Christopher Hitchens quotes

  • Even if I accepted that Jesus - like almost every other prophet on record - was born of a virgin, I cannot think that this proves the divinity of his father or the truth of his teachings. The same would be true if I accepted that he had been resurrected.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Jesus #Father #Teaching

  • I'm not afraid of being dead, that's to say there's nothing to be afraid of. I won't know I'm dead, would be my strong conviction. And if I find that I'm alive in any way at all, that'll be a pleasant surprise. I quite like surprises.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Strong #Would Be #Alive

  • If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Religious #Children #Age

  • One can't live without fear, it's a question of what is your attitude towards fear? I'm afraid of a sordid death. I'm afraid that I will die in an ugly or squalid way, and cancer can be very vigorous in that respect.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Attitude #Cancer #Ugly

  • I'm not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Religious #Atheist #Church

  • If people I've never met or don't know say that what I've written or done or said means anything to them, then I'm happy to take it at face value, for once. It cheers me up.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Cheer #Mean #People

  • High moral character is not a precondition for great moral accomplishments.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Character #Accomplishment #Moral

  • I'd like to prove to other people that it's not the end of everything to be diagnosed with cancer.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Cancer #People #Ends

  • Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Uplifting #Strong #Atheist

  • I have a strong constitution which has served me quite well, though if I hadn't had such a strong one I might have led a more healthy life perhaps.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Strong #Healthy #Might

  • What is it you most dislike? Stupidity, especially in its nastiest forms of racism and superstition.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Racism #Stupidity #Superstitions

  • If you've led a rather bohemian and rackety life, as I have, it's precisely the cancer that you'd expect to get. That's a bit of a yawn.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Cancer #Bohemian

  • Human beings are pattern-seeking animals who will prefer even a bad theory or a conspiracy theory to no theory at all.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Animal #Patterns #Conspiracy

  • The thing about religion is that it's the first and the worst. The worst because it's the first.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Firsts #Worst

  • Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Courage #Selfish #Science

  • Religion makes intelligent people say and do wacky things, believe and affirm crazy things.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Crazy #Believe #Intelligent

  • A virgin can conceive. A dead body can walk again. Your leprosy can be cured. The blind can see. Nonsense. It’s not moral to lie to children. It’s not moral to lie to ignorant, uneducated people and tell them that if they only would believe nonsense, they can be saved. It’s immoral.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Children #Lying #Believe

  • If asked my opinion about virginity, I would say, "I'm opposed to it." I don't think it deserves to be celebrated, at any rate. Or at least, if I'm not opposed, I'm very highly skeptical and critical of it.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Thinking #Opinion #Rate

  • Who are your favourite heroines in real life? The women of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran who risk their lives and their beauty to defy the foulness of theocracy. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi as their ideal feminine model.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Real #Iran #Iraq

  • I'm not very impressed by people who yell "traitor" and "communist" and other less printable things. I don't like it.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #People #Communist #Traitor

  • I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Christian #Meaningful #Jesus

  • Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Religion #Atheism

  • It's a curious thing in American life that the most abject nonsense will be excused if the utterer can claim the sanction of religion. A country which forbids an established church by law is prey to any denomination. The best that can be said is that this is pluralism of a kind.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Country #Atheist #Law

  • As the cleansing ocean closes over bin Laden's carcass, may the earth lie lightly on the countless graves of those he sentenced without compunction to be burned alive or dismembered in the street.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Lying #Ocean #Alive

  • Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Silence #Stupidity #Sake

  • MT [Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Mother #Empowerment #Suffering

  • The governor of Texas, who, when asked if the Bible should also be taught in Spanish, replied that 'if English was good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Jesus #Texas #Taught

  • I suppose that one reason I have always detested religion is its sly tendency to insinuate the idea that the universe is designed with 'you' in mind or, even worse, that there is a divine plan into which one fits whether one knows it or not. This kind of modesty is too arrogant for me.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Ideas #Mind

  • How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Country #Atheist #Atheism

  • The only real radicalism in our time will come as it always has—from people who insist on thinking for themselves and who reject party-mindedness.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Real #Party #Thinking

  • To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation - is that good for the world?
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Children #World

  • To 'choose' dogma and faith over doubt and experience is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Vintage #Doubt

  • Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Children #Ignorance #Racism

  • I burned the candle at both ends and it often gave a lovely light.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Light #Lovely #Ends

  • Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are God. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are God.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Inspirational #Dog #Cat

  • What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Inspirational #Wisdom #Science

  • Islamophobia: a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Coward #Used #Fascists

  • What they [the 9/11 attackers] abominate about 'the west', to put it in a phrase, is not what western liberals don't like and can't defend about their own system, but what they do like about it and must defend: its emancipated women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Inquiry #Phrases #West

