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God Is Not Great : How Religion Poisons…
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God Is Not Great : How Religion Poisons Everything (2007)

by Christopher Hitchens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
Well, I am sure that Mr. Hitchens is equally as controversial as Dawkins, so we shall see how quickly this review is swooped upon. (I did one on The God Delusion and had a near immediate rambling assault on Amazon.)

My biggest issue with the book is Hitchens’ reading it. I have heard him in debates and found him drolly entertaining. However, in the reading of the book, his voice fluctuates both in volume as well as in clarity. I was often forced to try and fill in the blanks of sentences lowered to a jumbled mumble. I am not sure who was at the control board during the recording, but they should have been whacking him with a pointer each time he started to slump over and talk into his shoulder.

That said, as always, I find Hitchens to be intelligent and insightful. He does cover much of the same ground that Dawkins did in The God Delusion (or vice versa, not sure whose came out first) I am also not sure the reasoning of his commentaries about disagreeing with Dawkins on the subject.

Mumblings aside, I found this book to be excellent in its airing of the histories and realities of some of the largest religions in the world. I learned quite a bit as well. I learned that Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church was jailed as a con artist and suspected of necrophilia. I was also surprised that Hitchens didn’t take issue with the Church’s habit of going through death records and baptizing segments of the deceased population regardless of their religious beliefs in life. He actually found that to be a brilliant answer to the dilemma of correcting past prejudices of not allowing blacks or others into the folds of a church (such as had been the views of the Church of LDS in the earlier days)

I was also surprised to learn that most of these religions “holy books” were delivered to illiterates and transcribed by others. This also included Joseph Smith, Mohammed, etc. I knew that was the case with the Koran. I did’t know so with the others. So, I find it hard to believe that the legitimacy of these “holy texts” are so unquestioned given the highly questionability of their origins.

He speaks at time with dry humor an insight. I smiled at his recounting of how he was more than willing to attend the Bar Mitzvah of a friend’s son or a Muslim religious ceremony or any of any number of religious ceremonies for friends. However, the same respect and accommodation was never returned to him. These same friends always found it necessary to try and help to save his soul.

I think one of the most shattering chapter in the book was the one on is religion child abuse. Hitchens probably showed more emotion in this section than any other as he explained why indeed, religious indoctrination was child abuse. Especially when it came to the rituals of the genital mutilation of children. (And this was the first time I had learned that original Jewish circumcision involved the Rabbi biting the foreskin and sucking it off the child’s penis then spitting it out) Holy crap! He also gave very detailed descriptions of female genital mutilation (most of which I was already familiar with). This chapter alone is enough to deprive on of more than a few good nights sleep.

I do give Hitchen’s credit in that he didn’t just go after Christianity and its religions. He proved himself quite knowledgeable on a good many religions and drug all of their dirty laundry out into the glaring light of day to be seen for what it was without the candy coating, including the Catholic Church’s support of Hitler and the Nazis, the ethnic cleansing in Rhuanda, etc.

Additionally, he backs up all of the genocides, slavery, rape, torture and other horrors with citations from all of the holy books on when god himself commanded or approved of such things, without pausing even for a breath to add in the same comment they hypocrisy of how god can set down laws in one passage only to command his people break them in the next. I have to admit, I have also had a problem with those selfsame hypocrisies. At least most of the pagan gods painted themselves in their true colors.

Hitchens does all of this from the voice of an accomplished journalist, stating the facts as the record shows them, haunting in their stark horror. Above all, he shows that not only do we not need religion to be moral creatures. In truth, we somehow, many of us, manage to be so in spite of it.

In closing, I do have to make a comment about the music I can only assume Hitchens chose for the book. Although very pretty, it just seemed very out in left field to the content of the book. Which made me smile and giggle a few times as it gave pause between the chapters. But, if you are willing to take a stark, unvarnished look at religion, its history and its priesthood, you couldn’t find a better read. Okay, Dawkins is up there as well.

SephiPiderWitch
http://sephipiderwitch.com/god-is-not-great-christopher-hitchens/
March 2015 ( )
  sephibitchwitch | Mar 19, 2015 |
Very important book written for those of us who have an open mind and are willing to use reason above faith. It took great courage for Hitchens to publish this, and hat's off to him. Glad to have somebody at least attempt to be straightforward and honest about a topic that has long concerned me. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
Well writ and well argued, if somewhat... misdirected? "Preaching to the choir" is perhaps an ironic idiom to choose, but nevertheless this is a prevailing feeling on my part. ( )
  zojjz | Sep 29, 2014 |
Hitchens is smart and witty--and he is taking on one of the most controversial issues: Religion.

Hitchen's point is simple: religion is bad, it makes people do bad things. There are people who do good things in the name of religion, but he also asks: What great thing could a person do that he could not do without religion? (Is religion needed to make humans good? Hitchens would say, judging by all of the terrible things that people have done in the name of religion...no.)

This was a fascinating (and pretty quick) read. While reading this book I thought to myself, "I wish I could teach my students to write like this." Every sentence and every word is carefully chosen to support his anti-religious point of view. He writes this book very well.

Whether or not you believe in what he is saying, this is a great book to learn the power of effective arguments! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Hitchens is smart and witty--and he is taking on one of the most controversial issues: Religion.

Hitchen's point is simple: religion is bad, it makes people do bad things. There are people who do good things in the name of religion, but he also asks: What great thing could a person do that he could not do without religion? (Is religion needed to make humans good? Hitchens would say, judging by all of the terrible things that people have done in the name of religion...no.)

This was a fascinating (and pretty quick) read. While reading this book I thought to myself, "I wish I could teach my students to write like this." Every sentence and every word is carefully chosen to support his anti-religious point of view. He writes this book very well.

Whether or not you believe in what he is saying, this is a great book to learn the power of effective arguments! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
Observers of the Christopher Hitchens phenomenon have been expecting a book about religion from him around now. But this impressive and enjoyable attack on everything so many people hold dear is not the book we were expecting. . . He has written, with tremendous brio and great wit, but also with an underlying genuine anger, an all-out attack on all aspects of religion.
 
A positive review
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Hitchensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Vicq, Fearn CutlerDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Witte, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound.
-Fulke Greville, Mustapha
And do you think that unto such as you
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew
God gave a secret, and denied it me?
Well, well - what matters it? Believe that, too!
-The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
(Richard Le Gallienne translation)
Peacefully they will die, peacefully they will expire in your name, and beyond the grave they will find only death. But we will keep the secret, and for their own happiness we will entice them with a heavenly and eternal reward.
-The Grand Inquisitor to his "Savior" in
The Brothers Karamazov
Dedication
For Ian McEwan
In serene recollection of
La Refulgencia
First words
If the intended reader of this book should want to go beyond disagreement with its author and try to identify the sins and deformities that animated him to write it (and I have certainly noticed that those who publicly affirm charity and compassion and forgiveness are often inclined to take this course), then he or she will not just be quarreling with the unknowable and ineffable creator who - presumably - opted to make me this way.
Quotations
The voice of Reason is soft. But it is very persistent.
And here is the point, about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anthing that contradicts science or outrages reason. ("Putting it Mildly")
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446579807, Hardcover)

In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case
against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and
reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry
of the double helix.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"A case against religion and a description of the ways in which religion is man-made"--Provided by the publisher.

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