In his god is not Great Christopher Hitchens writes:
June 5, Los Angeles: A three-hour debate with the Reverend Mark Roberts, senior pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, in Orange County, on Hugh Hewitt’s conservative Christian chat show. Very nice of Mr. Hewitt. The Rev doesn’t accuse me of not knowing what I’m talking about: Indeed, he’s very civil about the book. At one point I ask him if he believes the story in Saint Matthew’s Gospel about the graves opening in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion, and the occupants walking the streets. Doesn’t it rather cheapen the idea of resurrection? He replies that as a Christian he does believe it, though as a historian he has his doubts. I realize that I am limited here: I can usually think myself into an opponent’s position, but this is something I can’t imagine myself saying, let alone thinking.
I'm not sure if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, one uses the phrase let alone to talk about two or more things with the part following let alone is way more improbable to occur.
The following example is from OED's definition of let alone:
- He was incapable of leading a bowling team, let alone a country.
Back to Hitchens, he says he can't imagine himself saying something, let alone thinking it. But isn't it easier and more likely for someone to think something, rather than saying it? I mean, you may think anything but you may choose not to pronounce it because thinking may occur unwillingly and is just a matter of moment while saying what you think totally depends on your will to do it.
I hope I've meade myself clear enough. Any remarks are appreciated.
Note: I'm sorry, I should have known that this passage might be a bit insufficient for the purposes of a proper context. So, I'm giving the whole paragraph this time. Hitchens talks about the events he had experienced during the tour he was on to promote his book god is not Great. This is an excerpt from the Afterword of the book.