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God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens

God is not Great (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Christopher Hitchens

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5,889152710 (3.88)150
Title:God is not Great
Authors:Christopher Hitchens
Info:Hachette Book Group USA (2008), Edition: International Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Read Non-Fiction

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God Is Not Great : How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (2007)


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  podocyte | Jul 5, 2016 |
Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great is an eloquent advocacy of atheism. His arguments are sound and, as always, he writes engagingly. His anecdotal evidence is interesting even if, on occasion, they are all too familiar. And it is this last point that prevents this book, in my opinion, from being essential reading. The argument is all too familiar.

As an atheist, there was not much new in Hitchens' arguments that might serve as further ammunition should I find myself in a debate with a believer. The arguments are routine: the wonder of science is more remarkable than the tawdry mysticism of religion, religion itself is tribal and violent and destructive, and it has no place in humanity's future. I agree with all these points, but the fact that I have heard them all before does diminish my interest somewhat. Where Hitchens excels is in recycling these points in a more presentable manner; Hitchens is, for example, less smug/condescending/militant (insert your own favoured adjective here) than Richard Dawkins can often appear to be, and his command of rhetoric and polemic is more masterly than Dawkins' more methodical, academic approach. One can, for example, truly comprehend and relate to his anger, when reflecting on the miseries which religion has inflicted on children, that those religious figures should have been thankful that the hell they preached was only one among their wicked falsifications, and that they were not sent to rot there." (p56). He is at his best when wielding Occam's razor, paraphrasing Laplace to note how the natural world works perfectly well without the assumption of a god.

The book seems, however, to be unsure of its intended target. Religion, rather than God, is nominally in the crosshairs, given the book's subtitle of 'How religion poisons everything'. But Hitchens seems to dip in and out of various arguments with little concern for how they knit together. He will, for example, move on from one chapter on religion's attitude towards healthcare to the next on the metaphysical claims of religion, or from a chapter on whether religion makes people behave better to another dedicated to the eastern religions such as Buddhism, with few attempts to link the chapters. Consequently, though one leaves the book with broadly anti-religious feelings, the sensation is more muddled than when one finishes a more hard-hitting, comprehensive polemic such as Dawkins' The God Delusion.

Indeed, in reading the book, I could not help but repeatedly compare it to The God Delusion, which I read a few years ago and which first codified my views on atheism and religion. I do not think this is an unfair comparison as both have the same goal - an advocacy of thoughtful atheism and free-minded scepticism - but I came to the conclusion that The God Delusion was the superior book, and should be the first port of call for anyone looking to engage with such arguments. God is Not Great is a fine polemic, and will appeal to those of an atheistic or agnostic persuasion, but it lacks the comprehensiveness of Dawkins' book." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
With a title like "God is not great", you don't start reading expecting a nuanced look at religion. And with an author like the late Christopher Hitchens, you don't expect anything less than a thorough damnation of whatever he turns his mind to.

Hitchens describes his own religious journey to atheism and then raises ideas like 'Is Religion Child Abuse' (yes) and 'The Nightmare of the "Old" Testament' (although I think that most people would agree many parts of the Old Testament are NSFW). He doesn't pull any punches in his attacks on religion and I can't help but think that he isn't going to win any new converts, and is just preaching to the converted. Still, Hitchens could put a sentence together like few others and he's in top form here. So for an old fence sitting agnostic like myself it was an interesting diversion for me while holidaying in Monaco recently. ( )
  MiaCulpa | May 18, 2016 |
Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great:
How Religion Poisons Everything

Twelve Books, Paperback [2008].

12mo. 377 pp. References [345-54] & Index [355-77].

First published, 2007.
First International Paperback Printing, March 2008.
Undated 12th printing per number line.


One: Putting It Mildly
Two: Religion Kills
Three: A Short Digression on the Pig; or, Why Heaven Hates Ham
Four: A Note on Health, to Which Religion Can Be Hazardous
Five: The Metaphysical Claims of Religion Are False
Six: Arguments from Design
Seven: Revelation: The Nightmare of the “Old” Testament
Eight: The “New” Testament Exceeds the Evil of the “Old” One
Nine: The Koran Is Borrowed from Both Jewish and Christian Myths
Ten: The Tawdriness of the Miraculous and the Decline of Hell
Eleven: “The Lowly Stamp of Their Origin”: Religion’s Corrupt Beginnings
Twelve: A Coda: How Religions End
Thirteen: Does Religion Make People Behave Better?
Fourteen: There Is No “Eastern” Solution
Fifteen: Religion as an Original Sin
Sixteen: Is Religion Child Abuse?
Seventeen: An Objection Anticipated: The Last-Ditch “Case” Against Secularism
Eighteen: A Finer Tradition: The Resistance of the Rational
Nineteen: In Conclusion: The Need for a New Enlightenment



This book is the “companion volume” of The God Delusion (2006).

