tricks in Hitchens' argument when he quoted Cardinal Newman. Here's the excerpt in question from that debate:
My text from the Apologia: "The Catholic church," said Newman, "holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail and for all the many millions on it to die in extremist agony than that one soul, I will not say will be lost, but should commit one venial sin, should tell one willful untruth or should steal one farthing without excuse." You'll have to say it's beautifully phrased, ladies and gentlemen, but to me, and here's my proposition, what we have here, and picked from no mean source, is a distillation of precisely what is twisted and immoral in the faith mentality. Its essential fanaticism, its consideration of the human being as raw material and its fantasy of purity. Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well. I'll repeat that: created sick, and then ordered to be well. And over us, to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea. Greedy, exigent—exigent, I would say more than exigent—greedy for uncritical praise from dawn until dusk and swift to punish the original sins with which it so tenderly gifted us in the very first place. However, let no one say there's no cure: salvation is offered, redemption, indeed, is promised, at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties.
There's no cheap shot here, but a fairly good argument. He didn't disqualify Newman himself, whom he acknowledges as "rightly a great Christian thinker
", but Hitchens aims at religion when it "forces nice people to do unkind things and also makes intelligent people say stupid things
". He just seems to be paraphrasing the great Voltaire (a deist): "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities