Last week I finished reading God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. Salman Rushdie once mused that the book is one word too long. Nice. If you are incensed by the title alone, before reading a word, you’re probably part of the reason this book was a #1 international best seller. Personally, I found the content to be so intellectually satisfying that I quickly jumped in to reading another Christopher Hitchens book, his memoir Hitch-22.
Here is the final passage from God is Not Great. In summing up the book, Hitchens is also pointing out that our universe is already full of wonder, without the need for an omniscient and omnipotent being. It stood out to me and I wanted to share it.
“Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important. Where once it used to be able, by its total command of a worldview, to prevent the emergence of rivals, it can now only impede and retard—or try to turn back—the measurable advances that we have made. Sometimes, true, it will artfully concede them. But this is to offer itself the choice between irrelevance and obstruction, impotence or outright reaction, and, given this choice, it is programmed to select the worse of the two. Meanwhile, confronted with undreamed-of vistas inside our own evolving cortex, in the farthest reaches of the known universe, and in the proteins and acids which constitute our nature, religion offers either annihilation in the name of god, or else the false promise that if we take a knife to our foreskins, or pray in the right direction, or ingest pieces of wafer, we shall be “saved.” It is as if someone, offered a delicious and fragrant out-of-season fruit, matured in a painstakingly and lovingly designed hothouse, should throw away the flesh and the pulp and gnaw moodily on the pit.”
– from God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
Larry Lucio, Jr.