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122 of 125 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

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83 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor God, Hitchens's put you in the closet and I'm feeling so sad
This is the fifth of the recently published books that critically examine religion, faith, and/or God that I have read during the last year or so. The others are:

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion (2006)
Dennett, Daniel C. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006)
Harris, Sam. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of...
Published on 21 April 2008 by Dennis Littrell


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122 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Review of the BAD in Religions, 16 April 2012
By 
Duncan Williamson "Tall Tyke" (Halifax West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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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 religion poisons everything. I bought the book and have now read it.

Firstly, I have only read a couple of chapters of Richard Dawkins The God Delusion and I have to say that Hitchens did a far better job than Dawkins.

Religious people do not like God is not Great. Not because it tests their faith but because of what it reveals about what goes on in the name of religion. Hitchens tells us, almost in passing, that he has received death threats, nasty phone calls and threats of violence for holding his view that he believes that religions poison everything.

Having been born and brought up in a country where freedom of speech is taken for granted, I wonder at who it could be that would so object to someone's views that they threaten murder. That's for their conscience!

As for the book, it is entertainingly written and full of stories aimed at the three main monotheisms: Christianity, Jewry, Islam. He regales us with story after story of the things that clerics hiding under these three banners get up to and have got up to for millennia. Hitchens reveals a great number of sources too: he's not just letting off steam.

I have to say that I read this book for the overview it provided and not to learn the deep and detailed information that Hitchens sometimes goes into: it's there if you want it, of course.

I like Hitchens' style as it is keen, ascerbic, funny, witty, well sourced and contains many words that I had never come across before. At least it will improve your vocabulary.

I have to say that another motivation for reading the book is that I arrived at a similar position to Hitchens vis a vis religion over the last two or three years having seen religious brainwashing and its consequences at first hand. No God will work in that way with those people: something else is most definitely going on and I could support these things no longer, having realised what was happening.

I imagine there will be people who read this mini review and who might feel angry with me for having written it: well, that's for you to come to terms with. I am glad I read the book, I learned many things about religions that I did not previously know and Hitchens gives a message that we all ought to consider. You do not have to agree with him!

What's wrong with the book? Well, Hitchens has a mission, to clarify why he thinks religions poison everything. He gives no time to the good that good people in religions often do. He does not attempt to redress any imbalances in his arguments at all in this respect. If he were alive to answer this point I am sure he would ask, why on earth should I?

Overall, if you are deeply committed to your religion you might not want to read this book but I think you should suspend your faith, read it and then explore fully what Hitchens has to say. Don't dismiss this book with anger in your heart! If you give Hitchens a fair hearing and stick to your guns then fine.

I recommend this book to everyone but if your English reading skills are weak, it will be difficult for you: Hitchens' English language skills are highly developed and he's writing for an educated audience. No offence to anyone, just a friendly warning!

DW
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb thought provoking entertaining personal view of religion., 29 April 2012
By 
John R. J. Taylor "jumbo" (london uk) - See all my reviews
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This book is a diatribe from the pen of a superb and now sadly gone intellect and is terrifying to Christians, Muslims or any religion (man made and invented ) that believes in the ludicrous madness of supernatural life. Hitchens life has been threatened many many times simply for giving his opinions, truly religion is poisonous ( RIP Theo Van Gogh )
A cash in?, Hitchens just weighed in with his own opinion as was his nature. Any artist will strike while the iron is hot so that accusation is rather facile.
Also Hitchens is never scared to put his head above the parapet. An artist who creates with honesty puts himself on the line and invites opprobrium. The smug criticisms of this book are by armchair critics who do not have the courage or mettle to say something themselves.
BIBLE.
The bible..hmm a great folkloric work made up by men in a primitive age when a gust of wind would drive humans to sacrifice any living thing even their children to keep the Djinns away. Nothing in it contributed by a woman (gods weaker and filthy invention according to many religions) Fables invented by men with a wee bit of twisted fact. No telly you see so scary entertainment had to be created to frighten the children, and keep the peasants bowed.
Yes its fascinating literature, only a fool would deny that, but its been the most promoted work the world has ever seen, had the free press been around the bible would have had competitors, many, many , many of them but there was none so Pauls brainchild gathered momentum like a big snowball. Reason and science is like the sun, its bright, it makes sense and well...it melts snow, the bible is dripping.

