This is a title of an etching by Francisco Goya. “The Sleep of Reason brings forth Monsters” Christopher Hitchens has the picture on the inside cover of his book “God is not Great”. I only discovered this recently as I have only ever known the book as an audio book. It was a serendipitous discovery for me as I have had those same Spanish words tattooed on my left arm.
In his book Hitchens asks why so many people appear to believe that the mind and its ability to reason is something to be distrusted and dulled by the Kool-Aid of religion. Those that hold Faith with a special reverence also seem to have a certain contempt for the intellect. This is the crux of why religion poisons everything.
Firstly, “those who are innocently credulous may become prey for those that are less scrupulous”. They become slaves to those that “lead” and “inspire” them. They will remain on their knees for life while imagining that they are standing tall (my words).
Secondly, “those 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, and that regards life as a poor and transient thing, is ill-equipped for self-criticism.
The monsters will silently creep in and takeover when religion puts reason to sleep.