Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Christopher Hitchens offers lively defense of his subtitle: ‘How Religion Poisons Everything’
The Authors@Google® series is one more in a long line of pleasures from the company that began by offering a better way to search. Christopher Hitchens spoke in August at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. He set out to defend the subtitle of his book, ‘God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.’ Hitchens employs his characteristic razor-sharp wit and intellect with statements like, “Religion is a distillation of the wish to be a slave.” He posits the theory of a deity watching over you from the moment of birth, and “when you’re dead,” he says, “the real fun begins.”
Hitchens is one of my favorite authors; he is never dull and always makes me think. I may disagree with him about a number of issues, but he always pleases my intellect. He brought up the idea of his ancestors traveling to a holy place, before they believed in God, or at least the God Christians, Jews and Muslims worship. There’s a small bump there because I think mankind has always looked to some deity, if for nothing else as a mean to explain creation or solicit a better harvest. For Hitchens, Science is God (the cap on S is deliberate) and I always find that a wee bit troublesome, because science, from century to century, often contradicts its own manifestos, just as religion has done. Unless we live under a large rock, we know about the Big Bang theory. Science has yet to explain where matter and explosions came from to begin with; some might say religion bears the same burden.
Nevertheless, Hitchens makes excellent points and will surely set the mind on a journey. He will amaze anyone interested in the craft of writing, for in that last regard, no one can top him in my opinion.