134 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Review of the BAD in Religions
Christopher Hitchens died last year and until he died I had never heard of him. I read eulogies from his fellow journalists and then heard no more until last week when, by chance, I came across some video clips of Hitchens speaking about his views on religion and I found them fascinating.
I then found that Hitchens had written a book, God is not Great: how...
Published on 16 April 2012 by Duncan Williamson
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Crimes and Misdemeanors of Religion – and Christopher Hitchens
It is difficult to know what to make of this book. If you want an extended list of all the crimes and misdemeanors attributable to religion, then this is a good place to start. It is more straightforward than Dawkins, more consistent than Dennett, and Hitchens is blisteringly honest about his position: he scorns religion of every type, and takes a considerable personal...
Published 2 months ago by brymor
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God is not great,
This review is from: God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
Both those who are believers and non-believers should read this book. For believers it will demonstrate that the devil is indeed devious and hides his evil face within the cloak of your church, mosque, synagogue, or other place the believers of your faith congregate. For non-believers it will clarify for you why you do not believe and may give you the impetus to reassess your decision.
26 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading in schools,
This is a spectacular expose of the horrors that have been, and still are being perpetrated in the name of 'God' in his many guises.
This, and 'The God Delusion' rank as my favourite books of all time.
A highly recommended read.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect,
This is one of the best books on religion you can read (much better than the God Delusion, for example). It is erudite, of course, but very funny. Almost as funny as the Koran or the Bible.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars,
new and arrived on time
29 of 64 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Ugly Rant,
This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Kindle Edition)
I don't like giving one-star reviews; indeed, this is the first one I have given. I would have preferred to say something positive, if only to show that I'm open to criticism. But I find it hard to say anything complimentary about this.
Hitchens does not offer an argument against belief in God. Instead his book has the character of an indictment: a list of offences committed by the religious. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to do - I think it's salutary for religious believers (such as myself) to be reminded of some of the crimes we may be complicit in, or even guilty of. And I won't complain that Hitchens isn't 'fair' or 'balanced' - this is the case for the prosecution; it is up to religious believers to make a case for the defence. And I will grant that Hitchens has some good anecdotes. He was obviously well-travelled during his journalistic career and has some striking stories to tell of his encounters with the more grotesque manifestations of faith. But his evidence against religion is strictly anecdotal.
The book is passionate, but it's riddled with errors and is extremely simplistic. It willfully ignores the many non-religious factors that have contributed to the problems he describes. But the biggest problem with his approach is that it is so indiscriminate. 'Religion' is a hugely varied phenomenon. No single shot can be accurately aimed at it. To take an obvious example: there have clearly been cases of religiously motivated violence, but is this really a sensible point to make to a Jain or a Quaker?
And it's when he discusses religious violence that Hitchens' book shows its worst failing: its blatant hypocrisy. Hitchens was an advocate of violence. He spent his last years crusading for the imposition of secularism by military force. I don't much like the Taliban either, but I could never say, as Hitchens did ('The Age' 5th September 2002): 'In confronting such people, the crucial thing is to be willing and able, if not in fact eager, to kill them without pity before they get started.' It's that last phrase that's particularly chilling.
Hitchens was fond of taking the moral high ground, but I'm not sure he really belonged there. And while Richard Dawkins, say, is supercilious and condescending towards believers, I never get the feeling that he actually hates them. Hitchens did. 'How Religion Poisons Everything' was the subtitle here. There is plenty of poison in this book.
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb put down of superstitious Mumbo-Jumbo,
If you're a bead jigller, please read this if only to counter the poison in your veins.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking,
Hitchens is the master of clear analytical thought - although a little misguided - he doesn't realize that what he experiences is what people call God.
7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you're persuaded by this book, you just don't understand the subject,
This is a really disappointing book. I was expecting for my faith to be challenged, have new insights etc. Sadly it is written with someone who knows very little about the subject (at least in the case of Christianity, which is the faith I know about). Some of the 'facts' are blatently inaccurate. How he can say that Martin Luther King's actions were nothing to do with his religion - he clearly hasn't read any of his books or letters - either that or he is so bigoted and biased that he can't see beyond his own viewpoint.
