1. When asked if serious illness had changed his view of the afterlife, Hitchens replied: “I would say it fractionally increases my contempt for the false consolation element of religion and my dislike for the dictatorial and totalitarian part of it.
“It’s considered perfectly normal in this society to approach dying people who you don’t know but who are unbelievers and say, ‘Now are you gonna change your mind?’ That is considered almost a polite question.”
2. Hitchens once branded Mother Teresa “a lying, thieving Albanian dwarf” and said: “She was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God.
“She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.”
3. Hitchens’ verdict on George W Bush: “He is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.”
4. “Europeans think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they’ve taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities.” – his description of American filmmaker Michael Moore.
5. Christopher was invited to join a debated on the “war on Christmas” on NBC news, where he was eventually thrown off for arguing.
He said: “There has been a festival… since the winter solstice was thought of long before any mythical event in the Middle East, a birth date that even the Bible cannot get right and repeatedly gets wrong.”
He also branded religion “junk science” and claimed Christianity is “leaving us as the mockery of the world by pretending that we did not evolve.”
6. “[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god.
“Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realise that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
7. ”The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.”
8. The author’s thoughts on the war against terrorism: “Cluster bombs are perhaps not good in themselves, but when they are dropped on identifiable concentrations of Taliban troops, they do have a heartening effect.”
9. When Hitchens read a premature announcement of his own death in an art gallery catalogue he quipped: “Nothing concentrates the mind more than reading about oneself in the past tense.”
10. “The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.” Enough said.