Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Christopher Hitchens Rewrites the "Commandments."

And how many centuries overdue is it? This list culminates an excellent article in Vanity Fair about the so-called Ten Commandments (of which there are several versions--so much for sacrosanctity). I believe Hitchens has a book shortly forthcoming on the subject, so this can serve as a primer.

Though he does not, I'll put them in list form for easy reference. He begins--

It’s difficult to take oneself with sufficient seriousness to begin any sentence with the words “Thou shalt not.” But who cannot summon the confidence to say:
  • Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color.
  • Do not ever use people as private property.
  • Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
  • Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
  • Do not condemn people for their inborn nature—why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them?
  • Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly.
  • Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
  • Turn off that fucking cell phone—you have no idea how unimportant your call is to us.
  • Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions.
  • Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above.

In short: Do not swallow your moral code in tablet form.



CyberKitten said...


dbackdad said...

Hitchens is a nutter some of the time (usually in the area of politics) but is generally on the ball concerning religion. Nice list.

Foilwoman said...

Ditto to the above two comments (CyberKitten and dbackdad, in case anyone else posts before I do -- those are the only ones I see now). I generally don't like Hitchens much, but that list is great, and he did, delightfully, call Mother Teresa and evil Albanian dwarf, which, while probably true, ironically violates one or two of his commandments, but he knows he's human and flawed, as are we all.

wunelle said...

I love the guy! I think it's a bit of a polemicist, but he so often attacks people and things which are held by tradition in a protected status, that I'm thrilled to see it.

I think he tends to lean toward the military solution to religious (Islam) issues, but it remains to be seen how much we can get around with negotiation and compromise a mythology so strongly adhered to that people will die and kill for it. On that I listen to what he has to say and try to reserve judgment til more facts are in...