  • I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Selfish #Thinking #Touching

  • There are, after all, atheists who say they wish the fable were true but are unable to suspend the requisite disbelief, or who have relinquished belief only with regret. To this I reply: who wishes that there was a permanent, unalterable celestial despotism that subjected us to continual surveillance and could convict us of thought-crime, and who regarded us as its private property even after we died? How happy we ought to be, at the reflection that there exists not a shred of respectable evidence to support such a horrible hypothesis.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Regret #Reflection

  • Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, religion no longer offers an explanation for anything important.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Religion #Important #Atheism

  • Mockery of religion is one of the most essential things... one of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Laughing #Religion #Essentials

  • Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely soley upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Science #Ideas

  • The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Humility #Divine #Claims

  • If I was told to sacrifice something to prove my devotion to God , if I was told to do what all monotheists are told to do and admire the man who said 'Yes I'll gut my kid to show my love of God.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Kids #Sacrifice #Men

  • 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. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet; that I haven’t understood enough; that I can’t know enough; that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Giving #Risk #Want

  • Islam makes very large claims for itself. In its art, there is a prejudice against representing the human form at all. The prohibition on picturing the prophet - who was only another male mammal - is apparently absolute. So is the prohibition on pork or alcohol or, in some Muslim societies, music or dancing. Very well then, let a good Muslim abstain rigorously from all these. But if he claims the right to make me abstain as well, he offers the clearest possible warning and proof of an aggressive intent.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Art #Dancing #Alcohol

  • To the dumb question, 'Why me?' the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, 'Why not?'
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Dumb #Cosmos #Why Not

  • The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Religion #Atheism

  • The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Song #Pain #Loneliness

  • Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Book #Writing #Doe

  • Faith is the surrender of the mind, it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals. It's our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. ... Out of all the virtues, all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Believe #Animal

  • [Religion] attacks us in our deepest integrity - the core of our self-respect. Religion says that we would not know right from wrong, we would not know an evil, wicked act from a decent human act without divine permission, without divine authority or without, even worse, either the fear of a divine punishment or the hope of a divine reward. It strips us of the right to make our own determination, as all humans always have, about what is and what is not a right human action.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Determination #Integrity #Self

  • It's impossible, I think, however much I'd become disillusioned politically or evolve into a post-political person, I don't think I'd ever change my view that socialism is the best political moment humans have ever come up with.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Thinking #Views #Political

  • Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects in a cruel experiment whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Sick #Religion #Atheism

  • I want to urge you very strongly to travel as much as you can, and to evolve yourself as an internationalist. It's as important a part of your education as a radical as the reading of any book.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Travel #Book #Reading

  • Time spent arguing with the faithful is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Time #Faithful #Arguing

  • One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human pre-history where nobody - not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms - had the smallest idea what was going on.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Ideas #Atoms #Matter

  • Gullibility and credulity are considered undesireable qualities in every department of human life - except religion ... Why are we praised by godly men for surrendering our 'godly gift' of reason when we cross their mental thresholds?
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Godly #Men

  • There are all kinds of stupid people that annoy me but what annoys me most is a lazy argument.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Stupid #People #Lazy

  • Some people say that without God, people would give themselves permission to do anything. [Yet] only with God, only with the view that God's on your side, can people give themselves permission to do things that otherwise would be called satanic.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Views #Your Side #People

  • I've had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Dark #Night #Giving

  • A good day is one where I can not just read a book, but write a review of it. Maybe today I'll be able to do that. I get for some reason somewhat stronger when the sun starts to go down. Dusk is a good time for me. I'm crepuscular.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Book #Writing #Good Day

  • A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless'...
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Battle #Littles #Friendship Love

  • The god of Moses would call for other tribes, including his favorite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Ideas #Suffering #Succeed

  • The most educated person in the world now has to admit-- I shall not say confess-- that he or she knows less and less but at least knows less and less about more and more.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #World #Educated #Educated Person

  • Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Tactics #Impossible #Terrorism

  • In a Pyongyang restaurant, don't ever ask for a doggie bag.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Bags #Restaurants

  • George Bush made a mistake when he referred to the Saddam Hussein regime as 'evil.' Every liberal and leftist knows how to titter at such black-and-white moral absolutism.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Mistake #Black And White #Evil

  • Beautiful sentences pop into my head. Beautiful sentences that aren't always absolutely accurate. Then, I have to choose between the beautiful sentence and being absolutely accurate. It can be a difficult choice.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Beautiful #Choices #Pops

  • In one way, I suppose, I have been 'in denial' for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Light #Giving #Lovely

  • Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and - since there is no other metaphor - also the soul.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Soul #Mind #Literature

