God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

byChristopher Hitchens

Paperback | September 2, 2008

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Christopher Hitchens, described in the London Observer as “one of the most prolific, as well as brilliant, journalists of our time” takes on his biggest subject yet–the increasingly dangerous role of religion in the world.

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.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS (1949-2011) was the author of the New York Times bestsellers god Is Not Great, Hitch 22: A Memoir, Arguably: Essays, and Mortality, among others. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also wrote for The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and The Independent, and appeared ...
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Title:God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons EverythingFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:320 pages, 9 × 5.98 × 0.86 inShipping dimensions:9 × 5.98 × 0.86 inPublished:September 2, 2008Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771041438

ISBN - 13:9780771041433

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth reading This book is very though provoking when it comes to religion
Date published: 2018-05-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hitch Reads almost like a collection of essays. Interesting propositions and strong arguments. A thought provoking book for believers and un-believers alike.
Date published: 2018-03-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lots of zingers, but little substance Hitchens has a lot of zingers and truly quotable lines, but they’re buried under a meandering and unstructured argumentation. The book is divided into chapters, but there’s no build-up or progression. It’s more like Hitchens merely writes in the train of thought and then publishes, without regard for editing. I also didn’t like the lack of notation. He does have end-notes, but they aren’t marked in the text and mostly only provide citations for the passages he quotes. Any “facts” that he writes aren’t sourced, so it’s often difficult to check their veracity.
Date published: 2018-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read Really inspirational and thought provoking! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A phenomenal book for the ages This has been a book I've returned to time and time again to rediscover and reaffirm the greatness that is the legacy of Hitch. His prose is elegant, thought-provoking, and yet accessible, making this the perfect read for anyone finding themselves on the fence regarding religious belief and dogma at large.
Date published: 2017-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from God-level Hitchens is the preeminent voice when it comes to challenging the religions of the world, and God Is Not Great is the preeminent book. Well-rounded, well thought out, and not biased, but rather logical, reasonable, and enlightened. The fastest growing minority in the world now has a creed of its own with this book, one based on a morality not derived from faith and superstition. Please buy, please read!
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read Hitchens disposes of the god premise entirely, concisely and beautifully.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easily one of my best reads Having discovered Hitchens' material after his death, this book makes me wish even more that he was still around. Incredibly witty, but tackles serious topics with vigour. If you liked 'The God Delusion' you will definitely enjoy this book.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Just For Atheists Hitchens is a hero in my house - while I prefer his writings on independent thought, this book is true to his legacy. Hitchens' debates are legendary and this book reads as though he is back up on a stage, almost carelessy arguing against religion. He does present some interesting ideas on the subject, but it comes across less as a challenge to consider your own beliefs in religion; more of a solid thump over the head about why you're basically a moron if you believe at all. Cynics will rejoice!
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hitchen's style of prose utlimately makes the book leaden and confusing despite it's strengths I have great respect for Mr. Hitchens and was looking forward to reading his book. I was unfortunately disappointed. This is mainly because of his writing style. He writes like the upperclass Englishman that he was, and thus has long sentences that deaden rather than envigorate, he goes against the advice fo one of his idols George Orwell and the work he wrote on politics and the English language. This may have been acceptable in Hitchen's short coulmns but in book length it makes things too much of a drag. Some chapters are interesting (Religion Kills, A Note on health and the lack of an Eastern solution) unfortunately these are the exceptions not the norm. His chapters on the metaphysical claims of his religion and his conclusion are particularly soul crushing. Though I admire the man I suggest readers pass on this book
