"The whole purpose of that essay, written in 2006, was to express my concern that the political correctness of the Left has made it taboo to even notice the menace of political Islam, leaving only right-wing fanatics to do the job. Such fanatics are, as I thought I made clear, the wrong people to do this, being nearly as bad as jihadists themselves. I was not praising fascists: I was arguing that liberal confusion and cowardice was empowering them."
"I engage in public debates, but I've never approached them like a high school exercise where one is committed to not changing one's view. I don't want to be wrong for a moment longer than I need to be. If my opponent is right about something, and I can see that, I will be very quick to admit it."
"This notion of eternity, this notion of nothing matters here but matters over the long haul, in the afterlife, because the bulk of our experience is after we die; this religious idea actually robs life of its meaning. It doesn't bring meaning to life. It renders meaningless all of the precious moments we have while alive. This is the only life we are certain of, and it is continually ending. It not only ends in death but it ends in each moment and things change. And that makes each moment precious."
"‘Unless experience lasts forever, there is no point. It means nothing.’ Just try to map this onto your life: every good meal you' had, every pleasant experience as opposed to an unpleasant one, every relationship, none of it means anything, because it ends. A good movie is meaningless — it’s no better than a bad movie — because it ends. This is a strange idea, that unless we disappear into infinity with our experience, there is no difference between the most sublime happiness and the most abject suffering. I think when you actually try to connect with that intuition, it’s strange and really insupportable in our moment-to-moment experience. We care very deeply about the character of our experience. In fact, it is the only thing we can care about."
"It is possible to be well educated, so well educated that you can be a neurosurgeon, and still believe that you can get seventy two virgins in paradise. And this is made possible by the fact that we have allowed a certain mode of thought, religion, to thrive in a cocoon, this sphere of protection from criticism. It is just taboo to criticize people's religious beliefs."
"It is not true that every religion poses the same threat of terrorism in the 21st century. It is not true that every religion could pose the same threat of terrorism in the future. There are some religions that will never generate terrorism, and this is just obvious when you look at their doctrines."
"The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not "cowards," as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith - perfect faith, as it turns out - and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be."
"Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that
certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him.
Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other
over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything --
anything -- be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous
than the world we are living in."
"According to the most common interpretation of biblical prophecy, Jesus will return only after things have gone horribly awry. Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency."
"Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever."
"For nearly a century, the moral relativism of science has given faith-based religion - that great engine of ignorance and bigotry - a nearly uncontested claim to being the only universal framework for moral wisdom. As a result, the most powerful societies on early spend their time debating issues like gay marriage when they should be focused on problems like nuclear proliferation, genocide, energy security, climate change, poverty, and failing schools."
"The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people. This understanding inspires compassion... Religious faith, on the other hand, erodes compassion. Thoughts like, “this might be all part of God’s plan,” or “there are no accidents in life,” or “everyone on some level gets what he or she deserves” - these ideas are not only stupid, they are extraordinarily callous...It is time to grow up and let our hearts break at moments like this."
"Religious moderation is the direct result of taking scripture less and less seriously. So why not take it less seriously still? Why not admit the the Bible is merely a collection of imperfect books written by highly fallible human beings."
"The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not "cowards," as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith—perfect faith, as it turns out—and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be."