Hitchens and Dawkins make for an interesting comparison. Both treat much the same subject, nicely summarized in the subtitle of this book, and both write trenchant, pugnacious and rhetorical, but also clear and amusing, English. But there are several differences. Hitchens is slightly less witty and more literary, better argued but less well annotated. Perhaps the lack of scientific background may account for his lack of that annoying smugness characteristic of Dawkins. Indeed, one of the very few times when he mentions his famous colleague is to note his “annoyance” at Dawkins and Dennett for their “cringe-making proposal” that atheists should name themselves “brights”. Conceited indeed! There are quite a few atheists just as irrational as the worst religious freaks. They are convinced in God’s non-existence, not on rational grounds, but out of hate for organised religion.

Most important of all, Hitchens does not write evolution with a capital letter, like “God”, and he doesn’t care much about the Almighty as a scientific hypothesis. Both of these points count in his favour. Using evolutionary principles to explain human nature is not science but pseudoscience. “We must also confront the fact that evolution is”, Hitchens observes with scientific acumen beyond Dawkins, “as well as smarter than we are, infinitely more callous and cruel, and also capricious.” Few readers, especially but not only devotees, care for genuine science anyway. Even those on the fence are more likely to be moved off it by numerous examples of glaring logical contradictions in the doctrines and “uniquely delinquent” (Hitchens is a fine wordsmith) religious opinions. These Hitchens provides with gusto. And though he has no background in science, his method is essentially scientific. He relies on personal observation and historical evidence to build his arguments. He despises authority, however ancient or sacred this might be.

Hitchens, like Dawkins, is often indignant and even angry, but his book is far from being a mere diatribe. It is a rigorously argued position which – and this is a surprise for people who read nothing but blurbs – is rather tolerant. Hitchens is disappointed that Orwell, one of his heroes if he ever did have heroes, should be so callous about burning churches in Catalonia in 1936. “I leave it to the faithful to burn each other’s churches and mosques and synagogues, which they can always be relied upon to do.” Hitchens declares, perhaps surprisingly to those fanatics who give atheism a bad name, that religious faith is ineradicable and will never die out, “or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other.” I believe him, and I agree with him, when he says he would not prohibit religion even if he could and that he does not insist “on the polite reciprocal condition – which is that they in turn leave me alone.” At one place, Hitchens even recounts, touchingly, how he lost his youthful religion (Marxism, as it were) and hopes to have done the same for the reader:

Thus, dear reader, if you have come this far and found your own faith undermined – as I hope – I am willing to say that to some extent I know what you are going through. There are days when I miss my old convictions as if they were an amputated limb. But in general I feel better, and no less radical, and you will feel better too, I guarantee, once you leave hold of the doctrinaire and allow your chainless mind to do its own thinking.

As it might be expected, there is nothing new in the Atheist Credo expounded by Hitchens, nor in his major objections to religion, but the main points are marvellously summarised in his opening chapter. To paraphrase a prose like that would be almost like recomposing Beethoven. Therefore, I will take advantage of liberal quotation:

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 anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.


We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books. Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and – since there is no other metaphor – also the soul. We do not believe in heaven or hell, yet no statistic will ever find that without these blandishments and threats we commit more crimes of greed or violence than the faithful.


We speculate that it is at least possible that, once people accepted the fact of their short and struggling lives, they might behave better toward each other and not worse. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true – that religion has caused innumerable people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow.


There is no need for us to gather every day, or every seven days, or on any high and auspicious day, to proclaim our rectitude or to grovel and wallow in our unworthiness. We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine. Sacrifices and ceremonies are abhorrent to us, as are relics and the worship of any images or objects (even including objects in the form of one of man’s most useful innovations: the bound book). To us no spot on earth is or could be “holier” than another: to the ostentatious absurdity of the pilgrimage, or the plain horror of killing civilians in the name of some sacred wall or cave or shrine or rock, we can counterpose a leisurely or urgent walk from one side of the library or the gallery to another, or to lunch with an agreeable friend, in pursuit of truth or beauty.


