From the Times Online:
One of Hitchensâ€™s central themes is that gods are made by man, rather than the other way around. A related theme is plagiarism: â€œmonotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay, of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few noneventsâ€. A pair of chapters explores â€œThe Tawdriness of the Miraculousâ€ and the widespread fallacy that we derive our morals from religious rules such as the Ten Commandments. As Hitchens witheringly puts it, does anybody seriously think that, before Moses delivered the tablet inscription â€œThou shalt not killâ€, his people had thought it a good idea to do so?
I said that Hitchens comes into his own on the evils that are done in the name of religion: â€œin the name ofâ€ is important. You canâ€™t just point to evil â€“ or indeed good â€“ individuals who happen to be religious. The case to be made is that people do evil (or good) â€“ because they are religious. Crusaders and jihadis are â€“ by their own lights â€“ good. They do evil things (by our lights) because their faith drives them to it. The nineteen murderers of September 11 scrupulously washed, perfumed and shaved their whole bodies in preparation for the martyrsâ€™ paradise, as they set off on what they sincerely, truly, prayerfully believed was a supremely righteous mission.