Great notes from God is Not Great

October 3, 2007 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

Notes from God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens

10/3/07

Chapters

  1. Putting it mildly
  2. Religion kills
  3. A short digression on the pig; or Why Heaven Hates Ham
  4. A note on health, to which religion can be hazardous
  5. The metaphysical claims of religion are false
  6. Arguments from design
  7. Revelation: The nightmare of the “Old” testament
  8. The “New” Testament Exceeds the evil of the “Old” one
  9. The Koran is Borrowed from both Jewish and Christian myths
  10. The tawdriness of the Miraculous and the decline of hell
  11. The lowly stamp of their origin” Religion’s corrupt Beginnings
  12. A coda: how religions end
  13. Does religion make people behave better?
  14. There is no “Eastern” solution
  15. Religion as an original sin
  16. Is religion Child abuse?
  17. An objection Anticipated: the last-ditch case against secularism
  18. A finer tradition: the resistance of the Rational
  19. In conclusion: the need for a new enlightenment.

P23 Examples of other myths akin to the virgin birth of Christ: the Greek demigod Perseus was born when the god Jupiter visited the virgin Danae as a shower of gold and got her with child.  The god Buddha was born through an opening in his mother’s flank.  Catlicus the serpent-skirted caught a little ball of feathers from the sky and hid it in her bosom, and the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli was thus conceived.  The virgin Nana took a pomegranate from the tree watered by the blood of the slain Agdestris, and laid it in her bosom, and gave birth to the god, Attix. The virgin daughter of a Mongol king awoke one night and found herself bathed in a great light, which caused her to give birth to Genghis Khan.  Krishna was born of the virgin Devaka.  Horus was born of the virgin Isis. Mercury was born of the virgin Maia.  Romulus was born of the virgin Rhea Sylvia.  For some reason, many religions force themselves to think of the birth canal as a one-way street…..

P33  …as well as being unethical and unprofessional, was also flat-out unconstitutional and anti-American.  James Madison, the author of the First Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting any law respecting an establishment of religion, was also an author of Article VI, which states unambiguously that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.”

P74  The message is one of continual submission, gratitude and fear.  Life itself is a poor thing: an interval in which to prepare for the hereafter or the coming – or second coming – of the messiah.  On the other hand, and as if by way of compensation, religion teaches people to be extremely self-centered and conceited.  It assures them that god cares for them individually, and it claims that the cosmos was created with them specifically in mind….pray excuse my modesty and humility, but I happen to be busy on an errand for god.

P94 Gould’s book on the Burgess shale, Wonderful Life

P196 Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time

P205 There are, indeed, several ways in which religion is not just amoral, but positively immoral… in it’s original precepts: Presenting a false picture of the world to the innocent and the credulous, the doctrine of blood sacrifice, the doctrine of atonement, the doctrine of eternal reward and/or punishment, the imposition of impossible tasks and rules.

All creation myths of all peoples have long been known to be false…to the list of apologies, religion should simply add an apology for foisting man-made parchments and folk myths upon the unsuspecting, and for taking so long to concede that this has been done.

P286  Is he willing to prevent evil but not able?  Then he is impotent.  Is he able but not willing?  Then he is malevolent.  Is he both able and willing?  Whence then is evil?

Paine’s, Age of Reason.

…the writing of a democratic and republican constitution that made no mention of god and that mentioned religion only when guaranteeing that it would always be separated from the state.  Almost all of the American founders died without any priest by their bedside.

P270 Sir Isaac Newton made the guarded admission – which was itself plagiarized – that he had in his work had the advantage of “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

P278 Of course it is better and healthier for the mind to “choose” the path of skepticism and inquiry in any case, because only by continual exercise of these faculties can we hope to achieve anything.

Hitchens attacks religion, all religion, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, you name it.  While rattling off the evil deeds done in the name of god by one religious group after another, it almost began to feel like physical blows… take that, and another.  A trained skeptic, even I was overwhelmed.  At times I was reminded of the other book I’ve recently read – Cult of the Amateur – which focuses on the ‘evils’ created and fostered by the web.  The discussion in both cases is incredibly one sided, but both books make you think.

It becomes more and more difficult to understand how people can be taken in by the claims of religion.  Further, a passive stance in the face of the misleading and in some cases dangerous statements made by ‘the religious’ is yet harder to maintain after reading this book.  I too find myself wondering if religion is child-abuse, if not simply abuse of people in general.

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Entry filed under: feed my pet brain.

The Original PocketMod Imperfect notes from The Perfect Thing

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