Be Smart! Be Brilliant!
Nororius Atheist and advocate of positive Human relations, Christopher Hitchens, died this week. If you knew of him, he was either Satan spawn, or a breath of fresh air to you. I dedicate this weekends quotes to his esteemed self. If you decided to choose someone as a model for how to think, you could do far worse than Hitchens, in my estimation.
Thanks for everything Chris, and well, it's all over now, isn't it. I give you eleven of his quotes that I find interesting or entertaining; because eleven is one louder than ten, isn't it?
"[George W Bush] is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things." – Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC, 2000
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”
from his book, "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything"
"My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilisation, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it, but you can't disprove it either."
Also from, "God Is Not Great"
And yet, I wake up every day to a sensation of pervading disgust and annoyance. I probably ought to carry around some kind of thermometer or other instrument, to keep checking that I am not falling prey to premature curmudgeonhood.
from, "Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays" (2004)
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 mammals. 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. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.
There are several pleasant little towns like Abbottabad in Pakistan, strung out along the roads that lead toward the mountains from Rawalpindi...The colonial British—like Maj. James Abbott, who gave his name to this one—called them "hill stations," designed for the rest and recreation of commissioned officers. The charming idea, like the location itself, survives among the Pakistani officer corps. If you tell me that you are staying in a rather nice walled compound in Abbottabad, I can tell you in return that you are the honored guest of a military establishment that annually consumes several billion dollars of American aid. It's the sheer blatancy of it that catches the breath.
“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.”
"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."
Hitchens once branded Mother Teresa “a lying, thieving Albanian dwarf” and said: “She 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."
We have the same job we always had: to say that there are no final solutions; there is no absolute truth; there is no supreme leader; there is no totalitarian solution that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would simply abandon your critical faculties, the world of idiotic bliss can be yours. (October 2011 speech at the annual Atheist Alliance of America convention in Houston, as he accepted the Freethinker of the Year Award)