Andrew Sullivan continues to post transcribed portions of a conversation he had with Christopher Hitchens at Hitch’s dining room table several years ago. The conversation is fascinating and, though I admire Sullivan in many ways, Hitchens is clearly getting the best of it. This passage really jumped out at me:
H: One can’t be neutral about religion. One can’t just say it’s wrong — one has to say it’s a wicked thing to desire. I mean, why would anyone want it to be true that one was subject to permanent round-the-clock supervision, surveillance, and possibly even intervention, all of one’s waking and sleeping life? And one couldn’t escape it by dying.
It’s worse than any kind of totalitarianism; it means you’re absolutely held as property, that you have no autonomy, that you throw yourself permanently on the mercy of somebody. That is the description of the servile condition; that’s why both Islam and Christianity were both perfectly adapted, and still are in many ways, to feudalism or absolute monarchy, which of course is one of feudalism’s counterparts.
We would not accept such behavior from any human. If someone raised dogs and decided that one of them will be loved and fed while another will be fed into a wood chipper and a third would be thrown under a moving bus, not a soul would consider that person anything but cruel and barbaric. Yet they somehow find the notion of a God doing exactly that with every human that has ever lived to be a source of comfort rather than disgust. It baffles me.