While some religious apology is magnificent in its limited way – one might cite Pascal – and some of it is dreary and absurd – here one cannot avoid naming C. S. Lewis – both styles have something in common, namely the appalling load of strain that they have to bear. How much effort it takes to affirm the incredible! The Aztecs had to tear open a human chest cavity every day just to make sure that the sun would rise. Monotheists are supposed to pester their deity more times than that, perhaps, lest he be deaf. How much vanity must be concealed – not too effectively at that – in order to pretend that one is the personal object of a divine plan? How much self-respect must be sacrificed in order that one may squirm continually in an awareness of one’s own sin? How many needless assumptions must be made, and how much contortion is required, to receive every new insight of science and manipulate it so as to “fit” with the revealed words of ancient man-made deities? How many saints and miracles and councils and conclaves are required in order first to be able to establish a dogma and then – after infinite pain and loss and absurdity and cruelty – to be forced to rescind one of those dogmas? God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.


Thus the mildest criticism of religion is also the most radical and the most devastating one. Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did. Still less can they hope to tell us the “meaning” of later discoveries and developments which were, when they began, either obstructed by their religions or denounced by them. And yet – the believers still claim to know! Not just to know, but to know everything.

[From Chapter 4:]
Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.

So it does. Hitchens has nothing new to add to what Dawkins already said on the conspicuous lack of intelligence of “intelligent design”, the idiotic inconsistencies of the Bible or the horrendous forms of religiously sanctioned child abuse. But his onslaught is more incisive and less bogged down in excessive detail. Of course religious freaks can always be counted on “proving”, to their own satisfaction at least, the opposite of what Hitchens says. In fact, nobody can really prove whether religion is divine or man-made. There is no direct evidence either way. There is, however, a huge amount of circumstantial evidence that tilts the scales firmly towards man-mad(e)ness, so firmly indeed that it becomes no less certain than any other historical fact a few millennia old. Sometimes Hitchens is uncommonly perceptive when he connects – without the benefit of Darwin – the origins of religion with the fundamentals of human nature:

Tertullian, one of the many church fathers who found it difficult to give a persuasive account of paradise, was perhaps clever in going for the lowest possible common denominator and promising that one of the most intense pleasures of the afterlife would be endless contemplation of the tortures of the damned. He spoke more truly than he knew in evoking the man-made character of faith.

Bertrand Russell once wondered why propaganda was more effective in stirring hatred than friendship. He concluded, to my mind rightly, that the human heart, at least its modern version, is simply more capable of hate than of love.[1] The church fathers had evidently reached the same conclusion a long time ago.

Hitchens, unlike Dawkins, has something substantial to say about Eastern religions. Predictably, he doesn’t think much of them. It is hilarious to read of his experience in an ashram near Bombay where Sri-whatever-his-name-was possessed a “sibilant voice [with] a faintly hypnotic quality. This was of some use in alleviating the equally hypnotic platitudinousness of his discourses.” He continues with the rather abhorrent practices in this ashram, which were secretly captured on video, and the sudden disappearance of the guru, presumably reincarnated. He also touches on the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict in Sri Lanka, which is ethnic but reinforced by religion, the megalomaniac monarchical pretensions of the Dalai Lama, and the Japanese Buddhism which “became a loyal servant – even an advocate – of imperialism and mass murder, and it did so, not so much because it was Japanese, but because it was Buddhist.” As usual, he finds time for a joke:

“Make me one with everything.” So goes the Buddhist’s humble request to the hot-dog vendor. But when the Buddhist hands over a twenty-dollar bill to the vendor, in return for his slathered bun, he waits a long time for his change. Finally asking for it, he is informed that “change comes only from within.” All such rhetoric is almost too easy to parody, as is that of missionary Christianity.

This ostensibly casual reference to the Christian missionaries leads to the fascinating speculation that their breathtaking inanity, or the “condescension of old colonial boobies” in Hitchensian, may have been partly responsible for the West’s misplaced reverence for Eastern religions.

