On Jesus and Buddhism and eschatology
There are some excellent things in parts of God is not Great*. I thought I would give you a sample.
…it is only in the reported observations of Jesus that we find any mention of hell and eternal punishment. The god of Moses would brusquely call for other tribes, including his favourite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead…[T]he son of god is revealed as one who, if his milder words are not accepted straightaway, will condemn the inattentive to everlasting fire. This has provided texts for clerical sadists ever since, and features very lip-smackingly in the tirades of Islam.
It ought to be possible for me to pursue my studies and researches in one house, and for the Buddhist to spin his wheel in another. But contempt for the intellect has a strange way of not being passive…[T]hose whose credulity has led their own society into stagnation may seek a solution, not in true self-examination, but in blaming others for their backwardness…A faith that despises the mind and the free individual, that preaches submission and resignation, is ill-equipped for self-criticism.
Religion even boasts a special branch of itself, devoted to the study of the end. It calls itself ‘eschatology,’ and broods incessantly on the passing away of all earthly things. This death cult refuses to abate, even though we have every reason to think that ‘eartlhly things’ are all that we have, or are ever going to have.
Worth at least a selective read.
*There are parts where I disagree with Hitchens, and other parts I haven’t read yet because they look to be familiar territory.