St Paul (Saul of Tarsus) the Saatchi fear mongering zealot of his day is to blame for such a pile of dogs-wallop gaining such credence over the millenia, rapidly followed by Mark, Luke et al (who strangely several decades later reported stuff that Paul had never even mentioned in his entire oeuvre about the Christ holy fella near the time he was 'beamed up') .
The blood and screams of horribly tortured non believers litter and flood the centuries, fear piled on fear, death on death add to the weight of its heinous inflictions on mankind and add to the weight and momentum of the book called the Bible. Hitchens said 'religion is poison', I totally agree. I've seen it do terrible things in my 54 years on this earth (to friends and acquaintances as well as what I've witnessed on the media) and I'll see it do more. The bad easily outweighs the good. For instance If only we could hear the testimonies of the nurses and doctors who abandoned Mother Theresa centres because of her breathtaking insouciance to the pain of her patients and her indifference to the birth of millions of children born into starvation and agonising diseases because the church abhors birth control and would rather allow agonies to take place in the name of the holy spirit than sidestep, religion is poisonous, truly.
Humanity will evolve away from this primitive supernatural rubbish if it wants to survive.
Like Hitchens I am not an atheist I am an Antitheist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for everyone, 2 Sept. 2012
By 
A. J. HAWKEN "Tony Hawken" (London - UK) - See all my reviews
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Looking at the number of 5 star reviews for this book you could be forgiven for thinking that this is possibly a really good book; it is. I have just completed this book today and was really impressed with the content.

The central premise of this book, as indicated by the subtitle "How religion Poisons Everything" is exactly that. This is exactly what the author proceeds to do in this book, namely spell out how religion has in the past on balance caused far more harm than good, and indeed continues to do so. The book does not set out to discuss whether or not god exists, but instead focuses on the harm done by religion and the way that religion influences its followers to behave in far worse ways than they might otherwise do. Hitchens also looks at a number of religious texts such as the Bible and the Koran to highlight sections where the readers are encouraged to do bad things.

I found the book very accessible and quite easy to read. Obviously I had to pause and think at times and also on occasion to pick up a dictionary to check on some words that I am unfamiliar with. But then, I expect to have to do this, otherwise there is no challenge and I might have to dismiss the book as too simple.

In general the book is both entertaining and informative. In my opinion it is really vital that people read such books. It really gets you thinking about religion in our society and the influence it has, and whether such religions should be accepted in the ways that they are.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TAKE THE RED PILL! Magnificent, visceral and true revelation., 7 Mar. 2012
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"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill.... " Morpheus, The Matrix 1999.

Hitchens does not set out to disprove the existence of God. During the book he does point out some of the glaring inconsistencies and sickening immoralities contained in the main religious texts. But this is not its main focus. What he does is attack in devastating and visceral terms the last real defence upon which religions fall back - that we need them to make us behave better. Hitchens exposes the murder; needless death; restriction of free thought and scientific progress; child abuse (both physical and mental); and repression that are not just incidental to, but an essential part of all major religions.

The book is articulately argued by someone whose command of English is outstanding, without becoming inaccessible (with the minor exception of chapter 18) or verbose. The arguement in chapter 17 is a little weak, but apart from that the main point of the book is relentlessly driven home in an often witty way.

For believers - you may want to stick with the blue pill and not read the book.
For me this book burned away any semblence of doubt that religion is a good thing. This book is the red pill. It will free your mind.
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399 of 433 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's exactly what it claims to be, 13 May 2009
By 
Simon Hall (Dublin) - See all my reviews
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This book is EXTREMELY well written. Witty, informative, and determined.