Hitchens, compared to Dawkins, tends to ask more relevant questions and to answer them in a more revealing way. Dawkins asks, for example, “What are the roots of morality?” and “Why are we good?” (assuming we are!), then he launches into a rambling discussion with numerous quotes from Dostoevsky to Ian Fleming, not to mention the dubious “explanations” along evolutionary lines. Hitchens asks “Does religion make people behave better?”, takes two famous religious figures from the twentieth century, and argues very convincingly that Martin Luther King’s profound humanism had very little to do with his theological convictions: it is futile, therefore, to give him as an example of beneficial religious influence. In the case of Mahatma Gandhi, who “was in a sense pushing at an open door” since the Indian independence was in the air ever since the end of World War I, Hitchens presents another strong case, but in the opposite direction: “it is exactly his religious convictions that make his legacy a dubious rather than a saintly one.”

Hitchens, like Dawkins, can be accused of neglecting the good done by religion. For my part, these writers are fully justified in doing that. The good done by religion is not just infinitesimal compared to the bad. It has always been curiously passive. What is that good anyway? Tending the poor in a Mother-Teresa fashion? This is a poor example of goodness indeed. The real – and really difficult – problem is how to prevent poverty in the first place. Religion is quite innocent of ever even attempting to do that. Comforting the dying with fairytales of afterlife? This is an even poorer example. Death, as Tennessee Williams once observed, “has never been much in the way completion.”[2] Living is what matters. Even religion’s, specifically Catholicism’s, famed patronage of the arts is a dubious affair. It was the Church that commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling and altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. It was also the Church who later commissioned some hack to cover the “indecent” nude bodies in The Last Judgement.

Hitchens, like Dawkins, is sometimes superficial, or leaves his prejudices get the better of him. He certainly makes a weak case that the New Testament “exceeds the evil” of the old one. He is preoccupied with trivia like inconsistencies, inaccuracies and fabrications. This is a blind alley. It doesn’t matter a damn whether or not Jesus existed, what he believed or didn’t believe, what he did or didn’t do. The only thing that matters is that quite a few people believe in the image of Jesus as it emerges from the Gospels. Hitchens would have done better to examine Jesus’ character and see if it makes sense to regard Christ as a paragon of virtue, as Bertrand Russell did in “Why I Am Not a Christian” (1927)[3], or dwell at some length on the perversion of Christ’s original message by Christianity, as Bernard Shaw did in the preface to Androcles and the Lion (1916)[4]. To be fair to Hitchens, he does make at least one disturbing observation about Jesus, namely that he was the first to bring hell and everlasting punishment into the Christian picture. This is an elaboration on Russell who was dismayed that Christ apparently believed in such a horrible concept. It is still more chilling to reflect that he might have introduced it.

Even at his best, Hitchens occasionally shies away from stating the blunt truth, or simply cannot see it. This is strange. He is anything but stupid, and he certainly can’t be accused of following the title of his opening chapter. For example, Chapter 17 is an enthralling discourse on the complicity of the Catholic Church with Fascism and Nazism and of the Russian Orthodox Church with Stalinism, among other examples of other faiths supporting equally obnoxious dictatorships (e.g. Imperial Japan, modern North Korea). All this is rather obvious, for one thing. Religious bigots may have been the stupidest and the cruelest people in history, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean they were entirely devoid of shrewdness: they knew perfectly well the wisdom of the maxim “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

But this is missing the point! And the point is this: religion and totalitarianism is absolutely the same thing. Both have their roots in the same toxic combination of stupendous ignorance, complete irrationality and insatiable greed for power. Both have produced virtually identical, and appalling, results: deification of dubious individuals, inane sacred texts, abolition of free inquiry, persecution of non- and misbelievers, genocide.

Hitchens seems to be aware of this. He quotes Orwell who, in 1946 (“The Prevention of Literature”), wisely observed that “A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible.” He almost certainly knew that Russell had been there at least 11 years earlier: “The newer creeds of Communism and Fascism are the inheritors of theological bigotry”[5]. Hitchens himself writes: “Communist absolutists did not so much negate religion, in societies that they well understood were saturated with faith and superstition, as seek to replace it.” Yet he fails to make absolutely clear the connection which is the real objection. Dictators did replace religion, perching themselves up as gods and demanding unconditional adulation; their atheism and the presumably “secular” character of their pet states are matters of irrelevant semantics. Instead of thus equaling religion and totalitarianism, Hitchens writes things like this: “Turning to Soviet and Chinese Stalinism, with its exorbitant cult of personality and depraved indifference to human life and human rights, one cannot expect to find too much overlap with preexisting religions.” The truth, of course, is precisely the opposite. Maybe Hitchens was being sarcastic and I didn’t get his point.

