Christopher Hitchens Quotes About Religion and Life

Christopher Hitchens was known for his biting wit and sharp intellect. His words are a testament to his razor-sharp mind and biting sense of humor. Here are some of our favorite Christopher Hitchens quotes to get your day started off right.

christopher hitchens quotes

Christopher Hitchens was born in 1949 in Portsmouth, England. He was a journalist, author, and intellectual who wrote extensively on a variety of subjects, including political and religious commentary, literature, and science.

Hitchens was an outspoken atheist and critic of religion, and his work was published in a variety of magazines and newspapers around the world. He was also a regular contributor to the Atlantic and Vanity Fair. Hitchens died in 2011 after a battle with esophageal cancer.

85 Christopher Hitchens Quotes

  1. “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”

2. “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”

3. “Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence.”

4. “An individual deficient in the sense of humor represents more of a challenge to our idea of the human than a person of subnormal intelligence”

5. “If I convert it’s because it’s better that a believer dies than that an atheist does.”

6. “Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way .”

7. The only known cure for poverty is emancipation of women”

8. “Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.”

9. “Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and—since there is no other metaphor—also the soul.”

10. “Everything about Christianity is contained in the pathetic image of ‘the flock.”

best christopher hitchens quotes

Famous Christopher Hitchens Quotes

11. “I want to urge you very strongly to travel as much as you can, and to evolve yourself as an internationalist. It’s as important a part of your education as a radical as the reading of any book.”

12. “Don’t take security in the false refuge of consensus.”

13. “The problem with open-mindedness is that it can become empty-mindedness”

14. “The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species.”

15. “My looks by then had in any case declined to the point where only women would go to bed with me.”

16. “Very often, people embarking on such guesswork make the vulgar assumption that the lower the motives, the more likely they are to be authentic.”

17. “Any critique of realism must begin with a sober assessment of the horrors of peace.”

18. “A rule of thumb with humor; if you worry that you might be going too far, you have already not gone far enough. If everybody laughs, you have failed.”

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

20. “My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can’t prove it, but you can’t disprove it either.”

christopher hitchens religion quotes

Thought-Provoking Christopher Hitchens Quotes

21. “The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law.”

22. “The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right.”

23. “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”

24. “Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.”

25. “The finest fury is the most controlled.”

26. “New forms of the artistic register are one of the infallible signs of an authentic moment.”

26. “Beware what you wish for, unless you have the grace to hope that your luck can be shared.”

27. “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

28. “The measure of an education is that you acquire some idea of the extent of your ignorance.”

29. “You have to choose your future regrets.”

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

Christopher Hitchens Quotes About Life

31. “Everything everyone thinks they know about [Mother Teresa] is false. It must be the single most successful emotional con job of the twentieth century.”

32. “You can’t have occupation and human rights.”

33. “How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.”

34. “What better way for a ruling class to claim and hold power than to pose as the defenders of the nation.”

35. “There is no conceit equal to false modesty, and there is no

politics like antipolitics”

36. “All conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are.”

37. “I began the project of judging Mother Teresa’s reputation by her actions and words rather than her actions and words by her reputation.”

38. “Beware of identity politics. I’ll rephrase that: have nothing to do with identity politics.”

39. “Wit, after all, is the unfailing symptom of intelligence.”

40. “The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex, and picnics.”

Best Christopher Hitchens Quotes

41. “There can be no progress without head-on confrontation.”

42. “Nothing proves the man-made character of religion as obviously as the sick mind that designed hell.”

43. “Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”

44. “Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence”

45. “It’s probably a merciful thing that pain is impossible to describe from memory”

46. “You don’t say ‘they all do it’ unless you know you’ve been doing it too.”

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

48. “We live only a few conscious decades, and we fret ourselves enough for several lifetimes.”

49. “it is interesting to find that people of faith now seek defensively to say that they are no worse than fascists or Nazis or Stalinists”

50. “The struggle for a free intelligence has always been a struggle between the ironic and the literal mind.”

More Christopher Hitchens Quotes

51. “The noble title of “dissident” must be earned rather than claimed; it connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement.”

52. “Don’t swallow your moral code in tablet form.”

53. “The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”

54. “It’s only when you have grazed on the lower slopes of your own ignorance and begun to understand the great vistas of nonknowledge that you have, that you can claim to have been educated at all.”

55. “It is a frequent vice of radical polemic to assert, and even to believe, that once you have found the lowest motive for an antagonist, you have identified the correct one.”

56. “I think that people’s sexual preferences are a legitimate subject for humour, dirty humour if at all possible.”

57. “There is, especially in the American media, a deep belief that insincerity is better than no sincerity at all.”

58. “It’s often a bad sign when people defend themselves against charges which haven’t been made.”

59. “In effect, nobody who is not from the losing classes has ever been thrust into a death cell in these United States.”

60. “My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.”

61. “Evolution is, as well as smarter than we are, infinitely more callous and cruel, and also capricious.”

62. “The brief answer is that I have become inured without becoming indifferent.”

63. “Internationalism is the highest form of patriotism.”

64. “Philosophy begins where religion ends, just as by analogy chemistry begins where alchemy runs out, and astronomy takes the place of astrology.”

65. “Take the risk of thinking for yourself,much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”

66. “Laughter can be the most affirming and uniquely human sound,and also the most sinister and animalistic one.”

67. “Although war can bring with it great enthusiasm and solidarity, it also brings the reaction to these things.”

68. “Ever since I discovered that my god given male member was going to give me no peace, I decided to give it no rest in return.”

69. “Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.”

70. “There must be some connection between the general nullity of Christie’s prose and the tendency of her detectives to take Jewishness as a symptom of crime.”

71. “Teasing is very often a sign of inner misery.”

72. “Mass delusion is the only thing that keeps a people sane.”

73. “He was so much the picture of different kinds of assimilation that it was almost a case of multiple personalities.”

74. “I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness.”

75. “Bad as political fiction can be, there is always a politician prepared to make it look artistic by comparison.”

76. “Ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men”

77. “Your ideal authors ought to pull you from the foundering of your previous existence, not smilingly guide you into a friendly and peaceable harbor.”

78. “A good conversation is the only human equivalent: the realizing that decent points are being made and understood, that irony is in play, and elaboration, and that a dull and obvious remark would be almost physically hurtful.”

79. “There should be philosophy and knowledge for the elect, religion and sentimentality for the masses”

80. “Would you have wished more, or fewer, anarchists around in the Thousand Year Reich or any of the other fantasies of hierarchy?”

81. “Those of us who are most genuinely repelled by war and violence are also those who are most likely to decide that some things, after all, are worth fighting for.”

82. “There is a germ of religion in human nature so strong that whenever an order of men can persuade the people by flattery or terror that they have salvation at their disposal, there can be no end to fraud, violence, or usurpation.”

83. “Divine permission, given to people who think they have god on their side, enables actions that a morally normal unbeliever would not contemplate.”

84. “Religion is poison because it asks us to give up our most precious faculty, which is that of reason, and to believe things without evidence. It then asks us to respect this, which it calls faith.”

85. “Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.”

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