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Great Christopher Hitchens Quotes

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.


The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is
not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the
dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is
then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confide
nt, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I wan
t nothing more.
The Portable Atheist
By trying to adjust to the findings that it once tried so viciously to ban and r
epress, religion has only succeeded in restating the same questions that undermi
ned it in earlier epochs. What kind of designer or creator is so wasteful and ca
pricious and approximate? What kind of designer or creator is so cruel and indif
ferent? Andmost of allwhat kind of designer or creator only chooses to reveal himsel
f to semi-stupefied peasants in desert regions?
The Portable Atheist
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belo
ngs now to the infancy of our species.
God Is Not Great
What happens to the faith healer and the shaman when any poor citizen can see th
e full effect of drugs or surgeries, administered without ceremonies or mystific
ations? Roughly the same thing as happens to the rainmaker when the climatologis
t turns up, or to the diviner from the heavens when schoolteachers get hold of e
lementary telescopes.
God Is Not Great
Religion looks forward to the destruction of the world. Perhaps half aware that i
ts unsupported arguments are not entirely persuasive, and perhaps uneasy about i
ts own greedy accumulation of temporal power and wealth, religion has never ceas
ed to proclaim the Apocalypse and the day of judgment.
God Is Not Great
Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobodynot even the might
y Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atomshad the smallest id
ea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our speci
es, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as we
ll as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educ
ated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the foun
ders of religion.
God Is Not Great
The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for eth
nic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, bu
t we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured
human mammals.
God Is Not Great
If god really wanted people to be free of [wicked thoughts], he should have take
n more care to invent a different species.
God Is Not Great
Is it too modern to notice that there is nothing [in the ten commandments] about
the protection of children from cruelty, nothing about rape, nothing about slav
ery, and nothing about genocide? Or is it too exactingly in context to notice that
some of these very offenses are about to be positively recommended?
God Is Not Great
Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microsco
pe, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important. Where once it used
to be able, by its total command of a worldview, to prevent the emergence of ri
vals, it can now only impede and retardor try to turn backthe measurable advances
that we have made.
Sometimes, true, it will artfully concede them. But this is to offer itself the
choice between irrelevance and obstruction, impotence or outright reaction, and,
given this choice, it is programmed to select the worse of the two.
Meanwhile, confronted with undreamed-of vistas inside our own evolving cortex, i
n the farthest reaches of the known universe, and in proteins and acids which co
nstitute our nature, religion offers either annihilation in the name of god, or
else the false promise that if we take a knife to our foreskins, or pray in the
right direction, or ingest pieces of wafer, we shall be saved.
God Is Not Great
Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.
God Is Not Great
Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solel
y upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient fa
ctors, 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.
God Is Not Great
Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophe
ts or redeemers or gurus actually said or did.
God Is Not Great
If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age o
f reason, we would be living in a quite different world.
God Is Not Great
I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps e
ntitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse t
o keep their fantasies to themselves.
Hitch-22
Faith is the surrender of the mind; it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender
of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It's our need to be
lieve, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard t
hat and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister
thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.
Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that coul
d not have been made or performed by a non-believer.
Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and
wisdom will come to you that way.
Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the `transcendent' and all who invite
you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity
for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Pictur
e all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stu
pidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will sup
ply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do no
t live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.