Best of Christopher Hitchens
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Now, I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in the world is religion and organized religion. Absolutely convinced of that. And I think it should be -- religion -- treated with ridicule, and hatred, and contempt. And I claim that right. So when I say -- as the subtitle of my book -- that I think religion poisons everything, I'm not just doing what publishers like and coming up with a provocative subtitle. I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity. It says: we can't be moral without 'big brother', without a totalitarian permission, means we can't be good to one another without this, we must be afraid, we must also be forced to love someone whom we fear -- the essence of sadomasochism, the essence of abjection, the essence of the master-slave relationship and that knows that death is coming and can't wait to bring it on. I say that is evil, and though I do, some nights, stay home I enjoy more the nights when I go out and fight against this ultimate wickedness and ultimate stupidity. Is it not the case, that the spread of Christianity, about which you spoke so warmly and affectingly in your opening remarks, attributing it to the innate truth of the bible story, was spread by that means, or because emperor Constantine decided to make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire? Which in your view contributed more to the spread of the faith? >> Uh, the holy spirit... I rest my case. You give me the awful impression of, I hate to have to say it, of someone who hasn't read any of the arguments against your position, ever. >> So what if God actually exists, Sir? Would he not have been good to you? No. He wouldn't. Because if that were true it would mean that I had an eternal, supervising parent who would never die and let me get on with my life, never let me grow up, keep me under surveillance -- >> But you have, sir. -- and supervision every minute of my life and constantly ask me to be thanking and praising him. >> Yeah, but ...That wasn't part of the scenario. I think that would be like living in North Korea. I think it would be a horrible outcome. >> Well, I'm not sure that the God is Kim Jong-Il but what if what I said is true ? Ask Kim Jong-Il, he has a different opinion. Let's say that the consensus is that our species, we being the higher primates -- Homo Sapiens has been on this planet for at least a hundred thousand years. In order to be christian you have to believe that for ninety-eight thousand years our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth most other people having a life expectancy of about twenty-five, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, viciousness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for ninety-eight thousand years, heaven watches it with complete indifference. And then, two thousand years ago, thinks, "That's enough of that. We should, it's time to intervene. The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice, somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle-east." Not "Let's appear to the Chinese.", for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. "Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there." This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person. If it was true, it would have to further implications: It would have to mean that the designer of this plan was unbelievably lazy and inept, or unbelievably callous, and cruel, and indifferent, and capricious, and that is the case with every argument for design and every argument for revelation, and intervention, that has ever been made. All of this could be part of a plan, there is no way an atheist can prove it's not. But it's some plan, isn't it? With mass destruction, pitiless extermination, annihilation going on all the time, and all of this set in motion on a scale that is absolutely beyond our imagination, in order that the pope can tell people not to jerk off. (Laughter) In his comment, one of the few he's made, of the institutionalization of rape and torture and maltreatment of children, in catholic institutions, he said: "It's a very severe crisis which involves us", he said, in the following: "-- in the need for applying to these victims, the most loving, pastoral care --" Well, I'm sorry, they've already had that. The rape and torture of children is not something to be relativized. It's not something to be excused as a few bad priests. It's the crime that cries out for punishment. It's the thing that if we were accused of on this side of the house we would die rather than admit, and if we were guilty of it, we'd kill ourselves. >> Your view would be the same as mine, that child sacrifice is reprehensible, would it not? Did Abraham think child sacrifice was an OK idea? >> He obeyed God, and God intervened. The ultimate question is: Does god think child sacrifice -- since he sent his own son to be the ultimate sacrifice? He appears to be in favor of it. >> He does appear to be in favor of it, but in context -- You and I agree that we are not? Merely asking -- Not scorning the three delightful children who result, who are everything to me, and who are my only chance of even a glimpse of a second life, let alone an immortal one. And I'll tell you something, if I was told to sacrifice them to prove my devotion to god, if I was told to do what old monotheists were told to do, and admire the man who said, "Yes, I'll gut my kid to show my love of god", I'd say: " No. Fuck you." What about Fräulein Friesel, in Austria, whose father unwilling to get out of the way, kept her in a dungeon where she didn't daylight for twenty-four years, and came down most nights to rape and sodomize her, often in front of the children who were the victims of the previous attacks and offenses. Imagine how she must have begged him, imagine how she must have pleaded, imagine for how long, imagine how she must have prayed every day, how she must have beseeched heaven, imagine, for twenty-four years, and no, no answer at all. Nothing. Nothing! Now, you say, "That's all right that she went through that, because she'll get a better deal in another life?" Are you, I have to ask you, if you can be morally or ethically serious and postulate such a question. No, that had to happen, and heaven did watch it with indifference, because it knows that score will, later on, be settled, so it was well worth going through it, she'll have a better time, next time. I don't see how you can look anyone, anyone in the face, or live with yourself, and say anything so hideously, wickedly, immoral as that, or even imply it. There, that's my answer. >> Do you believe, that that God, if he's provided everything for you, has rights on your life? NO ! >> Because? Why should he? What gives him this right? >> Because he owns you. He's created everything for you, he's kept you alive -- Well, I don't want to be owned, I don't want to be owned and I don't recognize anyone's right to own me. >> So ownership is a bad thing? Of people, yes. >> Ah, OK. It's widely considered. I know the bible does call for slavery as it calls for genocide, but that doesn't make it right. It is a horrible idea, that there is somebody who owns us, who makes us, who supervises us, waking and sleeping, who knows our thoughts, who can convict us of thought-crime, -- thought crime -- just for what we think, who can judge