Christopher Hitchens · 307 pages
Rating: (74.3K votes)
“Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely soley upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.”
“The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.”
“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”
“Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.”
“One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion, and one would like to think—though the connection is not a fully demonstrable one—that this is why they seem so uninterested in sending fellow humans to hell.”
“Thus, though I dislike to differ with such a great man, Voltaire was simply ludicrous when he said that if god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. The human invention of god is the problem to begin with.”
“God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was quite the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.”
“My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it, but you can't disprove it either.”
“Nothing optional -- from homosexuality to adultery -- is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishment) have a repressed desire to participate.”
“Why do humans exist? A major part of the answer: because Pikaia Gracilens survived the Burgess decimation.”
“Philosophy begins where religion ends, just as by analogy chemistry begins where alchemy runs out, and astronomy takes the place of astrology.”
“Nothing proves the man-made character of religion as obviously as the sick mind that designed hell.”
“There are days when I miss my old convictions as if they were an amputated limb. But in general I feel better, and no less radical, and you will feel better too, I guarantee, once you leave hold of the doctrinaire and allow your chainless mind to do its own thinking.”
“Here is the point about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith.
We do not hold our convictions dogmatically. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true - that religion has caused innumerate people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow.”
“The most educated person in the world now has to admit-- I shall not say confess-- that he or she knows less and less but at least knows less and less about more and more.”
“I leave it to the faithful to burn each other's churches and mosques and synagogues, which they can be always relied upon to do”
“We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books.”
“Evolution has meant that our prefrontal lobes are too small, our adrenal glands are too big, and our reproductive organs apparently designed by committee; a recipe which, alone or in combination, is very certain to lead to some unhappiness and disorder.”
“The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species.”
“Past and present religious atrocities have occured not because we are evil, but because it is a fact of nature that the human species is, biologically, only partly rational. Evolution has meant that our prefrontal lobes are too small, our adrenal glands are too big, and our reproductive organs apparently designed by committee; a recipe which, alone or in combination, is very certain to lead to some unhappiness and disorder.”
“The essential principle of totalitarianism is to make laws that are impossible to obey.”
“In order to be a part of the totalitarian mind-set, it is not necessary to wear a uniform or carry a club or a whip. It is only necessary to wish for your own subjection, and to delight in the subjection of others.”
“Evolution is, as well as smarter than we are, infinitely more callous and cruel, and also capricious.”
“There but for the grace of God,' said John Bradford in the sixteenth century, on seeing wretches led to execution, 'go I.' What this apparently compassionate observation really means--not that it really 'means' anything--is, 'There by the grace of God goes someone else.”
“23for f all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 g and are justified h by his grace as a gift, i through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God j put forward as k a propitiation l by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in m his divine forbearance he had passed over n former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
“Joe lulls the man into the afterlife, places his head gently on the ground, closes the lids over his empty eyes, retrieves his gun and continues to fight for a freedom he would never be fully entitled to.”
“The memory of you saddened my joys, but consoled my sorrows.”
“Having sex multiple times on the first sleepover does not count as more than one “date”…”
“I miss talking to you.'
'I can't imagine why. We haven't talked about anything particularly interesting in years.'
'I thought it was interesting. Perhaps I like talking about boring things with you.”
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