Monday, August 1, 2011

Is Religion Good for the World?*

Christopher Hitchens in a debates with Tony Blair, "Is Religion Good for the World?"

What we have here, is a distillation and of precisely what is twisted and immoral in the faith mentality. It's essential fanaticism, its the consideration of human beings as raw material, and its fantasy of purity. Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects in a cruel experiment, where by we are created sick and commanded to be well. And over us to supervise this, is a celestial dictatorship. A kind of divine North Korea. Greedy, exigent, greedy for uncritical praise from dawn til dusk, and swift to punish the original sins with which is so tenderly gifted us in the first place.

However let no one say there is no cure. Salvation is offered, redemption indeed. At the low price at the surrender of your critical faculties, I am asking it good for the world to appeal to our credulity and not to our skepticism? Is it good for the world to worship a deity that takes sides in wars? And human affairs? To appeal to our fears and to our guilt? Is it good for the world? To our terror of death? To preach guilt and shame about the sexual act and sexual relationship? Is this good for the world? While asking yourself if these are religious responsibilities. To which I claim they are. To terrify children with the image of hell and eternal punishment of not only themselves but of their parents and those they love. Perhaps worst of all to consider, women as an inferior creation. Is that good for the world? Can you name me a religion who has not done that? To insist that we were created, not evolved. Contrary to all the evidence.
Handed a small baby for the first time, is it your first thought to think. Beautiful, almost perfect. Now please hand me the sharp stone for its genitalia so that I may do the work of the Lord. No!

Now let me ask Tony again. Because the place he is seeking peace is the birthplace of monotheism. So you might think it's a unusually full of refulgence and love and peace. Everyone in the civilized world has roughly agreed including a majority of Arabs and Jews and the international community that there should be enough room for two peoples in the same land. I think we have a rough agreement on that. Why can't get it? The U.N. can't get it! The U.S. get it! The P.L.O can't get it! The Israeli Parliament can't get it! Why can't they get it? Because the party of God has a veto on it and everybody knows this is true. Because of the divine promises made about this territory, there will never be peace, there will never be compromise, there will instead be misery, shame, and tyranny. And people's will kill other people's children will kill each other over ancient books and caves and relics. Who is going to say this is good for the world?

No comments: