An Interview Between Christian Todd Friel and Christopher Hitchens

Friel plays a game of “What if?” with Hitchens. Below is a condensed paraphrase from Luke at Common Sense Atheism:
Friel: “What if God exists, and what if he has provided everything for you… life, health, food, trees, royalties… would he not have been good to you?”

Hitchens: “No. If that were true, I would have an eternal supervising parent who would never let me get on with my life, never let me grow up, and constantly be asking me to thank and praise him. It would be like living in North Korea and having to continuously praise the ‘Dear Leader.’ I think it’s servile.”

Friel: “If God created you and provides everything for you, does he have rights on your life?”

Hitchens: “No. I don’t accept anyone’s right to own me. I created my children and provide for them, but I don’t own them. Besides, would this mean that the sick and starving for whom God has not provided are not owned by God?”

Friel: “Um… next question… does religion really poison everything?”

Hitchens: “Yes. If I am someone’s slave, that ruins everything. The Bible calls for slavery and genocide, too, but that doesn’t make it right.”

Friel: “What if there’s a judgment day? How would you measure up to the Ten Commandments?”

Hitchens: “The first commandments are about pandering to God’s jealous and self-esteem. I’ve never obeyed those and don’t think anyone should. Same for the Sabbath. Murder, thefy, and lying… I don’t need a Bible to tell me those are wrong. As for honoring parents, it depends how well they treat me. And unfortunately the Ten Commandments do not prohibit child abuse, slavery, or genocide. Coveting, though, is a good thing because it leads to innovation. It’s good to want things, but of course not good to steal them.”

Friel: “Have you ever been angry, which is committing murder in your heart?”

Hitchens: “Yes, many times.”

Friel: “Have you ever lusted?”

Hitchens: “All the time.”

Friel: “Have you ever committed adultery?”

Hitchens: “None of your fucking business.”

Friel: “So if God saw you committing all these sins, would he send you to heaven or hell?”

Hitchens: “Not heaven, I hope. An eternity of praise and groveling and thanksgiving would be my idea of hell.”

Friel: “But if you’ve broken the Ten Commands, you’d be going to hell, right?”

Hitchens: “Not by the God of the Old Testament, no. There is no hell in the Old Testament. The idea of eternal torture of the dead for minor infractions doesn’t arrive until Jesus meek and mild.”

Friel: “What if it’s true that Jesus died on a cross to save your sins? Isn’t that the ultimate act of kindness?”

Hitchens: “No. I didn’t ask for a human sacrifice and don’t want it. I would’ve tried to stop it. It’s barbaric. I don’t want anybody to immolate themself for me. And I’m not bound by it. It’s an act of extreme presumption to say that ‘What I’m doing now binds millions of unborn children and takes away their freedom.’ It’s a tyrannical act.”

Friel: “Is it possible the reason you rage against God is that you want to live your own autonomous life?”

Hitchens: “That’s highly probable, yes.”

HT: Common Sense Atheism for the condensed paraphrase.
Now that was good, really good of Hitch.


Landon Hedrick said...

I just read this exact same thing on Luke's blog. I'm wondering whether or not it's really okay to just copy and paste Luke's blog posts to your own blog posts. Something to think about.

Breckmin said...

"have an eternal supervising parent"

Who loves you with an Incredible Love and gave His Life for you.

The problem comes when you don't "see" Love from God TO yourself in relationship to the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

Loving the Creator is logical.

Refusing to be under the Authority of the One Who created you is utterly "illogical" and will be logically dealt with.

If you do not want to be "owned" by God...being disowned is an eternal and horrible reality coming your way..and it is all based on LOGIC.

Steven Carr said...

FRIEL “Have you ever been angry, which is committing murder in your heart?”

JESUS. 'Yes I have.'

John W. Loftus said...

Landon, I'll ask Luke, but I send him a lot of traffic by recommending his blog all of the time.

Chuck O'Connor said...


I have an honest theological question. Does Todd Friel's passive-aggressive arrogance count as the sin of pride? Is there a biblical rationale to assess his coercion as evil seeing that is predicated on possible entrapment? I wonder if Mr. Friel and his listeners recognize that their inability to do anything but parrot what their authority figures told them and their presumption we must do the same are pretty good reasons to reject what they have to offer.

Samphire said...


It is also over on Common Sense Atheism.

John W. Loftus said...

Chuck, I'm not in the habit of telling Christians when they have sinned. That's a theological concept I deny.

Jonathan said...

To: Todd Friel
From: Nelson

Mark Plus said...

Friel: “But if you’ve broken the Ten Commands, you’d be going to hell, right?”

Mark: Apparently god does us a favor when he sends us to hell: He shows that our earthly lives had meaning after all.

BTW, if a god sends me to hell for "adultery" just because I've thought about sex, instead of having gotten my share of it, I'll feel really cheated.

Friel: “Is it possible the reason you rage against God is that you want to live your own autonomous life?”

We have a word in English (borrowed from French) for the person who wants to live his "own autonomous life," as opposed to the Dilberts of the world: Entrepreneur.

Luke said...

Hi. I'm Luke from Common Sense Atheism.

I explicitly state on my About page that people are free to take and use anything on my website and use it however they want as long as they (1) don't charge money for it, and (2) cite the source.

So, I have no problem with John mirroring some of my posts here and linking back to me.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Point taken John.

I disregard the notion of sin too but was wondering what (of if) there is a theological definition of it. My lay-man's take on this apologetic style (which seems rather common) is awfully dishonest and arrogant. I'd define that as prideful.

I just wanted to know from you "insider" perspective if Evangelicals who engage in this practice ever offer a theological rationalization for its hubris.

flounder said...

The whole interview is available at:

Friel just keeps reading from his script and can't deal with the concept that Hitchens will not agree with his assertions. He is too accustomed to dealing with people who have either not thought about these things or already agree with him. Guys like Friel remind me of used car salesmen. He exudes an air of sleaze. I feel like I need to wash my hands after listening to him.