Christopher Hitchens is a prolific British-American author and critic whose commentary on politics and religion placed him at the front of public intellectual life from the late 20th to the early 21st century. He also made regular appearances as a television commentator, and engaged opponents in political debates. Check out some of the top Christopher Hitchens quotes here.
25 Christopher Hitchens Quotes That Make You Think
Christopher Hitchens Quotes from His Memoir
#1. “What is it you most dislike? Stupidity, especially in its nastiest forms of racism and superstition.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir.
#2. “What do you most value in your friends? Their continued existence.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir.
#3. “I suppose that one reason I have always detested religion is its sly tendency to insinuate the idea that the universe is designed with ‘you’ in mind or, even worse, that there is a divine plan into which one fits whether one knows it or not. This kind of modesty is too arrogant for me.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir.
#4. “To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase ‘terrible beauty.’ Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body. It also makes me quite astonishingly calm at the thought of death: I know whom I would die to protect and I also understand that nobody but a lugubrious serf can possibly wish for a father who never goes away.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir.
Christopher Hitchens Quotes on Religion and God
#5. “Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” ― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever.
#6. “Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#7. “We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#8. “Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#9. “Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#10. “Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#11. “My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#12. “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.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#13. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him will believeth in anything – Hitchens 3:16.” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#14. “The governor of Texas, who, when asked if the Bible should also be taught in Spanish, replied that ‘if English was good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me’.” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#15. “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#16. “Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#17. “One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion, and one would like to think—though the connection is not a fully demonstrable one—that this is why they seem so uninterested in sending fellow humans to hell.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
#18. “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.” ― Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
Christopher Hitchens Quotes on Different Thoughts
#19. “How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#20. “To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world?” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#21. “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#22. “Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian.
#23. “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian.
#24. “MT (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.” ― Christopher Hitchens.
#25. “To the dumb question “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: why not?” ― Christopher Hitchens, Mortality.
Hitchens’ memoir “Hitch-22” was published in 2010. During the book tour, he revealed his diagnosis of esophageal cancer. He continued to make public appearances and discussed his condition freely as well. He remains a celebrated literary figure till date.
Image source: Christopher Hitchens photo from www.nytimes.com