90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Christopher Hitchens on Religion
photo

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.

Guests:

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

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Al Dorman

    This is an epic show.

  • http://twitter.com/tati_per Tatiana P

    Amazing! I love how Mr. Hitchens carefully separates stupid claims from serious arguments. Too bad Tom’s own opinion and religious belief put a tarnish on his professionalism as an interviewer. I always admired Tom even when he occasionally slipped up and showed his own opinions about his guests, but in this interview it’s just too awkward to ignore.

  • Jared

    ‘An epic show’: I agree. A episode EVERYONE should listen to. What a brilliant man.

    • jpimentle82

      that would be… “an” episode… not “a”.

  • Wgpphoto

    Anyone could possibly argue with the opinions in Christopher Hitchins’ book,- “god is not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything”.  No one, and I mean NO ONE, can argue with the historical facts he presents.  

    Hitchins and his book put me in mind of Captain Robert Chamblet Adams.  Adams definition of Secularism is flawless and I defy anyone to dispute it:

    “Secularism builds on the foundation of four rights:

    The right to think for one’s self, which most Christians now admit, at least in theory.

    The right to differ without which the right to think is worth nothing.

    The right to assert differences of opinion, without which the right to differ is of no practical use.

    The right to debate all vital opinion, without which there is no intellectual equality – no defense against the State or the Pulpit”.    

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

 
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment
 
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
1 Comment