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Good evening. I am Barbara Meade I am one of the owners here in Politics and Prose. First I assured Christopher Hitchens that I had checked everybody's ID at the door. Their high brows, they have a high tolerance of outrage and they also have a very good sense of humor. So we have we have a and credit cards too. So we have we have a good audience here tonight. We need to have a good audience because that our author tonight was named by a foreign policy magazine, near the head of their list at the 100 top public intellectuals in the world. The London Observer who has named him as one of the most brilliant journalists of our time. It's a lot to live up to, this evening Christopher. Christopher Hitchens he has been a long time contributor to Vanity Fair, the Nation, Slate, Times Literary Supplement, the Spectator, the Atlantic monthly and it could go on and on like that but, you know, I really shouldn't even have to introduce him. I thought I could just pass out copies of Michael Kingsley's over the top front page review in the New York Times coming up this Sunday. Right there "In God, Distrust". It's a one it's a wonderful review, it's what, I I can't really put it this way. It's what all, every author prays for. Michael Kingsley writes in the review Hitchens is is the bohemian and the swell, the dashing foreign correspondent, the painstaking literary critic and the intellectual engagÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©. I will say this that Michael Kingsley takes Hitchens to task for being a little bit too quick to resort to French in search of le mot juste. But Michael Kingsley, you might point out to him, Christopher, is guilty a little bit of the same thing in this review. Michael Kingsley goes on to say that Christopher Hitchen's charms Washington hostesses but will set off a stink pot if the opportunity presents itself. Now I am a little bit ambivalent about whether I want to offer that opportunity, this evening. Christopher Hitchen's self described hope in this book is that this book will become the part of the long over due fight back against superstition, sexual repression, political fanaticism and all the other ways in which the faith base have chosen to present themselves. And as Kingsley answers his review he says, "God should be flattered. Unlike unlike most of those clamoring for his attention Hitchens treats him like an adult." One, one final word on his recent 58th birthday in April, Christopher Hitchens became an American citizen. So we all want to wish you Happy Birthday and welcome to America. An impossibly handsome and generous introduction, for which thanks my fellow Americans. I have waited, waited a long time to say that. It was the 13th of April last indeed Mister Jefferson's birthday and mine. And I took my oath at his memorial on the Tidal Basin and I swore particularly to announce one foreign Prince among all the ones that I was sworn to abjure the slobbering dauphin Prince Charles who because of because of when his mother's demise should occur, God should forbid it but when it does occur who will become not just the Head of the State of my country of birth but the Head of the Armed Forces and the Head of the Church and can't stay married. And can't seem to tell a nice girl from a nasty one and who says that he wants to become a Muslim. This is what you get when you found a Church on the family values of Henry the VIIIth. I sometimes think that you, you my fellow Americans who came by this naturally didn't have the strain of going through homeland security before putting up your hand. Don't know how lucky you are. But it's at least given me a new slogan which, to which I invite your attention. When I took my oath to the man who wrote and wanted it among the few things mentioned on this obelisk, the Virginia's statutes on religious freedom, which becomes the basis of our very precious the first amendment. It occurred to me to say in honor of his most famous defense of that position. Mr. Jefferson, build up this wall. Well I am I am not going to. Of course, it's slightly depressing to see how many lugubrious atheists are here with nothing better to do on an evening so full of the bounties of god and the evanescence that he showered on you but so I wouldn't detain you long. I would just I think one can make the case that my book makes under, a couple of brief headings. I wish I will do and then I will be your prisoner and I will be the hostage of any question. Religion itself begins in the infancy the fearful cringing excremental infancy, infancy is charming in infants not very charming in grown ups of our species of our species. Religion begins at a time when people don't know there is a germ theory of disease. They don't know that the earth revolves around the sun. If I they believe the contrary, they don't know whether the earth is round or flat. They don't know when they are told they are given dominion overall species, in genesis. In just not just the - passage doesn't mention any marsupials because the rightists don't know the existence of Australia, doesn't mention any micro-organisms over which the last we still don't have - Dominion. Its it comes from this primitive base cringing, fearful period but our minds fortunately are still patterned to look for argument and for explanation and even a conspiracy theory is better than no theory at all and religion is essentially the conspiracy theory of the origin of the cosmos. And with species but as (Heinrich Hinze) had beautifully put it, and the period before his books were burnt and his reputation was besmirched. In times of extreme darkness where you don't know the road, even a local who is blind and deaf maybe a good guide. But when this dawn breaks you can't bid adieu to this guide however, decent he was to you when it was dark. So that the religious have every thing still ahead of them, they have never been