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous read Love this guy! Miss his intelligence and wit. This book is true and relevant in our herd society of today. Wish everybody would read it.
Date published: 2015-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great writing and great book A great book by the late great Hitchens. A must read for skeptics and unbeliever alike. Questioning your religiosity? This is one of the books for you.
Date published: 2015-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible book! A must read for all. This book was amazing! Mr Hitchens points out the landslide of contradictions, psychotic behavior and wish-thinking that is to be found in religion. His clever writing style is a pure pleasure to read as he takes us on a journey through the dangers of theocracy, the flaws of the "design" argument and the outright immoral practices of religion through the ages. An absolute must-read. Worth its weight in gold (along with his other books.) One of my favourite books of all time. This book helped me in my quest to rid myself of religious brainwashing. We miss you Christopher Hitchens. You are among the voices of sanity that this world needs so much, in an age where the religious zealots cannot wait for our world to end.
Date published: 2014-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from God is not great Very interesting book. Worth the read.
Date published: 2014-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from God is a jerk I was a fan of Hitchens for a long time and have seen most of his debates on YouTube. I can hear Hitchens voice clearly coming off the page and his critique is as thoughtful and well considered as ever.
Date published: 2014-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from God is certainly not great Truly thought provoking and relevant. Nourishes confidence in the human mind and encourages self-exploration.
Date published: 2013-03-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Does Little to Bridge the Great Divide For the traditional believer, this book will be a challenge. For the non-believer, it will reinforce a smug superiority. There was little in Hitchens writing that I could not agree with other than possibly the title of the book. Unfortunately for a man of Hitchen's intelligence, his "attack" on the religious and Godly could be likened to a university professor's attack on a elementary student. To alienate the fundamentalist, Hitchens will surely have succeeded, although they will not be his audience with this book. The building of understanding and and wisdom between the two solitudes of believers and non-believers is not a role a contrarian such as Hitchens should be expected to fill and so for this reader, there was little to be gained other than some self-righteous one-upmanship and possibly a little compassion for Mr. Hitchens.
Date published: 2013-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hitchen's Eloquence Makes Reading This Book A Engaging Cerebral Experience I like that Hitchens' careful research leaves no stone unturned. I have watched a lot of Hitchens' debates on YouTube, and many of what is written in the book were already said in these debates. On addition to Hitchens discourse, he also provides his readers dozens of books and articles which he had used for his book research. All in all, if English is not your strong point, (Hitchens use a lot of unfamiliar words -- the book's vocabulary is way too rich for me) I suggest that you have a dictionary at hand (thankfully, I am using Kobo Touch which has an awesome dictionary). I hold a high respect for Christopher Hitchens. Many people may or may not agree with everything that he says, but he does have many persuasive argument when it comes to religion. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2011-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth reading - for anyone Having watched a Christopher Hitchens' lecture on YouTube, I immediately bought this book. He has a way with words, some that to be honest, I had to look up, but he invariably gets his points across with which the reader has full understanding. This book is for anyone and everyone - believer and non-believer alike. I admire his respect for people's choices with regard to religion as he states his case. My book is dog-earred and I have looked up so many references that he uses to better understand his position. This book makes one think, which is what I believe is one of his goals in writing it. A serious, controversial subject however for those searching, I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2011-02-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Fanciful Rhetoric and Nothing Else The main flaw of this book is that it relies only on fanciful rhetoric and hardly presents any facts. As well, it is difficult to get into as the tone is quite harsh and arrogant and the work itself is very random (as in, not planned out). It seems as if he was just writing whatever came to his head at the time without trying to correlate any of it together. Confusing, convoluted, and ultimately, not worth it.
Date published: 2009-11-01

