Quoting John Stuart Mill

Here’s John Stuart Mill,my favourite genius, speaking of his father’s views on religion:

…he regarded it [religion] with the feelings due not to a mere mental delusion, but to a great moral evil. He looked upon it as the greatest enemy of morality: first, by setting up factitious excellencies,—belief in creeds, devotional feelings, and ceremonies, not connected with the good of human-kind,—and causing these to be accepted as substitutes for genuine virtues: but above all, by radically vitiating the standard of morals; making it consist in doing the will of a being, on whom it lavishes indeed all the phrases of adulation, but whom in sober truth it depicts as eminently hateful. I have a hundred times heard him say, that all ages and nations have represented their gods as wicked, in a constantly increasing progression, that mankind have gone on adding trait after trait till they reached the most perfect conception of wickedness which the human mind can devise, and have called this God, and prostrated themselves before it. This ne plus ultra of wickedness he considered to be embodied in what is commonly presented to mankind as the creed of Christianity. Think (he used to say) of a being who would make a Hell—who would create the human race with the infallible foreknowledge, and therefore with the intention, that the great majority of them were to be consigned to horrible and everlasting torment. The time, I believe, is drawing near when this dreadful conception of an object of worship will be no longer identified with Christianity; and when all persons, with any sense of moral good and evil, will look upon it with the same indignation with which my father regarded it. My father was as well aware as anyone that Christians do not, in general, undergo the demoralizing consequences which seem inherent in such a creed, in the manner or to the extent which might have been expected from it. The same slovenliness of thought, and subjection of the reason to fears, wishes, and affections, which enable them to accept a theory involving a contradiction in terms, prevents them from perceiving the logical consequences of the theory.

—from Christopher Hitchens’ delightful book, The Portable Atheist. This is from Mill’s Autobiography, which was published only after his death in 1873.

3 Responses to “Quoting John Stuart Mill”

  1. themayan Says:

    Sounds like a cheerful. l fellow. I wish I had him in my band, he would be a great lyricist. Very poetic.

    As for Hitchens, poor guy, I wish him the best. He’s not looking so good right now. Remember that it was he who chose to to live in the US, a country populated by a Christian majority, the same Christian majority that embraced and ratified a secular constitution, not a theocracy.

    There are still countries today that embrace state atheism, yet he nor most atheist I know of seem to be flocking to any of these few countries in droves. Unfortunately they dont seem to be known for being bastions of freedom.

  2. monado Says:

    Are you flocking to a theocracy? They don’t seem to be bastions of freedom, either. What is your point about Hitchens? He moved to a country that has freedom of religion and became a citizen after the U.S. suffered a major terrorist attack, to emphasize that he was casting his lot with them. You keep commenting on Hitchens’ health and religion, which makes me suspect that you are gloating over the fate that he is bravely facing. What a nasty little piece of work you are, and unworthy to call yourself a Christian.

  3. themayan Says:

    I said I hoped nothing but the best for his health. I think you missed that part. I have lost friends and family to cancer. Its a terrible illness I have absolutely no hatred for the man. I dont feel I have to hate someone even if I strongly disagree with that person. I sometimes strongly disagree with my mother, but that doesn’t mean I hate her or gloat over her pain.

    I ‘m not sure why you would think that. The fact is, he isn’t looking very well, and neither is Michael Douglas. Who knows? Maybe someday I will be in their shoe’s. I have been a little forward in my threads, but I try not to attack people personally or be overly rude. I do agree with you on one aspect, I am unworthy to be called a Christian.


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