Thursday, January 31, 2008
I finished Christopher Hitchen's book God Is Not Great on Monday. I listened to it on audiobook. Hitchens did a pretty good job with the reading, although at the very beginning he sounded like he wasn't having much fun with it, but as he progressed he sounded like he was relishing the words.
A week or so ago I had it playing in my car when it came to Chapter 7: Revelation - The Nightmare of the Old Testament. As I listened the him talk, I felt suddenly very free. Hearing all of the rules and regulations of religion and realizing that none of them applied to me was exhilarating. Somehow, even though I haven't been a Christian in many years, the thought that I don't have to worry about what private thoughts I have or about doing obscure rituals to satisfy a jealous god, made me bubbly-happy.
OK, I should state, for those of you who think religion is necessary for morals, that I'm not talking about shrugging off morals. But it's incredibly freeing to know that being good isn't about doing this or that perfectly. In many ways religious ritual reminds me of magic. The same excuses are used for why both prayer and magical rituals don't work. And both require the believer to ignore reality.
None of this is new to me, but it was startlingly clear at that moment. And for that reason, that reminder, I'm glad I "read" the book.