us while we sleep, for things that might occur to us in our dreams, who can create us sick, as apparantly we are, and then order us on pain of eternal torture, to be well again. To demand this, to wish this to be true, is to wish to live as an abject slave. You've made the worst concession already, you've already said you're a slave, so -- >> Well, absolutely I -- After that, mere obedience to order is a small affair. >> I readily admit that I'm a slave. I'm a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm glad of your chains. >> Yeah, well... You must leave me out of it, I don't want to be told that I have to obey these laws too, or that my children have to be taught this in school, or that laws have to be written to ratify the bizarre beliefs of a cult like yours. >> Well, but... That's what I need you to understand, if you're quite happy to believe this, why can't you keep it to yourself? >> Why can't you keep your atheism to yourself? Because the religious won't just allow me to, because every time I open the paper there's another instance of theocratic encroachment on free society, which I won't put up with. Up with which, I will not put, if that's clear. What about the most important minority in the history of the world? Those who have never believed in god, those who believe that ethical life is possible without religion. We have to be insulted and outraged every day by what we see and what we read. By slaughter and murder, slaughter and murder and barbarism and insult and superstitious nonsense, we do not reply in kind, we don't say, "We'll go and kill you if you're going to insult us like this." Do we get no credit for saying this? When has anyone ever said what's it like to be insulted as someone thinks that civilization is a real thing? Why is it always interfaith, why is it always interdenominational? Why can't we say that all of these cults are equal and equivalent glimpses of the untrue? I know what's coming, I know no one sees these odds. and it's a matter of getting used to that and growing up and realizing that you're expelled from your mother's uterus as if shot from a cannon towards a barn door studded with old nail files and rusty hooks. It's a matter of how you use up the intervening time in an intelligent and ironic way, and try not to do anything ghastly to your fellow creatures. I think it will one day be admitted with shame that it might have been in error to say that AIDS is bad as a disease, very bad, but not quite as bad as condoms are bad or not as immoral in the same way. (Applause) I say it, I say it in the presence of his grace, and I say it to his face the preachings of his church are responsible for the death and suffering and misery of millions of his brother and sister Africans, and he should apologize for it. He should show some shame. (Applause) There's another immoral injunction: Go love your own enemies ! Don't be loving mine, my enemies are the theocratic fascists, I don't love them, I want to destroy them. They're condemning my friend, Stephen Fry, for his nature, they're saying, "You couldn't be a member of our church, you're borne in sin." He's not being condemned for what he's done, he's being condemned for what he is. You're a child made in the image of god -- Oh no, you're not; you're a faggot. And you can't join your church and you can't go to heaven. This is disgraceful, it's inhuman, it's obscene, and it comes from a clutch of hysterical, sinister virgins, who've already betrayed their charge in the children of their own church. (Hurrays & Applause ) >> I would posit to you, Christopher, that there is no fundemental difference, between what the Israelites did to the Amalekites and their surrounding neighbors or enemies than what the United States did, justly, in going into Iraq, whether we did it principally for moral reasons, it certainly had a moral, uh -- Can you possibly, for one second, be morally serious as a human being, and say that? >> Well, yes, I can. What Iraqis did we exterminate? What Iraqis did we enslave? What Iraqi virgins did we keep for our soldiers, having killed the rest of their families? What are you talking about, sir? >> That's what I said... You took up all the time for my answer with your long, rather unlettered, question. If you want to get good people to do wicked things, you need religion. What I mean by that, I mean to say that, who will, when they see a new born baby, arriving in their life, if anyone's ever thought, even myself, "Well maybe there is something to this, look at the perfection of this little bundle..." But I tell you what, though, before we go any further, we need to get a sharp knife or a stone from somewhere and start hacking away at the genitalia of this little bundle. Because if we don't, we won't be doing god's will. Now where -- No moral person would do such a thing unless they thought it was divinely warranted. >> Christopher, I've got to call you down on referring to circumcision as genital mutilation. My son cried more at his first haircut than he did at his "bris". And statistically... You weren't doing it right, then. >> Statistically, the only long-term effect that it seems to have on people is that it increases their chances of winning a Nobel prize. I can't, I can't find the compulsory mutilation of the genitals of children as subject for humor in that way. What flippancy, in that way -- What if a muslim were to say to you, just now, "My little girl cried more at her first haircut, than when I cut off her clitoris." What would you think of me if I was to say such a disgusting thing? That a person as humane as yourself can sit here and think of that as a fit subject for humor, shows what I mean: Religion makes morally normal people say and do disgusting and wicked things, and you've just proved my point. (Applause) >> I want to make it clear in our closing moments here, Christopher, I don't consider you an enemy, I don't consider you -- I'm very sorry to hear that. >> I know, because you want me to be your enemy -- Excuse me, you ARE my enemy. >> Well, but you're not my enemy. How can you figure that? >> No, because I don't feel the need to have to silence Christopher Hitchens. Well, you don't have a chance of doing that. I don't mean that at all. But I mean, your preachments are evil and are a direct threat to the survival of civilization. So, if you don't consider me an enemy, you don't know an enemy when you see or hear one. The argument for theism that, not only can we establish this prime mover's existence, but we can show, by some form of induction, that he intervenes in wars, that he answers prayers, that he cares who we sleep with and in what position, what food we eat and on what days, is a ridiculous proposition, it's a claim to a truth that no primate can claim to make. Primates who claim to know it should be distrusted. Great damage has been done and continues to be done by such people and by such ideas. You're better off thinking for yourself and taking all the risks, and I might add, all the pleasures that will come from that. The most overrated of the virtues is faith. The metaphysical claims of religion are untrue. Thank you.
Duration: 14 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: United States
Posted by: rianaa on Apr 15, 2011
This man makes me proud I am a human.
Hats off to your intellect and integrity, Mr. Hitchens !!
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