I read an editorial today about a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Heather Mac Donald as to whether Christians are evil or merely stupid and unthinking. It reminded me of a debate from Catch 22 between Yossarian and his lover, Lieutenant Scheisskopf's wife. The whole scene is great, but I'll start just before the punch line. Yossarian is talking about God.
'You know, we mustn't let Him get away with it. Oh, no,we certainly mustn't let Him get away scot free for all the sorrow He's caused us. Someday I'm going to make Him pay. I know when. On the Judgement Day. Yes, that's the day I'll be close enough to reach out and grab that little yokel by His neck and --
' 'Stop it! Stop it!' Lieutenant Scheisskopf's wife screamed suddenly, and began beating him ineffectually about the head with both fists. 'Stop it!'
Yossarian ducked behind his arm for protection while she slammed away at him in feminine fury for a few seconds, and then he caught her determinedly by the wrists and forced her gently back down on the bed. 'What the hell are you so upset about?' he asked her bewilderedly in a tone of contrite amusement. 'I thought you didn't believe in God.'
'I don't,' she sobbed, bursting violently into tears. 'But the God I don't believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He's not the mean and stupid God you make Him out to be.'