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The Rage Against God [Paperback]

Peter Hitchens
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Feb 2011
Peter Hitchens lost faith as a teenager. But eventually finding atheism barren, he came by a logical process to his current affiliation to an unmodernised belief in Christianity. Hitchens describes his return from the far political left. Familiar with British left-wing politics, it was travelling in the Communist bloc that first undermined and replaced his leftism, a process virtually completed when he became a newspaper's resident Moscow correspondent in 1990, just before the collapse of the Communist Party. He became convinced of certain propositions. That modern western social democratic politics is a form of false religion in which people try to substitute a social conscience for an individual one. That utopianism is actively dangerous. That liberty and law are attainable human objectives which are also the good by-products of Christian faith. Faith is the best antidote to utopianism, dismissing the dangerous idea of earthly perfection, discouraging people from acting as if they were God, encouraging people to act in the belief that there is a God and an ordered, purposeful universe, governed by an unalterable law.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (6 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441195076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441195074
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"A beliver's riposte to the book by his atheist brother, Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great." Simon Hoggart, The Guardian "An absolutely must-read book...Peter Hitchens's forthcoming The Rage Against God." Catholic Herald "Agreed mortality lives on borrowed time...As Peter Hitchens observes, God offers authoritative moral laws, and judgement upon those who knowingly break them." Christopher Howse, Telegraph "The Rage Against God is a magnificent, sustained cry against the aggressive secularism taking control of our weakened culture." --The Spectator

'The two best-written books were Christopher Hitchens's memoirs Hitch 22 and his brother Peter's The Rage Against God. Even though the authors set the benchmark for sibling rivalry, their books prove there is something special about them. Both are restless romantics, enemies of cosy consensus, original minds - and products of an education system that wanted all children to be cultured and questioning. Peter's book reads as if Cardinal Newman were reflecting on life after battle-scarred years as a foreign correspondent, while Christopher's book, if it were a thoroughbred horse, would be by George Orwell out of Kingsley Amis. I can think of no better pair of books for Christmas reflection.' --Michael Gove, Mail on Sunday, 5th December 2010

About the Author

Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. He witnessed most of the final scenes of the Cold War, and was a resident correspondent in the Soviet capital and in Washington, DC. He frequently revisits both Russia and the USA. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo and China, winning the journalism category in the 2010 George Orwell Prize for this correspondence.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the books of the year 27 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not perhaps what I expected - less a tightly argued polemic than an occasionally argumentative memoir. Thankfully, like The Broken Compass, it happens to be some of the best biographical writing around today - much as Hitchens would probably disown such a judgement.

For all his image as a snarling conservative, Hitchens' written persona is a joy to spend time with. Fiercely but properly original (his observations all have solid premises, rather than being cheap shocks), curmudgeonly but graceful, and with winning depths of earnestness and nostalgia; he is never boring, frequently compelling, and usually provocative and sympathetic in equal measure. The trouble is, there are so few people out there actually writing down proper thoughts in proper sentences anymore. Most writing today is just the wisdom of the age in the clichés of the time: dislocated, tedious and hollow. It's like reading through mental smog. So I'm sure those who do not agree with a drop of Hitchens' politics or religion would still find the sheer clarity and warmth of this book's prose engaging.

I think one or two of its points are so striking that a little more tracing out of their foundations and implications would have been enjoyable. The death of faith in England, and the likely conclusion of atheism, are perhaps the two most important subjects when looking at the past century and looking ahead in the present one. But the book's subtle approach to its subject is haunting and memorable even without this. And much of its message is perhaps more powerful for being unspoken.

Probably the best English political writer since Orwell. And certainly the least self-satisfied, most interesting autobiographer writing in England today.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very personal book 4 May 2010
Format:Hardcover
A very personal work this from Mr Hitchens. It is rooted in his own journey from childhood belief, through adolescent skepticism, and then to adult faith. Hitchens is now a Prayer Book and Authorised Version Anglican!

This book is also rooted in his disagreement with his atheist brother, Christopher.

In this book, Hitchens tackles the arguments usually put forward by atheists against (essentially) Christianity. He does a good job.

However, for me, his most interesting observation is why totalitarian/atheist states are so aggressive towards Christianity. The answer being is that Christians have a higher allegiance than simply to the state.

As militant atheism assumes greater political influence in the UK: the slide towards totalitarianism becomes much greater.

A timely book on the British scene.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, gentle and encouraging 31 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm about the same age as the author, so can very much relate to the lost world he describes. He writes well in any easy readable style. This isn't a high flown philosophical treatise, to be valued mainly for its powerful arguments. On the other hand it does give some insight into the motivations of the militant atheists whose anger and intolerance so mystify those who disagree with them.

