Christopher Hitchens

Religion, politics, and ideas ofChristopher Hitchens

Criticizes Christianity

Criticizes Islam

Atheist

Atheist

Religion

Criticizes Christianity

Criticizes Islam

Possibly Atheist

15 Oct 2015

In an interview with Jeremy Paxman, when asked ‘To be clear about what you’re talking about here, you’re talking about the bible and the Koran?’, Christopher Hitchens said

And the Torah, all of these are depraved works of manmade fiction.

Atheist

Criticizes Mormons

Criticizes Religion

15 Jul 2007

In an interview with The Atlantic, Christopher Hitchens said

I think we can say with reasonable certainty that there is no God because all the hypotheses for it have been exploded or abandoned. [...] Well, I’ll put it this way: you can certainly say belief in God makes people behave worse. That can be proved beyond a doubt. Whether it makes them behave better or not, I don’t think is so easy to prove. Because you can’t be certain that their belief is what made them dive in front of a truck to save a child’s life. They might say, “I did it for Jesus,” but they might have done it anyway. [...] I know people who do that. I’ve been to Uganda and to North Korea and to Eritrea, countless horror spots around the world. Everywhere you go, you meet volunteers who are giving up their lives for other people. Most of them are secular. I don’t think that proves anything about secularism. But the ordinary action of helping a fellow creature in distress doesn’t require faith at all. It just doesn’t. [...] Sure. Those people meet my qualifications. They make it a private belief. The place for religion is in the mind, within the individual. If they insist, it’s within the family, as long as they don’t abuse the children. There are lines they shouldn’t cross: no genital mutilation of people who aren’t qualified to sign an elective surgery form. No, not once, not ever. Preferably, no teaching about hell, I think. But you probably can’t stop people from doing that. No denial of medical care on superstitious grounds. Straight to jail for that. No marrying off your daughters to distant relatives, or not so distant, like the Mormons do. [...] Look, religion was our first attempt at philosophy. It was the first and the worst, but it’s still part of our history and tradition. As it is, children don’t know where anything comes from—they don’t know the literary canon or the historical record. So I think to be religiously literate is very important.

Atheist

Criticizes Religion

15 Jul 2007

In an interview with The Atlantic, Christopher Hitchens said

There’s no need for the supernatural. The natural is wonderful enough. As Einstein said, “The wonderful thing is there are no miracles.” The laws of nature work all the time. We can’t understand them all, but we know they are intelligible. There’s something extraordinary at work that holds it all in place. The best way you could put it is that there couldn’t be any suspension of those laws to benefit someone who prayed, for the sun to stand still while he finished his battle. No. That would be trivial compared to the extraordinary consistency and harmony that does seem to apply to the laws of physics. That’s beautiful. And religion is an obstacle to our seeing that.
Political Affiliation

Supports Labour Party

15 Oct 2015

In an interview with Jeremy Paxman, Christopher Hitchens said

I joined the labour party as soon as I was eligible to do so.
Summary

Atheist, I mean, a serious atheist.

Hitchens' political views defy categorization. He has run the gamut from communist to radical to liberal to siding with Republicans and conservatives on the "War on Terror."

Editorial

Christopher Hitchens was born in Portsmouth, England to two Royal Navy service members. He died in December 2011 in Houston, Texas, a U.S. citizen for only the last four years of his life.

Hitchens is considered by many the mouthpiece of atheism. He regularly debated theists, creationists, and religious scholars and many say that he was never bested. He spoke with eloquence and the support of a powerful intellect and a wide pool of knowledge of history and the human condition.

Hitchens made it a career of defying labels, except to call himself a radical. The term atheist was not enough for him, he preferred antitheist, saying:

[Someone] could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct, an antitheist, a term I'm trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there's no evidence for such an assertion.[1]

Not even the most revered religious figures escaped Hitchens' critical eye. He even accused Mother Theresa of glorifying that which she spent her life battling–poverty, saying:

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.[2]

Politics of an atheist

It would be an understatement to say that Hitchens was an astute observer of politics. As in religion, almost no political figure escaped a Hitchens critique, Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between.

For example, on the right, he criticized George W. Bush, saying:

He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.[3]

On the left, he criticized Michael Moore, saying:

Europeans think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities.[4]

He was, however, particularly critical of conservatives, calling them hypocrites and idiots and accusing them of leaning on religion.[5]

As a young man, Hitchens was liberal, beyond liberal. He began as a member of Britain's Labour Party for its more liberal, socialist leanings but that wasn't enough and he eventually became a full-fledged Trotsky-ist Communist.[6]

However, after the 2001 9/11 attacks on the New York City World Trade Towers, Hitchens seemed to have a political shift, favoring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and railing against "Muslim totalitarianism."[7]

However, it could be argued that this was more Hitchens' hatred of religion at play, seeing the theocratic, pre-Enlightenment ideals of the Muslim religion coming to the fore and using the technological, intellectual, and secular strength of the West to quash it.

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