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Quotes from The Rage Against God

To illustrate some of the insight and good writing to be found in Peter Hitchens’ book, The Rage Against God, I have simply pasted in some of my favorite quotes from the book. This book is to put on your list for reading this year.

“…enormous and intrusive totalitarian state power, especially combined with militant egalitarianism, is an enemy of civility, of consideration, and even of enlightened self-interest. . . . I have seen public discourtesy and incivility spreading rapidly in my own country as Christianity is forgotten.” 91

“Together with the experience of Soviet society, this venture convinced me that my own civilization was infinitely precious and utterly vulnerable and that I was obliged to try to protect it.  When you have seen a place from which the whole apparatus of trust, civility, and peace has been stripped, you are conscious as never before of the value of these things and more curious than ever about their origins, not in wealth or power, but in the mind of man and in the better angels of his nature.” 98

“No doubt I should be ashamed to confess that fear played a part in my return to religion. . . .But I should be even more ashamed to pretend that fear did not.” 103

“But the most important time was when I stood in front of Rogier van der Weyden’s great altarpiece and trembled for the things of which my conscience was afraid (and is afraid).  Fear is good for us and helps us to escape from great dangers.  Those who do not feel it are in permanent peril because they cannot see the risks that lie at their feet.” 104

“Those who blame religion for wars tend to do so only when it suits them to do so, and without paying much attention to the details.” 133

“The current intellectual assault on God in Europe and North America is in fact a specific attack on Christianity – the faith that stubbornly persists in the morality, laws, and government of the major Western countries. . . .The God they fight is the Christian God, because he is their own God. . . .God is the leftists’ chief rival.  Christian belief, by subjecting all men to divine authority and by asserting in the words ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ that the ideal society does not exist in this life, is the most coherent and potent obstacle to secular utopianism. . . . the Bible angers and frustrates those who believe that the pursuit of a perfect society justifies the quest for absolute power.

The concepts of sin, of conscience, of eternal life, and of divine justice under an unalterable law are the ultimate defense against the utopian’s belief that ends justify means and that morality is relative.” 134-135

“…when it comes to the millions of small and tedious good deeds that are needed for a society to function with charity, honesty, and kindness, a shortage of believing Christians will lead to that society’s decay.” 144-145

“In their utter reverence for oaths, men of More’s era were in my view as superior to us as the builders of Chartres Cathedral were to the builders of shopping malls.  Our ancestors’ undisturbed faith gave them a far closer, healthier relation to the truth – and so to beauty – than we have.” 146-147

“Even unbelievers have to recognize that God, whether he exists or not, predates earthly dictators and tends to survive them. . . . This may seem trivial to us in our secularized societies still benefiting from the freedoms that flowed from centuries of Christianity.  We have forgotten how we arrived at our civilized state.” 211-212

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