The Passover story is immoral and bizarre. An omnipotent being kills all the first born, including innocent children, of an entire country. And in order to be spared, this god’s followers must give his angel of death directions written in lamb’s blood. The celebration itself is meant to thank this god for not killing the chosen few—for passing their houses over.
Whenever I’ve pointed out the immorality of slaughtering innocent people, believers are disturbingly quick to defend their god, “It is ok for my god to kill innocent children on Passover because…”
So when I say, as the subtitle of my book, that I think religion poisons everything, I’m not just doing what publishers like and coming up with a provocative subtitle, I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity. It says we can’t be moral without Big Brother, without a totalitarian permission. It means we can’t be good to one another, it means we can’t think without this. We must be afraid, we must also be forced to love someone who we fear, the essence of sado-masochism and the essence of abjection, the essence of the master-slave relationship and that knows that death is coming and can’t wait to bring it on. I say this is evil. And though I do, some nights, stay at home, I enjoy more the nights when I go out and fight against this ultimate wickedness and ultimate stupidity.
“This feast is all about Jesus. The blood = Jesus’s blood. We are all guilty and deserve [death], whoever seeks shelter in the Messiah will live. And yes even the little Egyptians [sic] kids can’t escape it.”
“The more difficult problem is the children. How could God command that the children be killed because these are innocent. . . . God has the right to give and take life as he sees fit . . . So he has the right to give and take life as he chooses . . . He didn’t wrong the children . . . because God has the right to take their lives. In fact, they were the recipients of a great good.”
That is beyond disturbing. If you disagree, substitute the name of your least favorite dictator (Stalin, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Mao) for “God” in the above passage and reread it.
Again, I’d bet that Craig is a nice guy who wouldn’t defend any other genocide, slaughter, or taking of innocent life. There is simply no better illustration of the way that religion corrupts our morality and our shared humanity. Hitchens, whose birthday is tomorrow, April 13, was right: Religion poisons everything.