It's not just innaccuracy. The points he makes are from examples that are so extreme that it borders on the ridiculous. Yes some bad things have been done by religious people. Yes, some of those were done in the name of the religion. But you could say that about any belief system. Ask most people who have become Christians from having not been so - not only has it had a positive effect on their life, but on the people around them, through forgiveness and reconciled relationships, to just better behaviour, more peace... I could go on. Hitchens' book is so one-sided (and I don't think it makes a very good case for its side, either) that you can't take it seriously.
If you're reading this and think his book has anything important to say, I urge you to read around the subject rather than take what this very angry man says as 'gospel'... which you get the impression is what he wants.
17 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT but very faulted!,
I find, like most people that Hitchens is hypnotic. A beautifully modulated voice and a cutting wit and rhetoric. I love his debates. But .... and it is a huge but, Hitch let's his hate of religion get the better of him and he loses it when he debates subjects that annoy him. In the few pages I read about Christianity and the New Testament, a subject I know a lot more about than he does, he makes 16 mistakes in just a few short pages, some elementary. Now, atheists, who hang on his every word will not go away and check his every statement, and there lies the problem. He hates religion, fine so do I. Bad religion anyway. But his hate means he makes outlandish statements, just like Mr Dawkins. One example of Dawkins letting fly with his 'hatetheism'? "Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings." (The God Delusion) - great sound bite, but here is the TRUTH - "Good science flies you to the moon, bad science invents the atom bomb. Good religion builds orphanages and runs soup kitchens, bad religion flies you into buildings!" But you won't hear a balanced argument from him. Hitchens makes the same mistakes but not in such an arrogant way as Dawkins. Hitchens just gets his facts wrong. An example of one of the 16 errors? He states that there was never a census at the time of Jesus birth. He writes:
There is no mention of any Augustan census by any Roman historian . . . ." (page 112). In the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus there is a reference to a document produced under Augustus that contained a description of "the number of citizens and allies under arms, of the fleets, of subject kingdoms, provinces, taxes" and so on," in other words, a census.
But we don't even need to go to a Roman historian to find evidence for the censuses of Augustus. In "The Deeds of the Divine Augustus" written by Augustus himself and published throughout the empire in 14 AD, we read of three censuses conducted under Augustus's authority (in 28 BC, 8 BC, and 14 AD; see Acts of Augustus, section 8). If Augustus decreed a census in 8 BC, as he claims, it's quite possible that this was the census described in Luke 2, which was not finished in Judea until a year or two later.
There are 15 similar errors cascading from the 'Christian-bashing' section. Meanwhile, grateful and fawning atheists are celebrating his undoubted writing genius, not having a clue about how wrong he is about that which he hasn't quite studied enough. He hates Christianity so he just has a 'pop'. Not good enough Christopher. Your anger and hate shines through. Jesus taught love....... and love very large. You should have listened more closely. Hence the very low score.
17 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, entertaining read by well-read writer,
Hitchens's book is a racy read about religious nonsense. Even atheists would find it interesting. Although it might seem that he is preaching to the converted, he writes so entertainingly that it's worth the effort just for the prose.
Hitchens's biggest problem is the same as Dawkins. Despite his being right about religion, he fails to see that being an atheist is simply the flip-side of the coin and that agnosticism is the only rational position a human being can take. In not seeing this, both dawkins and Hitchens show their intellectual limitations, probably induced by the binary approach to reasoning encouraged in Western academic circles.
Despite this fundamental flaw, agnostics would find Hitchens's book of great interest because if there is one thing that atheists and agnostics agree on it is this: that religion is a monstrous tyranny that may end up destroying the world if it is not halted in its tracks.
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God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (Paperback - 1 Mar. 2008)