  • The crucial distinction between systems...was no longer ideological.  The main political difference was between those who did, and those who did not, believe that the citizen could -- or should -- be the property of the state.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Believe #Differences #Political

  • Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Refuge #Consensus #Security

  • You can only have one aim per debate.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Debate #Aim

  • Our weapons are the ironic mind against the literal: the open mind against the credulous; the courageous pursuit of truth against the fearful and abject forces who would set limits to investigation (and who stupidly claim that we already have all the truth we need). Perhaps above all, we affirm life over the cults of death and human sacrifice and are afraid, not of inevitable death, but rather of a human life that is cramped and distorted by the pathetic need to offer mindless adulation, or the dismal belief that the laws of nature respond to wailings and incantations.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Sacrifice #Law

  • Whenever I hear some bigmouth in Washington or the Christian heartland banging on about the evils of sodomy or whatever, I mentally enter his name in my notebook and contentedly set my watch. Sooner rather than later, he will be discovered down on his weary and well-worn old knees in some dreary motel or latrine, with an expired Visa card, having tried to pay well over the odds to be peed upon by some Apache transvestite.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Notebook #Christian #Odds

  • God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was quite the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #God #Men #Civilization

  • I still make sure to go, at least once every year, to a country where things cannot be taken for granted, and where there is either too much law and order or too little.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Country #Taken #Order

  • Ever since I discovered that my god given male member was going to give me no peace, I decided to give it no rest in return.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Giving #Males #Return

  • I have tried for much of my life to write as if I was composing my sentences to be read posthumously.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Writing #Composing #Sentences

  • Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way. (Closing statement of the debate with William Dembski at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, Texas, November 18, 2010)
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Thinking #Texas #Risk

  • Evolution has meant that our prefrontal lobes are too small, our adrenal glands are too big, and our reproductive organs apparently designed by committee; a recipe which, alone or in combination, is very certain to lead to some unhappiness and disorder.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Adrenal Glands #Recipes #Evolution

  • A wide and vague impression exists that so-called Eastern religion is more contemplative, innocuous, and humane than the proselytizing monotheisms of the West. Don't believe a word of this: try asking the children of Indochina who were dumped by their parents for inherited deformities that were attributed to sins in a previous 'life.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Children #Believe

  • Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheism #Conclusion

  • Thus, though I dislike to differ with such a great man, Voltaire was simply ludicrous when he said that if god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. The human invention of god is the problem to begin with.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Men #Atheism

  • The noble title of "dissident" must be earned rather than claimed; it connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Sacrifice #Risk #Titles

  • Why do humans exist? A major part of the answer: because Pikaia Gracilens survived the Burgess decimation.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Science #Religion

  • 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 and what you have to show [is] 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.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Men #People

  • You should be nicer to him,' a schoolmate had once said to me of some awfully ill-favored boy. 'He has no friends.' This, I realized with a pang of pity that I can still remember, was only true as long as everybody agreed to it.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Bullying #Boys #Long

  • The one thing that the racist can never manage is anything like discrimination: he is indiscriminate by definition.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Racist #Definitions #Discrimination

  • I have met some highly intelligent believers, but history has no record to say that [s]he knew or understood the mind of god. Yet this is precisely the qualification which the godly must claim—so modestly and so humbly—to possess. It is time to withdraw our 'respect' from such fantastic claims, all of them aimed at the exertion of power over other humans in the real and material world.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Real #Godly

  • The Postmodernists' tyranny wears people down by boredom and semi-literate prose.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #People #Boredom #Tyranny

  • Today I want to puke when I hear the word 'radical' applied so slothfully and stupidly to Islamist murderers; the most plainly reactionary people in the world.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #People #World #Want

  • Everything about Christianity is contained in the pathetic image of 'the flock.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Atheist #Atheism #Christianity

  • My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Kissing #Numbers #Majority

  • We know of no spectacle more ridiculous—or more contemptible—than that of the religious reactionaries who dare to re-write the history of our republic. Or who try to do so. Is it possible that, in their vanity and stupidity, they suppose that they can erase the name of Thomas Jefferson and replace it with the name of some faith-based mediocrity whose name is already obscure? If so, we cheerfully resolve to mock them, and to give them the lie in their teeth.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Religious #Lying #Writing

  • I'm not particularly a feminist, but if you get women off the animal cycle of reproduction and give them some say in how many children they'll have, immediately the floor will rise.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Children #Animal #Giving

  • What is your idea of earthly happiness? To be vindicated in my own lifetime.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Ideas #Lifetime

  • The struggle for a free intelligence has always been a struggle between the ironic and the literal mind.
    -- Christopher Hitchens

    #Struggle #Ironic #Mind