able to prove the existence of God. The cleverest theologians have broken their chops on the question. And that's fine we wouldn't expect them to. But they want to go a step further, they wouldn't say no that, there is such an entity but they know his mind. That they know who and they are able to interpret for you and tell you what to do on this basis. He knows and they can tell you, what he made? With whom he may have this is a family values store, I know, Congress. What books it might be advisable to read. What other practices might be avoided. This is this is an impossible solipsism, an impossible arrogance and self centeredness and it comes, this authoritarianism, in an awfully masochistic guy who should put you off it to begin with. It says bare in mind that you are already dust. As the Christian book says, or you are only fashioned from a clot of blood as the cross is. Bear in mind that you would you were convicted and found guilty before you were conceived of crimes in which you couldn't have possibly been involved and you have all the burden of proof at your own defense and you have been found guilty. But to make up for that role of horrible indictment you can be reassured that the entire cosmos is designed with you in mind. False translation and that he has a plan for you, on condition that you agree to be a serf forever. I am one of the very few people, I know, and the only writer who has been to all three axis of evil countries in the years that lapsed since 2001 I had been to Iran to Iraq and North Korea and I could entail, I am told his lightest word would have their soul and freeze their young blood. Cause their several hairs to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porpentine but the article that I read, that was most praised was from North Korea. A lot of praise for it was reprinted a lot and it, I mention it because it's the article which I am most ashamed. Whenever whenever I am praised I cringe, I clutch because I know it's my greatest failure as a writer. I did my best to show what it might be like to be a North Korean. I I tried everything I knew, to try and get people to think what it would be like for 10 minutes to be a North Korea, the misery, the pointlessness, the horror, the crushing, nothingness of being a and the deprivations and the humiliations that it would be involved. I know I couldn't I do it, I know I failed. But it taught me one thing, it answered a question I had had since I was very small. I used to wonder what paradise would be like as described by my preachers and tutors, they said well it will be eternal praise. You get all the time to praise, you sing praises the entire time to someone who in creating you was doing only what came naturally. I used to think that's sounds like hell to me. But but I used to think, also, but fortunately, a bit like hell, I couldn't quite imagine now I can. Now I have been to a state where that's the case. Now I have been to where eternal praise is mandatory. Now I have seen a state, it has a dear leader and a great leader as probably, you know, that. The great leader, the dear leader as far as you don't know is not in fact the President of North Korea. He is only the head of the party and of the armed forces. His late father is still the President, thus we have a Necrocracy, or you might say a Mozelocracy, or Sanitocracy and you may notice also only one short opportunity and that's what you have to praise from dawn till dusk, so now I know what it would be like but this is one exception. You can't get out of North Korea, you can die and it's over. You can't do that with monotheism, they have only just started with it. Well you laugh, I am trying to make you cry and you laugh. Imagine how I feel. In the old testament you find, as I said in my book, one or two chapters you find the war (unfold) , racism, genocide, slavery, witch burning, mutilation of infants and all the rest of it that's all mandated. But not just praised but mandated, it's pretty rough, notoriously rough but when the earth closes over you after these treatments, that's it. There is no talk of punishing the dead, not until gentle Jesus, meek and mild late of Nazareth or arguably Bethlehem is the idea of eternal torture for children who die unbaptized or in other ways introduced into our culture. That's some of the my central, what I think is my central point. Religion is not just untrue and an obvious manmade falsification. I think there is no one who doesn't essentially know that but there aren't many people, many atheists who say, they can't believe it but they wish they could but it would be nice to believe it. No it wouldn't, it would be the wish for an absolutely impermeable dictatorship that couldn't even be criticized let alone overthrown, that went on forever, that supervised and invigilated your every waking moment and would not stop torturing you even after you were dead. To wish this to be true is to wish to be a slave, it is an immoral belief. I know that Daniel Dennis said something like this to you or some of you once before because I heard him do it. He is a great friend of mine, Professor Steven Weinberg one of our greatest biologists, made the, I think, very cool and laconic observation. In a average ordinary moral, universal moral society, people of goodwill will do such good as they can and those who are sociopathic or psychopathic will do as much evil as it seems to them possible to do but if you want to get good people to do wicked things you need religion. Who of average moral sensibility would mutilate the genitals of a child? For example, lets say here I have had a baby, a gift from God perhaps, who is by the way a perfect designer and what could be a better instance if you felt that, that looking at a new born maybe maybe there is a perfect design of that but on the other hand if we sawed away the genitalia with a sharp stone, it might look a bit better. Anyway that's what that tells