Mel Gibson on Christopher Hitchens: 'He's an Atheist, Right?'

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In honor of Christopher Hitchens, whose memorial is today, I present the ineffable Mel Gibson on the subject of our hero. This is from my interview with Gibson, posted last year, on his now-blessedly stalled Judah Maccabee biopic spectacular:

I mentioned to Gibson the Hitchens critique of Judah Maccabee. Hitchens argues, in essence, "No Judah, no Jesus," that Judaism at the time (2,100 years ago or so) would simply have been swamped by assimilationist forces, and would have disappeared before the birth of Jesus. And if Jesus had not been born into a traditional Jewish household... well, you can figure out  the rest.

"I can see where Hitchens is coming from, but he's pretty puny in his thoughts, because he left out one vital ingredient," Gibson said, "and that is that God can do what he damn well pleases! No matter what the Greeks did! And you know, he doesn't bring that into consideration. I think he thinks that way because he might be an atheist. He's an atheist, right?"

Right.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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