I liked the epilogue best where the author describes the beginnings of a restored relationship with his brother despite their great differences
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81 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Contribution to the God Debate 23 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover
"The Rage Against God" isn't a conventional work of apologetics. There are already plenty of those out there. This book is less about theory than about practice. Why do people really reject or accept God? Why is their rejection of God often so very virulent? What part has religion played in recent English history? How important was atheism to the history of communism, and to the cultural revolution that swept through the Western world in the last few decades?

The first part of the book-- essentially a memoir of Peter Hitchens's changing attitudes to religion-- is the most readable. Hitchens is at his best when he's evoking the England of his childhood. (At one point he apologises for indulging this tendency. He shouldn't.) I relished his description of Evensong ("the very heart of English Christianity"), of his boyhood feelings of utter security while lying in bed and listening to the sirens of ocean liners in Portsmouth harbour, of the austere and stoical Remembrance Sunday ceremony ("No outsider could possibly have penetrated its English mystery, or imagined that we were in fact enjoying ourselves, But we were.".)

But the very particularity of this book, though it makes it a powerful memoir, somewhat limits its importance as a tract. Hitchens is writing primarily about English Christianity, and its long decline (which, he shows, long predated his own childhood). As an anglophile and an admirer of Hitchens's writing, I found it enthralling. As an Irish Catholic, I found it of limited relevance. Hitchens devotes a long section to criticising (affectionately and reverentially) the surrogate religion of English patriotism. He's also scathing about the modernising tendencies within the Church of England.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rage should be against people 4 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thanks Peter Hitchens, such a frank book not always showing your self in a good light but perhaps thats why I believed you.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. 31 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I actually can't recommend this book enough. I read the book in a day, which is a testament to how brilliant Peter Hitchen's writing style is. The book was written in a captivating prose, and was thoroughly entertaining, whilst still educating.

The book starts out biographically and summaries why Peter turned to Atheism, and why he turned back to Theism. He then goes onto consider the argument that Atheism doesn't need God to decide what is right and wrong. Next he considers the myth that Atheist states are not evil. He refutes these arguments not through philosophy or science, but simply through his own experiences of Communist Russia. He looks at some of the ways that regime damaged humans lives, did acts that were simply horrendous and all in the name of the `common good'.

Finally, and this is the part of the book that left me with Goosebumps, was his comments on Dawkins' argument that raising children in a faith is equivalent to child abuse. It was horrifying to see how close such Atheist statements were to Russian propaganda (illustrations given in the book), and really made one consider what the future of our society held if we continue like this. Such a future most certainly includes the wilful limitation of rights in accordance with such Atheist manifestos.

Its harrowing to see how this was recently attempted by Harriet Harmans' Equality Bill, which wanted to dictate that one no longer had a choice on what they thought about homosexuality, or other personal beliefs they held. According to the Act if one discriminated against another they would be `criminally' liable (emphasis added).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Observations for Pause
There are a number of things to really like about the book. Firstly that it is a personal journey put in to a much bigger context which everyone can reflect upon. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written and argued, but too short and too much USSR
This book is very well written, and Peter Hitchens is an excellent writer, knowledgeable, honest and has a very readable, free flowing, informative and direct style. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ibraar 'Le Saracen'
5.0 out of 5 stars Got my husband reading,
My husband like reading Peter Hitchin in the paper and seeing him appear on Question Time, so thought this would be a good read for him. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bindy
5.0 out of 5 stars God Rediscovered by a former Trotskyist and Atheist
Peter Hitchens is painfully honest about his former life and how it, and his sojourn in Russia during the latter stages of the Soviet experiment of eradication of religion... Read more
Published 7 months ago by malan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Timely and important! Should be read by everyone! We are sleep walking into a society in a muddle and don't care.
Published 8 months ago by gwyndoug
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought this for my other half...
He said it was extremely interesting.

I have not had time to read it yet - but anything Peter Hitchens writes is worth reading. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Martha
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rage against God
Enjoyed this book very much. The arguments pro and con are well made. The writers opinion is undisguised but does not detract from the polemic of others.
Published 10 months ago by donald macdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Choses the side of life.
Peter Hitchens is not ashamed of Christ and states the case clearly against human self-service salvation. To rage against God is futile.
Published 11 months ago by Sean Frazer Williamson
4.0 out of 5 stars An important building block in the defence of the freedom of...
There is already enough noise around the area of discussion covered by books like this. So I'll just say this - its a great and enlightening read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by CalebJones
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I normally like Peter Hitchens' writings but a little disappointed with this particular book. Did not find it an easy read.
Published 14 months ago by S. Byrne
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