you to do. It's enough to make a cat laugh isn't it, it would would be if it wasn't so appalling, so obscene, so tragic and so nasty. To blow yourself up in an old people's home in Netania on Passover is through commission action that will be praised from Minarets and along the electronic media by evil old mullahs everyday. No such action could be possibly endorsed by a person of average morality if it were not endorsed supernaturally. I am sure everyone here can think of therefore own favorite example and so I probably would be trespassing on your time if I went on any further but I get the impression that kind of the US it is come to celebrate my birthday and all, that probably it wouldn't have been quite like this a couple of years ago. I think there is a change in the zeitgeist going on and I have every reason to think what I say is correct. Professor Hawkins and Dennis who have both mentioned and Sam Harris or I could, my other musketeer, have all found in the recent past that this is large audience now for a bit of resistance to clerical bullying and religious lecturing and self righteousness and menace see what you get. He is holding as the Pope having just repudiated limbo after a long struggle. The place where the souls of unbaptized children always went apparently it was never there. Tell it no, but it's serious, tell it to the parents of those children. I have met them people, the people who thought that's where that poor kids have gone having died before they could breathe properly and not been. That's where they though they were, so it was real to them. What characteristics is this to say oh it wasn't really real enough so we made that bit up. They can't do this. It was real, it was a real place for those parents and for the brothers and sisters, of those children too they wept of the thought of where the little one had gone and to say, oh never mind. By the way we we are wrong about this, but we are now ready to be, in fact that we are all over again. This is disgusting and in the same week as he does this the Pope repeats, that we need to teach the children more about hell. Go back again to terrify the composure of young and the innocent with these horrifying stories told them by maladjusted elderly virgins. This is wicked, this is wickedness and we know the consequences of that which have been disclosed, I have described in my book in as follows. Because I render it in Latin, no child's behind left. Crimes are committed that none of us would think of committing but are allowed to those of faith and AIDS in Africa as this maybe bad but nothing like as bad as a condom. This is not morality, meanwhile our Supreme Court refuses to say as it should. That not one American dollar can be used ever for the establishment of the Jewish religion on the West Bank of the Jordan River. We will not have people who want to bring on Armageddon and the Messiah, we will not treat them as friends or as allies, we should recognize them as enemies. Those who look forward eagerly to the destruction of our species and our world. That Danish cartoonist can't do his job in Copenhagen without being threatened with death and his nations tiny economy and Democracy threatened with violence and coercion is bad enough that not one American news outlet would reprint those cartoons out of sheer fear, sheer fear and cowardice is worse and the Borders Books should pull from the magazine rack, the only magazine that I write for, it's called the Free Enquiry I recommend it you, would say oh well, we know what to do about that. We are not selling it. It's even worse. How much more of this are we going to put up with, that people will come and say we insist on teaching pseudo-science to our children in American schools with taxpayers money? What is this? Children the astronomy class is over can you now get ready for the astrology period. They want equal time, they don't want equal time. They want dictatorship of pseudoscience and garbage. The chemistry class was over but after the break we will be doing alchemy. Unless on the conditions that I propose, since George Bush and his wisdom, the man who said that Vladimir Putin is a good man because he wears a crucifix around his neck in a strong field the stupidest thing the President has yet said. A man of faith says that the faith based initiative may give government money to churches, the government looks after - or the state looks after the rich. The churches can look after the poor and tax breaks are given to religious institutions, very well equal time, all right equal time. Any all of those churches in receipt of subsidy or tax breaks must now teach, evolution half the time in their Sunday schools, in their religious services. And distribute the literature in the church porches is not what they want. I doubt it but don't fail to take them up on it because that's what I am talking about. We have to fight back now we could be, we have the constellations of humor and irony and we have a better tradition than they do it. It goes to back to Democratists and they are peculiarists, and (indiscernible) and it goes through Galileo and Newton and Spinoza and Voltaire and Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Payne and Albert Einstein. We have a tradition that it - by all means understands about the transcendent, about the all inspiring. We have the Hubble telescope. We have the pages of Steven Hawkins. We have the extraordinary ethical scientism of of Albert Einstein. We have nothing to be ashamed of, we have something really nutritious, the beauties of science and reason of the constellations of philosophy to offer people and we are expected to be impressed by those who talked about the burning bush. So time for resistance to the extent that I can help to ignite it I am I am very proud for myself to the extent that you might want to join and I hope you will all consider yourselves incredibly welcome. Thank you so much for coming.