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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

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, but don't expect to enjoy it.
Having recently read The God Delusion and being impressed by the author’s fair and reasonable arguments, I looked about for another view and came across Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great.

There is absolutely no doubt that Hitchens had a fearsome intellect and could certainly put forward with complete conviction a very convincing argument of...
Published 16 days ago by Mr. G. Robinson


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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, 9 Sept. 2014
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What do you believe
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent polemic from an erudite man of conscience., 3 Feb. 2008
I have very little to add that the previous reviewer, Mr James Phillips, hasn't said already apart from addressing a couple of the criticisms laid out earlier in the review pages. Firstly, in my opinion and contrary to that of some of the previous reviewers, it is entirely possible to take pleasure in both this book and The God Delusion, provided you can clear the gargantuan hurdle of the fact (shock) that they were written by two different people with different attitudes and different aims. Secondly, if you want to take a gander at some of the sad contortions of logic and ill-conceived metaphysics that the "informed faithful" resort to justify their belief in fairy tales, just have a look further down the page and shake your head sadly or have a giggle, depending on your disposition.
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18 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Great, 10 Aug. 2009
This book is making the point that lots of bad things are done in the name of religion. Well, thanks for that Mr Hitchens, I hadn't realised!

Obviously a lot of the examples used in this book are from countries and cultures of which I have no personal experience. However, having lived in and around Belfast for most of my life, I can state with some authority that Hitchens' discussion of the Northern Irish troubles as being inspired by religion are so far wide of the mark to be almost funny. He asks if anyone would feel safe at the sight of a bunch of people coming out of a prayer meeting in Belfast in the 1970's - the answer is yes. I can't think of any example of a Northern Irish terrorist being driven to murder by religious fervour. The people at the prayer groups were the ones least likely to be involved with the paramilitaries.

Unfortunately this gross misrepresentation of Northern Ireland fatally undermines the rest of the book. Quite simply, if he can get the NI situation so horribly wrong, then when I look at his other examples from other cultures, I can't help but wonder how badly wrong his interpretation is there.

I should also note that I am an atheist, and agree with Hitchens' argument that the world would be a better place without religion, but this book does not really strengthen his case one iota.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God is not great, 8 Sept. 2011
This is a brilliant book. Every few pages I came across something that made me say to myself "That's exactly what I think"

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy-going, 23 Mar. 2013
I found large chunks of this book entertaining and informative, but much of it was also heavy-going. As with Sam Harris, I much prefer to listen to Christopher Hitchens than to read him.

This book mainly served as a reminder to me of how utterly fortunate I am (particularly as a woman and as a lesbian) to live in this time and place and culture. How I might otherwise have suffered or how fearful I might have been!

Author of 'Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder'
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 28 Feb. 2015
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thought provoking
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16 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the world flat?, 26 Oct. 2007
Lots of excellent reviews but I fear we are all getting far too caught up in the details of this debate.

JUST REMEMBER THIS -

The Bible was written by people who thought the world was flat!

The world has moved on, people have moved on.
The bible was written over 2000 years ago. Why do we give this story any more creedance than any other document written 2000 years ago?

The writings of the great Philosophers of that era have stood the test of time because human nature hasn't changed.

However, everything else has changed.

There have been such tremendous advances in the Sciences and Technology that we don't have too guess any more.
We have facts and rational explanations now.

It is only human nature to deny the brutal facts and seek comfort in religion.
You have few options if you really wish to live a happy life.
The truth that there really is nothing after death is just too painfull to contemplate.
The more you really think about it the closer you get to insanity.

Religion is simply a means of 'mental' self preservation which has been hijacked by religious leaders in order to gain power and wealth.

"Religion" - I wish I had invented it!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Which religious belief is correct ?, 28 Sept. 2013
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The book has impact. It's important. Thoughts refuse to stop reverberating after reading it - in that, it is powerful. If you follow one of the big three monotheistic religions (or indeed any of the numerous lesser ones whether mono- or polytheistic), there may be little point in reading this book, as Hitchens, an atheist logically, does not accept the constructs of Faith, or Belief. Instead, it is about Evidence, Proof, Science, Philosophy, Truth. It is about Education, not Indoctrination. It might make you think for a moment if you have an unshakeable belief, and it certainly will if you don't. There are upsetting accounts of the inhumane things done in the *name* of religion over the centuries. This says more about human behaviour, than about religion, and one can follow Hitchens' line of thought that religion must be man made.
Perhaps a more balanced approach by Hitchens could have assessed the good output of religion, and where this has aided human development. For example, community/social aspects of religious organisation, a moral code. However, religion is not a pre-requisite for these things, the book argues.
I would have liked Hitchens to question why religious belief is still so very strong, amongst very poorly educated peoples, but more interestingly, among those very highly educated, and explore the underlying reasons for this. A scientific approach might look into the way the human brain has evolved, as far as religion is to do with what goes on in the mind. I think that the book should have looked at why it's not a simple matter for a religious believer to abandon their belief - family, community, culture, esteem, belonging, all built on century-upon-century, in exchange for the offer from Atheism - all these things matter, regardless of whether a believer silently questions rules and regulations specified by limited minds hundreds or thousands of years ago, or even minds behind newer religions.

Hitchens discusses the totalitarian aspects of some religions, and undoubtedly there is a grave threat to a free-thinking civilization and human advancement here. An exploration of religion being used as a political tool, for the retention and growth of a power base, would have been highly relevant.

Some discussion that, there is perhaps something special that puts homo-sapiens completely apart from other animals - is that all down to evolution? Along with this an exploration of how we are limited by our senses - what is beyond these senses that we cannot connect with ? With the tools we have, we can't dismiss the idea of something greater and purposeful beyond ourselves.

Finally, I'd have liked a discussion on why religion cannot explain the reason why an omnipotent, omnipresent deity, allows indiscriminate human suffering on a vast scale, to continue with no end in sight. I for one would be very happy if such a being did intervene to stop humans killing or doing very bad things to each other - children suffering in wars is really especially bad (e.g in Syria right now) - it just does not make any sense that a benevolent and powerful being can allow this, even if the suffering is negated in some after-life; in other words a discussion on the philosophical 'problem of evil'. A God that can look into the eyes of a child that is suffering and say, 'sorry, but I have my reasons' ........

It loses a star in my view for these omissions that would in my mind have made the book more complete, but nevertheless I'm glad to have read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 May 2015
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I love it ....5*
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and well written, 26 Jan. 2012
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B. Rhodes (UK) - See all my reviews
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Very entertaining. Obviously preaching (!) to the converted, but engaging nevertheless. Some very interesting historical perspective and a refreshingly bold lack of compromise. It did however seem unnecessary and a not so well researched afterthought to include a chapter or so about non-abrahamic religions such as buddhism - a couple of anecdotes about that credo's fallability seemed a little ill judged. But, highly recommended overall
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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (Audio CD - 6 April 2009)
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