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Tribute to Christopher Hitchens - 2012 Global Atheist Conven

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Samuel B Harris (born April 9, 1967), American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist : One of the joys of living in a world filled with stupidity and hypocrisy was to see Hitch respond. Christophe Hitchens, 1949 - 2011 On Hypocrisy Is there anyone who would like to challenge me? (how you can justify wanting to take something away from people that gives meaning to 95% of the American people replace it with something that gives meaning to just 5% of the American people?)well, what an incredibly stupid question. you give me the awful impression, I hate have to say, of someone who hasn't read any of the arguments against your position, ever. (After Pastor Falwell's Death):The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you'll just get yourself called Reverend (In debates over "The Terri Schiavo case") Are you asking me or telling me? SCARBOROUGH: I'm asking you a question. Well, why don't you listen to what I have got to say, then? You're saying that they're ridiculous people. They're principals in this situation. I've had to be sitting in this chair for half-and-hour listening to you being a megaphone for frauds. And I'm giving you my response. (About Pastor Falwell) People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup. Guys stop. God bless us all, just stop and let's have a meaningful conversation instead of people talking on top of each other Don't invite me on and tell me to keep quiet. (In debates about comparing Bush and Ahmadinejad in Bill Maher Program) Your audience, which will clap at apparently anything, is frivolous. [oohs and groans from audience, Hitchens gives them the finger] Fuck you, fuck you. [groans continue] (Interview about Pastor Falwell) You took up all the time for my answer with your long, rather unlettered, question. Ohhhh! On Belief I think it was David Hume who put it slightly vulgarly, this was again about the virgin birth I think: which is more likely, that the whole natural order is suspended or that a Jewish minx should tell a lie? There has to be an answer to this kind of question. 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 the 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. In order to be Christian you have to believe that for 98,000 years our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, indigenous war, suffering, misery, all of that. For 98,000 heaven watches it with complete indifference and then 2,000 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, don't let's appear to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization, let's go the desert and have another revelation there." This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person. (On the evolution over a long period time) 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. On Fear 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, To demand this, to wish this to be true, is to wish to live as an abject slave. I mean to say it [religion] 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. And I'll tell you something, 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." On Reason One of the things I live for, is to return a stout and joyful non-serviam to this dictator, whom I'm pleased to find doesn't really exist but instead is the creation of those who want to install a theocracy in the real life where I can't participate, and I'm not gonna give them an inch. The second thing I live for is, if not exactly passing on my genes, taking part in activities that might allow those genes to be passed on. Call someone an Imam or a priest or reverend and there is nothing that they can't get away with in our cultrure, If I could change one thing it would be that the second would be, when someone gets up and says "I'm a person of faith", then they don't get respect for it, they expect... they think that's a respect producing statement, "I'm a person of faith" ... you know...I am a person who believe practically anything on no evidence at all. I think what I mainly live for is contemplating the misfortunes about people. That and vindication. Being proved repeatedly over and over again right when other people are wrong. That does a lot for me. On Absurdity If you want to get good people to do wicked things, you need religion. I do not think that any person looking at a newborn baby would think, "How wonderful, what a gift and now let's just start sawing away at its genitalia with a sharp stone." Who would give them that idea were it not the godly? And what kind of argument from design is this? Babies are not born beautiful, they're born ugly, they need to be sawn a bit because the handiwork of God is such garbage. Well honestly, Tertullian one of the church fathers said, that one of the great things about being in heaven was, you'll be able to watch the writhings and tortures of those who were sent to hell. You see why heaven is unpleasant? Why heaven isn't such funny? It seems to be rather dutiful, endless praise, endless worship, endless subjection, endless tedium. You think that the Lord himself after the first five billion years would have had enough of songs and choirs, No, it's gonna go on forever. Well I think Mockery of religion is one of the most essential things because to demystify supposedly 'holy text dictated by god' and show that they are man-made you have to show there internal inconsistencies and absurdities One of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority... it is an indispensable thing people can call it blasphemy if they like, but if they call it that they have to assume there is something to be blasphemed - some divine work, well I don't accept the premise. I just say you know what the Buddhist said to the hot dog vendor? You don't?! He says make me one with everything. You would ask, wait, wait, that's only part one, because then Buddhist hands over $50 bill and waits while he munches and nothing happens. Buddhist says to the hot dog vendor " OK, what about my change?" and Hot dog vendor says "Change comes only from within." I myself have never heard anything more profound than that. On Death I know what's coming. I know no one beats these odds and it's a matter of getting used to that and growing up and realizing that you are 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; It will happen to all of us, that at some point you get tapped on the shoulder and told, not just that the party's over, but slightly worse: the party's going on but you have to leave. And it's going on without you. That's the reflection that I think most upsets people about their demise. All right, then, because it might make us feel better, let's pretend the opposite. Instead, you'll get tapped on the shoulder and told, Great news: this party's going on forever and you can't leave. You've got to stay; the boss says so. And he also insists that you have a good time. ...to me, the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can't give way, is an offer of something not worth having. And I'd urge you to look at those people who tell you, at your age, that you're dead till you believe as they do what a terrible thing to be telling to children! And that you can only live And that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority don't think of that as a gift. Think of it as a poisoned chalice. Push it aside however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way. Thank you. "How much longer you gonna do this?" Till I drop. And now return to the rest of clear response of Christopher to that "incredibly stupid question": First, I've said repeatedly that this stuff cannot be taken away from people. It is their favorite toy and it will remain so as long as Freud said in The Future of an Illusion it will remain that way as long as we're afraid of death and have that problem which is I think likely to Second, I hope I've made it clear that I'm perfectly happy for people to have these toys and to play with them at home and hug them to themselves and so on and share them with other people who come around and play with the toys, so that's absolutely fine. They are not to make me play with these toys. I will not play with the toys. Don't bring the toys to my house. Don't say my children must play with these toys. Don't say - my toys might be a condom, here we go again - are not allowed by their toys. I'm not going to have any of that. Enough with clerical and religious bullying and intimidation. Is that finally clear? Have I got that across? Thank you. In memory of Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

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Duration: 11 minutes and 9 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Views: 484
Posted by: sepehr on Apr 16, 2014

The 2012 Global Atheist Convention's moving tribute to Christopher Hitchens.

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