Read from the Book

Putting It MildlyIf 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. They will be defiling the memory of a good, sincere, simple woman, of stable and decent faith, named Mrs. Jean Watts. It was Mrs. Watts’s task, when I was a boy of about nine and attending a school on the edge of Dartmoor, in southwestern England, to instruct me in lessons about nature, and also about scripture. She would take me and my fellows on walks, in an especially lovely part of my beautiful country of birth, and teach us to tell the different birds, trees, and plants from one another. The amazing variety to be found in a hedgerow; the wonder of a clutch of eggs found in an intricate nest; the way that if the nettles stung your legs (we had to wear shorts) there would be a soothing dock leaf planted near to hand: all this has stayed in my mind, just like the “gamekeeper’s museum,” where the local peasantry would display the corpses of rats, weasels, and other vermin and predators, presumably supplied by some less kindly deity. If you read John Clare’s imperishable rural poems you will catch the music of what I mean to convey. At later lessons we would be given a printed slip of paper entitled “Search the Scriptures,” which was sent to the school by whatever national authority supervised the teaching of religion. (This, along with daily prayer services, was compulsory and enforced by the state.) The slip would contain a single verse from the Old or New Testament, and the assignment was to look up the verse and then to tell the class or the teacher, orally or in writing, what the story and the moral was. I used to love this exercise, and even to excel at it so that (like Bertie Wooster) I frequently passed “top” in scripture class. It was my first introduction to practical and textual criticism. I would read all the chapters that led up to the verse, and all the ones that followed it, to be sure that I had got the “point” of the original clue. I can still do this, greatly to the annoyance of some of my enemies, and still have respect for those whose style is sometimes dismissed as “merely” Talmudic, or Koranic, or “fundamentalist.” This is good and necessary mental and literary training.However, there came a day when poor, dear Mrs. Watts overreached herself. Seeking ambitiously to fuse her two roles as nature instructor and Bible teacher, she said, “So you see, children, how powerful and generous God is. He has made all the trees and grass to be green, which is exactly the color that is most restful to our eyes. Imagine if instead, the vegetation was all purple, or orange, how awful that would be.” And now behold what this pious old trout hath wrought. I liked Mrs. Watts: she was an affectionate and childless widow who had a friendly old sheepdog who really was named Rover, and she would invite us for sweets and treats after hours to her slightly ramshackle old house near the railway line. If Satan chose her to tempt me into error he was much more inventive than the subtle serpent in the Garden of Eden. She never raised her voice or offered violence–which couldn’t be said for all my teachers–and in general was one of those people, of the sort whose memorial is in Middlemarch, of whom it may be said that if “things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been,” this is “half-owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”However, I was frankly appalled by what she said. My little ankle-strap sandals curled with embarrassment for her. At the age of nine I had not even a conception of the argument from design, or of Darwinian evolution as its rival, or of the relationship between photosynthesis and chlorophyll. The secrets of the genome were as hidden from me as they were, at that time, to everyone else. I had not then visited scenes of nature where almost everything was hideously indifferent or hostile to human life, if not life itself. I simply knew, almost as if I had privileged access to a higher authority, that my teacher had managed to get everything wrong in just two sentences. The eyes were adjusted to nature, and not the other way about.I must not pretend to remember everything perfectly, or in order, after this epiphany, but in a fairly short time I had also begun to notice other oddities. Why, if god was the creator of all things, were we supposed to “praise” him so incessantly for doing what came to him naturally? This seemed servile, apart from anything else. If Jesus could heal a blind person he happened to meet, then why not heal blindness? What was so wonderful about his casting out devils, so that the devils would enter a herd of pigs instead? That seemed sinister: more like black magic. With all this continual prayer, why no result? Why did I have to keep saying, in public, that I was a miserable sinner? Why was the subject of sex considered so toxic? These faltering and childish objections are, I have since discovered, extremely commonplace, partly because no religion can meet them with any satisfactory answer. But another, larger one also presented itself. (I say “presented itself” rather than “occurred to me” because these objections are, as well as insuperable, inescapable.) The headmaster, who led the daily services and prayers and held the Book, and was a bit of a sadist and a closeted homosexual (and whom I have long since forgiven because he ignited my interest in history and lent me my first copy of P. G. Wodehouse), was giving a no-nonsense talk to some of us one evening. “You may not see the point of all this faith now,” he said. “But you will one day, when you start to lose loved ones.”Again, I experienced a stab of sheer indignation as well as dis-belief. Why, that would be as much as saying that religion might not be true, but never mind that, since it can be relied upon for comfort. How contemptible. I was then nearing thirteen, and becoming quite the insufferable little intellectual. I had never heard of Sigmund Freud–though he would have been very useful to me in understanding the headmaster–but I had just been given a glimpse of his essay The Future of an Illusion.

Editorial Reviews

#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER“If God intended reasonable men and women to worship Him without embarrassment, why did He create Christopher Hitchens? It was a fatal miscalculation. In God Is Not Great, Hitchens not only demonstrates that religion is man-made--and made badly--he laughs the whole monstrosity to rubble. This is a profoundly clever book, addressing the most pressing social issue of our time, by one of the finest writers in the land.” Sam Harris, Author of the New York Times bestsellers The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation"Noted, often acerbic journalist Hitchens enters the fray. As his subtitle indicates, his premise is simple. Not only does religion poison everything, which he argues by explaining several ways in which religion is immoral, but the world would be better off without religion.… With such chapter titles as "Religion Kills" and "Is Religion Child Abuse?" Hitchens intends to provoke, but he is not mean-spirited and humorless. Indeed, he is effortlessly witty and entertaining as well as utterly rational." Booklist (starred review)"Do yourself a favor and skip the Dawkins and Harris; they're smug, turgid, and boring, with all the human feeling of a tax return. Read Hitchens instead. Test your faith severely or find a champion for your feelings, but read Hitchens. It's a tendentious delight, a caustic and even brilliant book. And with the title alone, he takes his life in his hands, which right there has got to be some proof of his thesis. And so, thank God for Christopher Hitchens." Esquire"Hitchens, one of our great political pugilists, delivers the best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos. The same contrarian spirit that makes him delightful reading as a political commentator, even (or especially) when he's completely wrong, makes him an entertaining huckster prosecutor once he has God placed in the dock. Hitchens's one-liners bear the marks of considerable sparring practice with believers...this is salutary reading as a means of culling believers' weaker arguments." Publishers Weekly