Christopher Hitchens on Religion

Christopher Hitchens has never been a friend to religion. The sharp-tongued British-born critic and provocateur called Mother Theresa “the Ghoul of Calcutta.” He was early and loud in denouncing “Islamic fascism.” He’s a dukes-up-on-all-fronts anti-theist.

With his new book, the gloves are really off. He’s called it: “god is not Great.” Subtitle: How Religion Poisons Everything. You may love it. Billions do.

But Hitchens calls organized faith “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism and bigotry.” And that’s just for starters.

This hour On Point: Christopher Hitchens versus God.


Christopher Hitchens, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and author of the book, “god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.”

Stephan Munsey, Senior Pastor of the Family Christian Center, which has 10,000 members and author of “Unleashing Your God-Given Dreams.”;

Bill Leonard, professor of church history and dean of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Quotes from the Show:

“That’s part of what I’m criticizing in this book — the presumption that faith is a virtue.” Christopher Hitchens

“It’s only in the United States that there’s a constitution that separates the church from the state.” Christopher Hitchens

“It’s part of a change in the zeitgeist. I think there’re a lot of people, very great number of people … who are fed up with religious bullying and coercion and clerical lecturing and with the damage being done to civilization by faith. They want to find a way of pushing back at it.” Christopher Hitchens

“Religion comes from the terrified infancy of our species. … [It] is innately coercive as well as innately incoherent. Because it’s man-made, there’s an infinite variety of it for them all, and these sects proceed to quarrel among themselves, religious warfare having being one of the great retardances of civilization of the time we’ve been alive and very much to this day.” Christopher Hitchens

“You can believe in God, be a deist, as Thomas Jefferson was for example, … but not believe in religion. … Religion means that you claim that you know God’s mind.” Christopher Hitchens

“It [religion] allows people to avoid the consequences and the reality of what they need to be dealing with.” Listener

“He can’t go up against the testimony of believers. … He’s out to prove that my testimony and my salutations of my belief in a God is dead wrong. And I do agree with him on the fact that I think religion has poisoned a lot of things because religion is a man-made issue. … The key is that it’s not fair upon this planet, to human mankind, to discredit a personal testimony … .” Stephan Munsey

“I’m unsure how you can look at nature and the things that are unexplainable by scientists and unexplainable by mankind and not see that there is a God that has formed these things on earth.” Listener

“I do think [the book] gives a short shrift to the dissenting Christians.” Bill Leonard

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