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.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 2, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley addresses the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone/AP)

We talk to Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor and now Democratic candidate for the presidency. He’s been tough on Trump – and on his fellow Democrats.

Sep 2, 2015
Actor Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar, in the Netflix Original Series "Narcos." (Daniel Daza/Netflix via AP)

A new Netflix series “Narcos” takes on the story of the rise of the “King of Cocaine” — Pablo Escobar. We’ll look at drug trafficking then and now.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 1, 2015
Oliver Sacks (Elena Seibert)

Oliver Sacks, celebrated neurologist and best-selling author, has died at 82. We’ll listen back to our remarkable 2013 interview with Oliver Sacks on life and aging.

 
Sep 1, 2015
Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 31, 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)

The scramble for the Arctic. President Obama’s in Alaska. We’ll look at the stakes.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments
 
Do You Recognize Amazon’s Workplace Culture? Tell Us!
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015

Do you recognize the workplace conditions described in a recent New York Times piece on Amazon? We want to hear from you!

More »
5 Comments