As for the mighty force of the Hitchens prejudice let loose, a typical example is the scathing attack on Mel Gibson (“fascist and ham actor”) and The Passion of the Christ (“soap-opera film”, “travesty”) which is neither here nor there and adds nothing to the value of the book. Such instances are rare, but they do happen.

My only other disappointment is the low level of scholarship. The References are perfunctory, to say the least. There are whole chapters without a single cited source! Incidents that derive from the author’s own experience or clearly express his own opinions obviously don’t need references, but these are relatively few. Countless statements ranging through many centuries are left unsourced. Few of them are given names of authors and books in situ, but the vast majority are left in the air. This is simply not serious.

I’m afraid I’m not that familiar with the controversy around The Satanic Verses or the aftermath of 9/11. Hitchens gives extraordinary examples of religious bigotry related to these events, but it will be a job to verify them online. And these are just two among numerous cases. How does he know so much about Laplace, William of Ockham, porcophilia and porcophobia, “theology and theodicy”? Surely not from Wikipedia? Perhaps not, but we are scarcely told. Hitchens evidently wants to be taken seriously, and I believe he deserves to be. An extensive bibliography, preferably annotated, and meticulous documentation of your sources is a necessary, though in itself not sufficient, condition to be taken seriously.

(On the top of all that, I was horrified to note that all – all – page numbers in References are wrong. The very first reference, to Hitchens’ beloved Mother Teresa in Chapter 2, is said to occur on pp. 17 and 18, but in fact it does occur on p. 20. Observing that this difference becomes greater as the book progresses, I made the testable prediction that these page numbers are accurate but refer to a different edition with fewer pages, probably a hardback. Furtive online glances showed that, sure enough, this is the case. This is not, of course, a fault of the author. It is the publisher that should be blamed for this unbelievable sloppiness.)

That aside, this is a fascinating, entertaining and thought-provoking work, in several ways superior to Dawkins. The God Delusion is obviously the better title, but God Is Not Great (an awful title) is the better book (shorter, too). For my part, Hitchens is the more concentrated and the more persuasive polemicist. Though he is rather too fond of asides in brackets and occasionally entangled in his own sentences, Hitchens is also the more eloquent and the more powerful writer.

Religion remains, by a wide margin, the most ancient and the most ludicrous conspiracy theory, as well as the most vicious form of institutionalised sadism, which our civilization may boast. But if our species is so stupid that even today whole books must be written to expose its falsehood and, hopefully, check its atrocities, may they be written as well as this one. I conclude with the immortal words of Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), quoted by Hitchens as an epigraph to his Chapter 2, which sum up the past and future of religion with admirable brevity:

In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind old men as guides.[6]

[1] Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness (1930), Chapter 6.
[2] Last line of the short story “One Arm”, reprinted in Collected Stories (1985).
[3] Given as a lecture and printed in pamphlet form in 1927. Reprinted countless times in later years, most notably in Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, 1957, ed. Paul Edwards.
[4] Shaw’s preface is titled “On the Prospects of Christianity” and, for once, it is indeed longer than the play.
[5] Bertrand Russell, Religion and Science (1935), Chapter 7. In his outstanding essay “The Value of Free Thought” (1944), Russell was considerably more explicit:
Christian orthodoxy, however, is no longer the chief danger to free thought. The greatest danger in our day comes from new religions. To call these religions may perhaps be objectionable both to their friends and to their enemies, but in fact they have all the characteristics of religions. They advocate a way of life on the basis of irrational dogmas; they have a sacred history, a Messiah, and a priesthood. I do not see what more could be demanded to qualify a doctrine as a religion.
[6] This is from Chapter 2 of Gedanken und Einfälle. If you prefer the original German, here it is:
In dunklen Zeiten wurden die Völker am besten durch die Religion geleitet, wie in stockfinstrer Nacht ein Blinder unser bester Wegweiser ist; er kennt Wege und Stege besser als ein Sehender. – Es ist aber töricht, sobald es Tag ist, noch immer die alten Blinden als Wegweiser zu gebrauchen. ( )
7 vote Waldstein | May 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (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

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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
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.
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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:04 -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.

(summary from another edition)

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