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106 of 109 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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82 of 97 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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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars We'll written, poorly argued., 23 Mar 2013
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This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
Hitchens is a great writer but what he is so good in condemning in the modern left he falls victim to here, being a team player who put allegiance ahead of principle.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars God is not Great. How Religion Poisons Everything, 17 Feb 2012
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It's hard to know where to start! The book is interesting to read, and in parts thought-provoking. But as far as adding anything helpful to the argument as to the existence or non-existence of a God it falls very short of cogent reasoning. The title itself is, once you start reading the book, confused. It is clear that Hitchens views are atheistic. It is also clear that he has little respect for organised religions.

Within the text of the book the author declares that religion is man-made, and that the concept (declared in the bible) that God created man in His own image is erroneous, and that in fact Man created his own God with, in effect, the characteristics and attributes that Man believes God should have. So far, so good.

However, the book title declares that religion poisons everything. So if we carry that premise to its logical conclusion then it is Man who poisons everything, since he established the concepts and the criteria for a God and the rules by which those concepts must be manifested and served in Man's life. Thus if Man is the "villain of the piece", what does God's greatness or otherwise have to do with it? Maybe I'm missing the point, but my understanding of the whole theme of the book is that people have throughout history sought to destroy or punish anyone who disagrees with them, and for the author this is God's fault. I find that illogical. As rational human beings we like to believe we have freedom of choice, and this covers religious or spiritual inclinations. It also dictates how we choose to interpret the tenets of those religious or spiritual inclinations. As a very wise young friend of mine once said "You don't judge the value of a medicine by the the people who pour it down the drain."

As to the existence or non-existence of God, most atheists I have spoken or listened to always come out with the same old argument - "But you can't prove he exists!" My answer to that is "O.K. To whose satisfaction must I prove it?" If I'm convinced of his existence and I don't try to force my beliefs onto you, why do you need proof that he exists?

I gave the book 3 stars because it's OK but the arguments in support of its claims with regard to the title are for me not based on any real logical reasoning. All in all, I'm still not sure what it is that Mister Hitchens wants to prove. But the whole book can be summed up for me by what a former boyfriend of mine, who was an atheist, used to say if something negative impinged on his life. He would cast his gaze towards the heavens and declare "You can't DO this to me, I don't BELIEVE in you!"
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Atheism Poisons everything!, 18 Mar 2014
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I’m assuming he will lay out his store as it were in the first chapter, so here’s a few points to be going on with from Chapter 1.

1. I like his style writing – he has [had] great skill with words and was obviously very well read.

2. I like his honesty. He tells it how he sees it. He calls a spade a spade as we say. And I like writers that do that. His honesty doesn’t extend however to a correct understanding of Christianity. He continuously (as does Dawkins) misrepresents Christianity (see point 3).

3. Sadly, from what I read he never ever really understood the Gospel. This view may be wrong – I guess his brother might know – but it’s how he writes.

4. He talks a lot about Religion. Yes Christianity is a Religion. And there can be stupid and very bad Christians – but this doesn’t actually invalidate it as truth. It certainly doesn’t help but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

There’s a big problem with the Title. For such a specific claim you would have thought it important to be specific about the God he is talking about. Is it the Christian God, the God of Islam or the God of his own imagination? Here’s just a couple of quotes.

'Many of them never believed, and many of them abandoned faith after a difficult struggle.' [That might be his experience but it isn't mine. And in any case even if it were true it still wouldn't invalidate the truth claims of Christianity. All that proves is the weakness of the human condition. You say, why doesn't God help them then. In my experience He does – for example my own mother that died of bone cancer and many other I know of.]

‘We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry [Really! see paragraph below], open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.'

'God did not create man in his own image. Evidently [There are other explanations for so many religions but it doesn't suit his case to give any evidence even if he could], it was the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.'

