Hitchens (2008). Chapter Seven – Revelation: The Nightmare of the “Old” Testament. (god is not Great: How religion poisons everything.)

Hitchens, C. (2008). Chapter Seven – Revelation: The Nightmare of the “Old” Testament. In god is not Great: How religion poisons everything (pp. 97–107). New York: Twelve.

[The instructions are never straightforward …]

“In some cases — most notably the Christian — one revelation is apparently not sufficient, and needs to be reinforced by successive apparitions, with the promise of a further but ultimate one to come. In other cases, the opposite difficulty occurs and the divine instruction is delivered, only once, and for the final time, to an obscure personage whose lightest word then becomes law. Since all of these revelations, many of them hopelessly inconsistent, cannot by definition be simultaneously true, it must follow that some of them are false and illusory.” (p 97)

[Children are made guilty of ancestors offenses …]

“… a dire warning that the sins of the fathers will be visited on their children ‘even unto the third and fourth generation.’ This negates the moral and reasonable idea that children are innocent of their parents’ offenses.” (p 99)

[Religious texts ignore many inhumanities …]

“Then there is the very salient question of what the commandments do _not_ say. Is it too modern to notice that there is nothing about the protection of children from cruelty, nothing about rape, nothing about slavery, and nothing about genocide? Or is it too exactingly ‘in context’ to notice that some of these very offenses are about to be positively recommended?” (p 100)

[Religious texts condone barbaric behaviours …]

“A small number when compared to the Egyptian infants already massacred by god in order for things to have proceeded even this far, [page break] but it helps to make the case for ‘antitheism.’ By this I mean the view that we ought to be glad that none of the religious myths has any truth to it, or in it. 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.” (p 101-102)

[No archaeological evidence …]

“… Israel Finkelstein of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, and his colleague Neil Asher Silberman. … There was no flight from Egypt, no wandering in the desert (let alone for the incredible four-decade length of time mentioned in the Pentateuch), and no dramatic conquest of the Promised Land. It was all, quite simply and very ineptly, made up at a much later date.” (p 102)

[Religious beliefs as a denial of death …]

“In _The Future of an Illusion_, Freud made the obvious point that religion suffered from one incurable deficiency: it was too clearly derived from our own desire to escape from or survive death.” (p 103)

[Even some schoolchildren are unconvinced …]

“Intelligent schoolchildren have been upsetting their teachers with innocent but unanswerable questions ever since Bible study was instituted.” (p 104)

[Implausible, exaggeration, gore, myopic and irrelevant to a wider world …]

“People attain impossible ages and yet conceive children. Mediocre individuals engage in single combat or one-on-one argument with god or his emissaries, raising afresh the whole question of divine omnipotence or even divine common sense, and the ground is forever soaked with the blood of the innocent. Moreover, the context is oppressively confined and _local_. None of these provincials, or their deity, seems to have any idea of a world beyond the desert, the flocks and herds, and the imperatives of nomadic subsistence. This is forgivable on the part of the provincial yokels, obviously, but then what of their supreme guide and wrathful tyrant?” (p 107)

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