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I am not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief is positively harmful. Reviewing the false claims of religion, I do not wish, as some sentimental materialists affect to wish, that they were true. I do not envy believers their faith. I am relieved to think that the whole story is a sinister fairy tale; life would be miserable if what the faithful affirmed was actually the case.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Letters to a Young Contrarian

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

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, "Terrorism: Notes Toward a Definition"

A bit of a stomach give a chap a position in society.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Vanity Fair, Oct. 2007

This walking business is overrated: I mastered the art of doing it when I was quite small, and in any case, what are taxis for?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Vanity Fair, Oct. 2007

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

The search for Nirvana, like the search for Utopia or the end of history or the classless society, is ultimately a futile and dangerous one. It involves, if it does not necessitate, the sleep of reason. There is no escape from anxiety and struggle.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

I have been a visiting writer in several authoritarian and totalitarian states, and usually the question answers itself. Someone in a café makes an offhand remark. A piece of ironic graffiti is scrawled in the men's room. Some group at the university issues some improvised leaflet. The glacier begins to melt; a joke makes the rounds and the apparently immovable regime suddenly looks vulnerable and absurd.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

The essential principle of totalitarianism is to make laws that are impossible to obey.


If you want to stay in for the long haul, and lead a life that is free from illusions either propagated by you or embraced by you, then I suggest you learn to recognize and avoid the symptoms of the zealot and the person who knows he is right. For the dissenter, the skeptical mentality is at least as important as any armor of principle.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Letters to a Young Contrarian

The one thing that the racist can never manage is anything like discrimination: he is indiscriminate by definition.


I find something repulsive about the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There's no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Paine pointed out, you may if you wish take on a another man's debt, or even to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the concept of free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out the ethical principles for ourselves.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Letters to a Young Contrarian

The most fashionable new delusion involves one or another form of belief in reincarnation. Karma is big these days, and those who regard their bodies and brains as disposable and replaceable 'vehicles' ... are as goofily sincere as those who believe they get a better model with each trade-in from Detroit.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, "Heavenly Hoax", The Nation, May 12, 1997

The forces of piety have always and everywhere been the sworn enemy of the open mind and the open book.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Religious ideas, supposedly private matters between man and god, are in practice always political ideas.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish

In our time, the symbol of state intrusion into the private life is the mandatory urine test.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

We can always be sure of one thing--that the messengers of discomfort and sacrifice will be stoned and pelted by those who wish to preserve at all costs their own contentment.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

Control over the production and distribution of oil is the decisive factor in defining who rules whom in the Middle East.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism

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

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays

It is pardonable for children to yell that they believe in fairies, but it is somehow sinister when the piping note shifts from the puerile to the senile.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays

Exercise is a pastime only for those who are already slender and physically fit. It just isn't so much fun when you have a marked tendency to wheeze and throw up, and a cannonball of a belly sloshing around inside the baggy garments.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, Arguably: Selected Essays


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