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Christopher Hitchens - God Is Not Great
Famous / Celbrity Atheists Atheism

Christopher Hitchens was born in 1949 in Portsmouth, England, into a naval family. After a number of years in various private schools he studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University from which he later emerged to become a journalist. As a young man he was involved with left-wing politics but later cooled towards that position with what he regarded as the "tepid reaction" of the European left following Ayatollah Khomeini's issue of a fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie in 1989.

The appaling events of 9/11 2001 in New York definitely contributing further to his realignment as an holder of more politically "non-mainstream socialist", (he still admitted to being an admirer of Karl Marx), and philosophically secularist views.

In various interviews Christopher Hitchens has expressed the view that he 'was born to be a writer' and that he 'would not know how to do' anything else. In fairness it must be said that he has had success in this field being an established contributor to such well regarded publications as The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, and Free Inquiry.

In early July, 2010, the entry on Wikipedia about Christopher Hitchens included this passage:-
Hitchens is an atheist and has been identified as being an exponent of the "new atheism" movement. Hitchens is a secular humanist and anti-theist, and describes himself as a believer in the philosophical values of the Age of Enlightenment.
His main argument is that the concept of God or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion, which inhibits these things, as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization. Hitchens wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in the 2007 book God Is Not Great.
In a June, 2007, article in New Stateman Christopher Hitchens wrote about his then recently published work:-
God Is Not Great has proved to me that a rising tide can lift all boats: the ground for it was seeded by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, whose superior work has put the godly on the defensive and cheered up secular America. (Polls show that unbelievers are now the country's fastest-growing minority.) It's an honour to be mentioned in the same breath as these men. If there were seven of us, the clever press would call us dwarves. As we are a quartet, we are doomed to be called the Gang of Four or the Four Musketeers. My own nomination - the Four Horsemen of the Counter-Apocalypse - is a bit cumbersome and I'd welcome suggestions.
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything went on to become a bestseller. Within its pages Hitchens contends that:-
"...above all, we are in need of a renewed Enlightenment, which will base itself on the proposition that the proper study of mankind is man and woman [referencing Alexander Pope]. This Enlightenment will not need to depend, like its predecessors, on the heroic breakthroughs of a few gifted and exceptionally courageous people. It is within the compass of the average person. The study of literature and poetry, both for its own sake and for the eternal ethical questions with which it deals, can now easily depose the scrutiny of sacred texts that have been found to be corrupt and confected. The pursuit of unfettered scientific inquiry, and the availability of new findings to masses of people by electronic means, will revolutionize our concepts of research and development. Very importantly, the divorce between the sexual life and fear, and the sexual life and disease, and the sexual life and tyranny, can now at last be attempted, on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse. And all this and more is, for the first time in our history, within the reach if not the grasp of everyone".

... "And here is the point, about myself and my co-thinkers. 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, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake..."
Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything)

At Age-of-the-Sage we take the view that Christopher Hitchens and others Famous / Celebrity Atheists and proponents of Atheism and Rationalism are in extreme danger of throwing out the "Baby with the Bathwater". That is to say that there exists an ultimately valid Spiritual Source or Solace, and Enlightening Core of Truths, which can be over-looked as a consequence of the all-too-human failings that have been accumulated across recorded time by the adherents of Religions and, on a broader canvas, by the Faith Groups themslves.

We hope that you will be very seriously intrigued by assessing how the "Poetical" wisdoms, the "Inter-Faith" wisdoms and the "Christian" wisdoms that are collected on our site are both individually valid and also have strong similarities despite their diversity of origin:-

Wisdom Quotes from the Great Poets

A Disdain for Materialism
Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.

Shakespeare

A Distrust of Intellect
The intellectual power, through words and things,
Went sounding on, a dim and perilous way!

Wordsworth

A Yearning for Divine Edification
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

Yeats

Charity
That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

Wordsworth

Purity of Heart
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience.

Shakespeare

Humility
The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him, was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breathed.

Thomas Dekker

Meekness
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish her election,
Sh'hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been
As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those
Whose blood and judgement are so well co-medled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please: give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.

Shakespeare



Wisdom Quotes from Inter-Faith Sources

These spiritual insights quotations demonstrate the recognition of individual important Spiritual Truths by one of the world religions in the case of each "Truth":-
A Disdain for Materialism
Chuang Tzu put on cotton clothes with patches in them, and arranging his girdle and tying on his shoes, (i.e. to keep them from falling off), went to see the prince of Wei.
"How miserable you look, Sir!" Cried the prince. "It is poverty, not misery", replied Chuang Tzu. "A man who has TAO cannot be miserable. Ragged clothes and old boots make poverty, not misery".

Chuang Tzu - (Taoism)

A Distrust of Intellect
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.

Rumi - (Islam)

A Yearning for Divine Edification
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

St. Paul - (Christianity)

Charity
He that does everything for Me, whose supreme object I am, who worships Me, being free from attachment and without hatred to any creature, this man, Arjuna!, comes to Me.

Bhagavad Gita - (Hinduism)

Purity of Heart
The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Solomon - (Judaism)

Humility
Would you become a pilgrim on the road of love? The first condition is that you make yourself humble as dust and ashes.

Ansari of Herat - (Islam)

Meekness
Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth! Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.

Dhammapada - (Buddhism)



Wisdom Quotes from Christian Sources

A selection of wisdom quotes that demonstrate the profound depth of the insights that are recognised by Christian authorities are set out below. They are sourced from the Bible and also from the works of Thomas a Kempis whose "Of the Imitation of Christ" ranks as the second most widely read Christian text after the Bible itself.

A Disdain for Materialism
Some have Me in their mouths, but little in their hearts.
There are others who, being enlightened in their understanding and purified in their affection, always breathe after things eternal, are unwilling to hear of earthly things, and grieve to be subject to the necessities of nature; and such as these perceive what the Spirit of Truth speaketh in them.
For it teacheth them to despise the things of the earth and to love heavenly things; to disregard the world, and all the day and night to aspire after heaven.

Thomas a Kempis

A Distrust of Intellect
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

St. Paul

A Yearning for Divine Edification
It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
...the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

St. Paul

Charity
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

St. John

Purity of Heart
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

St. Paul

Humility
Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whomsoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Jesus

Meekness
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

St. James


If you will be so open-minded as to give our presentation of the QUITE AWESOME Wisdoms that have been won by the Mystics and Poets a fair hearing we believe that we can firmly establish your own opinion of their collective insights as one of appreciation and respect.

  Explore Inner Space!!!

It is widely known that Plato, pupil of and close friend to Socrates, accepted that Human Beings have a " Tripartite Soul " where individual Human Psychology is composed of three aspects - Wisdom-Rationality, Spirited-Will and Appetite-Desire.

What is less widely appreciated is that such major World Faiths as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism see "Spirituality" as being relative to "Desire" and to "Wrath".

 

"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose
flower and fruitage is the world..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 


For Indisputable Wisdoms about Human Nature
please visit our Human Nature - Tripartite Soul page

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