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The fact is, we are a mammalian species one half-chromosome away from chimpanzees, and it shows.

Published Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Apr 13 2012

Christopher Hitchens (April 13, 1949 – December 15, 2011):

A melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realization that you can't make old friends.

A theory that seems to explain everything is just as good at explaining nothing.

Atheism is a necessary condition for emancipation of the mind, but it's not a sufficient one.

Beware the irrational, however seductive.

Ernest Hemingway used to read his obituaries with a bloody Mary every day to start the day, to ward off depression. It worked for ten years... until he put the shotgun in his face.

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

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.

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.

Handed a small baby for the first time, is it your first reaction to think: “Beautiful. Almost perfect. Now please hand me the sharp stone for its genitalia, that I may do the work of the Lord.”

Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.

I always thought, in the death matter, an exception would be made in my case.

I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information.

I shall simply say that those who offer false consolation are false friends.

I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire, who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies.

I think &lsqbthe Bible&rsqb reads as if it were written by men and women, and men and women, as we know, are one-half chromosome away from chimpanzees.

I've been nearly scratched by Mother Teresa. I've been nearly spanked by Margaret Thatcher. I could tell you stories...

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

In whatever kind of a “race” life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist.

It is not enough to “have” free speech. People must learn to speak freely.

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.

My favorite time in the cycles of public life is the time when the Pope is dead and they haven't elected a new one. There's no one in the world who is infallible for those weeks. And you know, I don't miss it.

My political life has been informed by the view that if there was any truth to religion there wouldn't really be any need for politics.

One of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority.

Principles have a way of enduring, as do the few irreducible individuals who maintain allegiance to them.

Religion ends and philosophy begins, just as alchemy ends and chemistry begins and astrology ends, and astronomy begins.

Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.

The fact is, we are a mammalian species one half-chromosome away from chimpanzees, and it shows.

The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.

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.

The place for religion is in the mind, within the individual.

Time spent arguing with the faithful is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.

To the dumb question “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: “Why not?”

What can be asserted without evidence, can also be dismissed without evidence.

More Hitch: A Hitchens distillation...

Categories: Christopher Hitchens, Quotes of the day, Religion

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