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Today's quote:

Sunday, November 27, 2022

God is not great

"Hitchens's razor" is an epistemological razor (a general rule for rejecting certain knowledge claims) that states "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." The razor was created by and named after author and journalist Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011). It implies that the burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim; if this burden is not met, then the claim is unfounded, and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it. Hitchens used this phrase specifically in the context of refuting religious belief.


To Christopher Hitchens it’s blindingly obvious: the great religions all began at a time when we knew a tiny fraction of what we know today about the origins of Earth and human life. It’s understandable that early humans would develop stories about gods or God to salve their ignorance. But people today have no such excuse. If they continue to believe in the unbelievable, or say they do, they are morons or lunatics or liars.


The whole audiobook, or, separately, Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6


Christopher Hitchens' book "God Is Not Great" is full of logical flourishes and conundrums. How could Christ have died for our sins, when supposedly he also did not die at all? Did the Jews not know that murder and adultery were wrong before they received the Ten Commandments, and if they did know, why was this such a wonderful gift? Why, if Jesus could heal a blind person he happened to meet, could he not heal blindness? On a more sombre note, how can the argument that only some kind of "intelligence" could have designed anything as perfect as a human being be reconciled with the religious practice of genital mutilation which posits that what God created isn't so perfect after all?

I agree with Hitchens that there is no need for us to gather every day, or every seventh day, or on any high and auspicious day, to proclaim our rectitude or to grovel and wallow in our unworthiness. You may well spend your time more productively by reading "God Is Not Great". I even think God would be flattered if you did because, unlike by those who're clamouring for his attention, in this book God is treated like an adult.

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