Many one-star-ers have noted that this book is one of two things:

1. The Atheist Camp claim that this book is not as 'good' as the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - the arguments are difficult to follow, it's not as scientific or academic as it might be.

Well, Christopher is not a scientist. The book is a fantastic diatribe against the parties of God - it doesn't claim to be anything more. It's a wonderful contribution to atheistic literature. It's funny, clever and well-researched. It's not supposed to be an academic thesis.

2. The God Camp claim that Hitchens succeed in attacking religion, but doesn't manage to prove that God himself does not exist.

While he outlines his reasons for not believing in God, Hitchens does not set out to prove that God does not exist. He sets out to do what it says underneath his main title - to demonstrate how religion poisons everything - and he does a fantastic job.

This book is highly recommended to those who want to laugh and cry at the same time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent demonstration of intellectual prowess., 12 Sept. 2012
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After watching many debates in which Hitchens systematically picked apart many of the world's religions, I though that I must get this, the Hitchens 'Bible', for want of a better term.

An exquisite book with complex yet accessible arguments against a myriad aspects of almost every popular religion in the world. His case against Buddhism, as just one example, is both provocative and vindicating; highly educational.

A fantastic book for the non-believer, or the agnostic, or even the theist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars barbaric vernacular word for roast human in new guinea is "long pig"., 25 Sept. 2010
By 
D. keir "little big" (scotland) - See all my reviews
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The book "God is not great" looks at religion in a way i never thought was possible, Christopher Hitchens uses both history and philosophy to show religion is in fact inherently evil. Hitchens takes us through the old and new testament, showing us quotes you would of thought more linked to the devil than Moses for example when Moses addresses his generals after a battle and rages at them for sparing so many civilians and says "Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man a man by lying with him. But all woman/children that hath not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourself."
I was also suprised and disgusted to find out religious people mutilate defenceless infints genitals in the most repulsive ways, the Rabbi given seven children herpes which killed two of them, is surprisingly not as bad as what Muslims do to little girls.
I was shocked to find out how millions die in Africa evey year because the Catholic church tells them "Condoms transmit AIDS.". This is a fascinating and alarming book writen very eloquently, i will be reading more of Hitchens engrossing work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 17 April 2012
By 
Md Runham "Mylesrun" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Following Hitchens death, like may others, I decided to give him a proper read, by which I mean more than the journalism alone. I was not disappointed and found his turn of phrase as enjoyable as I had hoped and his use of examples educational. I doubt he will change many minds in this text alone but it's a great example of stating your case in the face of accepted and cherished ignorance. He really helped me to sharpen my own views.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener, 10 Jun. 2009
By 
K. Montgomery "Fearglic" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I saw debates with Christopher Hitchens online.. He's very astute if not a little snobbish. I didnt think Id enjoy reading his book. Yes I wanted to hear what he had to say and read what he had to write but I thought Id be put off by his character..However nothing was further from the truth. His style is Hammerhitting yet entertaining and pleasurable to read. His knowledge of the subject admirable. He has convinced me even more that there is no God. So I guess his work is a success.
Please read this book. the whole world should know its content.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars persuasive, intelligent, impasioned, 13 May 2011
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I must admit Hitchens is preaching to the converted in my case. This is an excellent and impassioned book, as you would expect if you know anything of the author. It gives heartbreaking examples of how the wilful ignorance and tribalism intrinsic to the fundamentally religious has destroyed opportunities for peace, held back science and reason, and allowed a religious ruling class to hold on to power in so much of the world. I am an atheist but I want to really understand why, even in modern times in the West, so many smart and good people are voluntarily religious given that it has such a lot to answer for in terms of the world's ills. I hope the Hitch beats cancer and writes and debates for many more years!
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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (Paperback - 6 April 2009)
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