'Imagine that you can perform a feat of which I am incapable. Imagine, in other words, that you can picture an infinitely benign and all-powerful creator, who conceived of you, then made and shaped you, brought you into the world he had made for you, and now supervises and cares for you even while you sleep. Imagine, further, that if you obey the rules and commandments that he has lovingly prescribed, you will qualify for an eternity of bliss and repose. I do not say that I envy you this belief (because to me it seems like the wish for a horrible form of benevolent and unalterable dictatorship), but I do have a sincere question. Why does such a belief not make its adherents happy? It must seem to them that they have come into possession of a marvelous secret, of the sort that they could cling to in moments of even the most extreme adversity.' [This quotation serves to demonstrate his understanding of the Gospel is 100% wrong. Any decent historian may not believe it but should be able to tell you what it is. Sadly, Hitchens doesn’t have a clue and his readers will just slavishly and uncritically swallow it. His Atheism is poisoning everything!]
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not at all convincing, 21 Sep 2013
By 
bristoljob96 (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
Couldn't agree more with other 1 star reviewers. Hitchens was no doubt a highly intelligent man with extensive knowledge on a whole variety of topics, however this book does not do the title justice
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3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A pub rant, 19 Sep 2012
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This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
I got this book because it was required for one of my courses. After having read Hume, Malebranche, and the like, this just came off as a poorly educated rant. What evidence it has consists mostly of anecdotes, what reasoning it has has been done better by other writers hundreds of years earlier. As to the social claims it makes concerning the effects of religion, those will be settled by sociological studies held to a reasonable standard, rather than the snide observation that certain free-thinkers were better fathers than certain religious characters.

If you're interested in religion from a philosophical standpoint, you'd be better off buying Hume's Dialogue on Natural Religion. Give this one a miss.
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27 of 98 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drink soaked former Trotskyite popinjay against god, 3 July 2007
Hitchens lost all credibility he had when he supported the Iraq war. I'm an atheist myself, and an anti-theist, and I'm on the left, but this book is nonsense. It's a cheap cash in on Richard Dawkins' book. If you want to read about religion and the damage is has done, read Dawkins', not this.

Hitchens, please stop embarrassing yourself.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, 9 April 2013
This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
If you believe in God then this book won't change that. If you don't believe in God then this book won't change that. So ask yourself, do I really need to read something that will only confirm my current belief?
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For me the book isn't either, 7 May 2011
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This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
This book wasn't quite what I expected. I read the first quarter, skimmed the next quarter and I think that's where I'll stop. Although interesting, it's a ramble. There's no clear direction. Reading it feels like listening to one of those people who can talk forever but never make a point. I also found the obscure cultural references a bit irritating and unecessary - showy.

I really enjoyed Dawkins's book, because it presents structured arguments and makes its points in a clear and compelling way. I think I was expecting something similar to Dawkins, which is why I am disappointed. On the other hand I would probably have enjoyed it if I hadn't read Dawkin's book first.
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5 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Charmless Rant, 22 Jan 2012
By 
P. Tucker (Edinburgh Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
Richard Dawkins laughably described Hitchins as "one of the greatest orators of all time" but there's not a glimmer of these supposed skills in this leaden, charmless and one-sided rant of a book. Hitchins thrashes his way through an evolution of the worlds' religions and their texts, alongside a liturgy of mankind's wrongdoings, all of them executed apparently in the name of religion, concluding that religion is all rubbish with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Like all fundamentalists Hitchins has no doubt that his version of events is the correct one, completely unfiltered by any of his own life experiences or prejudices (although he admits to having none of the latter), while any dissenting voices are dismissed as evil, misguided, stupid or a combination of all three.

It's often the writer's vindictive, sneering and petty tones (rather like those of his friend Dawkins) that stick out. For example on a number of occasions he references Freud, with whom he joins in "ridiculing the idea of prearranged burial sites and memorials, all of them expressing the vain and useless wish to be present in some way at one's own funeral." What a thoroughly sour and unpleasant sentiment. One imagines a world run according to the gospel of Hitchins, ruled by a cabal of unsmiling 'left-wing atheist intellectuals' just like him (and all of them men of course).

In the end Hitchins comes across as an arrogant, aggressive and intolerant man, rather like those religious leaders that he describes in his book (I wonder what Freud would have made of that one?) and reading "God Is Not Great" almost (though not quite) succeeded in getting me along to church on Sundays as a protest against such a miserable individual.

Atheists, agnostics, Christians and others, if interested in the debate, are much better served by works such as Alain de Botton's "religion For Atheists".
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11 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A cheerleader for the Bush administration, 23 April 2008
By 
N. Rogall "nlr50" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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It is very difficult to take Christopher Hitchens seriously. A former revolutionary socialist, now an apologist for the neo-cons. His views on religion are an attempt to justify his support for America's war aims in Iraq and Afghanistan. You do not win people to atheism by abusing them (or bombing them!) but by working alongside them in a common struggle. Religion is the 'heart of a heartless world, a soul of a soul less society' (Marx). If you want to read a good back by the author, try his excellent book on Mother Theresa.
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God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (Paperback - 8 Sep 2007)
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