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.
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. And can he turn a phrase!: "monotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few nonevents." Hitchens's one-liners bear the marks of considerable sparring practice with believers. Yet few believers will recognize themselves as Hitchens associates all of them for all time with the worst of history's theocratic and inquisitional moments. All the same, this is salutary reading as a means of culling believer's weaker arguments: that faith offers comfort (false comfort is none at all), or has provided a historical hedge against fascism (it mostly hasn't), or that "Eastern" religions are better (nope). The book's real strength is Hitchens's on-the-ground glimpses of religion's worst face in various war zones and isolated despotic regimes. But its weakness is its almost fanatical insistence that religion poisons "everything," which tips over into barely disguised misanthropy. (May 30) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Excellent Writing!
Posted April 29, 2012 by K. Allen , D.C.This is the book to get whether you're religious or not for it explains precisely why most rational, secular humanists despise religion, all religions, and why they rightly do so. Everything all religions offer is little more than superstition, snake-oil, and false promises. At their heart - all religions are cruel, fear-mongering, blood-boltered tyrannies written by men for men at the expense of everyone these men can trod underfoot.
But there are a few points, Mr. Hitchens did miss. Transcendent experiences, for example, aren't due to "spiritualism" of any kind - merely the left hemisphere of the brain taking a small vacation thus permitting the right hemisphere of the brain to come out and play for a bit. This flood of oxygen to the right hemisphere can occur under various emotional experiences including orgasms, beautiful views, soaring music to mention just a few.
He also tempered the most devastating criticism of religion - that the religious are willing to kill anyone that disagrees with them, criticizes their religion or shows them the least well-deserved disgust at their actions. And example of this would be the fatwa against Rushdie. Anyone who supported this fatwa to any degree is corrupt to the point where they should crawl along the ground in shame.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It is very well-written and not entirely without humor.
I strongly encourage everyone to read it!
2 . One of the best books ever, from one of the greatest men ever.
Posted June 05, 2010 by Brian , Aurora, ILA fantastic book which illustrates exactly why religion is an evil man-made entity. Essential reading; especially for the true believer - this book may help you wake up from your wishful dreamland...
3 . EYE OPENING!
Posted January 02, 2010 by Dean Kutzler , Perth Amboy NJThis is an eye-opening recollection of the account of religion and the worship of god upon the human race. Christopher Hitchens educates us via this book of the devastation that religion has had on the world throughout the ages. Devastation in the sense of the physical and the mental integrity and destiny of the human race.
Each chapter awakens fresh new knowledge to the reader and opens your eyes to the reality of atheism. Faith should be in human kind, not in insanity.
This is a book well worth reading. It will change the way that you think about the world.
April 29, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
Putting It Mildly
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. 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."