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God Is Not Great

Hitch talks to New York magazine about his new book God is Not Great (wrongly termed an atheist "manifesto," it's more an atheist anatomy of religion): What’s your favorite Bible story? “Casting the first stone” is a lovely story, even … Read More

By / April 30, 2007

Hitch talks to New York magazine about his new book God is Not Great (wrongly termed an atheist "manifesto," it's more an atheist anatomy of religion):

What’s your favorite Bible story? “Casting the first stone” is a lovely story, even though we’ve found out how much it wasn’t in the Bible to begin with. And the first of the miracles. Jesus changes water into wine. You can’t object to that.

Well, you’ve said plenty about the pleasures of drink before. But it also shows the persistence of the Hellenic influence in those regions. If the Jews had not made the crucial mistake of rejecting Hellenism and philosophy and submitting themselves, or being reconquered, by the Maccabean ultra-Orthodox, everything would have been better and we’d never have had to endure Christianity and Islam.

As it happens, I visited the old boy last week in D.C. since he was giving a talk with Zachary Leader on Kingsley Amis, the occasion being Leader's tremendous new biography of him. (I also got wind of Zach's next project, the subject of which would be extremely relevant to mention in these pages if I weren't sworn to secrecy.)

Anyway, the numinous and its affect on humanity was much discussed. It was established over dinner that Isaiah Berlin's legacy can be chalked up to the name Isaiah and not to any dazzling dichotomy between positive and negative liberties. Imminent parents should keep this in mind: If you want the little hellspawn to go far, call him Maimonides Spinoza. Sam Harris? "A fucking Buddhist."

And, moving back into the corporeal realm, what's the difference between an egg and a handjob? You can beat an egg. (Courtesy of Martin Amis, present in spirit, as it were.)

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