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on 8 May 2018
The book is built around a simple concept: man made god(a) and the world’s religions are based on myth, hearsay and second hand stories written decades if not centuries after they happened. The sacred texts often plagiarise others and similar stories appear repeatedly. One by one he has a pop at the arguments for religion, believers are often far worse behaved than their atheist counterparts, and far from setting good examples to the young religions mutilate their genitals and other horrific practices.

The chapter on atrocities done by secular regimes was the least convincing. Hitller and Stalin did not need religions to carry out their murders, and although they certainly had some implicit or explicit support most leaders were too scared to offer much resistance - especially if reprisals meant others were targeted.

Overall, it is an absorbing read, even though the book will convince nobody who isn’t firmly in the sceptical camp. As Christopher points out, we need a new Age of Enlightenment but alas, for hundreds of millions of people this is a long way off.
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on 24 January 2018
As well as giving someone interested in atheism a good start, I keep five copies by my front door.

You want to impose your religion on me? Well read this first......

No ‘religious door knockers’ in four years now.
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on 30 January 2018
Hitchens adopts a more visceral approach than Richard Dawkins who scientifically demolishes belief in God whilst appearing to write from a neutral standpoint. Hitchens title should perhaps read Religion is not Great - God poisons everything, as religion is his principal target.
2 people found this helpful
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on 1 December 2015
I have this as both book and audio book. The first observation is that this book is more a reflection on the nature of human beings, or mammals (as Hitch likes to describe us and our titular religious leaders). For those people who believe in God, this book is not an attack on whether God exists or not, but on the origin, ethics and practice of religion per se. As such, it an essential read to both believer and non-believer as Hitch examines how religions and religious leaders function, or rather don't function, when examined from the perspective of a calm, rational mind. Although a renowned polemicist Hitchens is never patronising, nor does he fall into the trap used by so many theologians or self professed 'experts' like Dawkins, of preaching to his audience. Frequently humorous, he dissects the subject with rapier like logic, and succeeds in making the reader think, 'if God does exist, would he approve of the way religions are founded, organised, and who speaks in his supposed name?' (my quotes not his). The message is quite clear tho. If you believe in God, that's fine. If you don't believe, that's fine too. However, religion as a methodology is redundant. We should use the time dedicated to religion to instead concentrate on working toward a new enlightenment. An example of him pricking unthinking orthodoxy is highlighted by the anecdote of a US State Govenor, who when asked if the State should have a spanish edition of the Bible replied, 'If English was good enough for Jesus, its good enough for them'. He also directed a barb at Richard Dawkins pretentious and patronising suggestion that atheists should be renamed as 'The Brights'.

Whatever else your view of religion is, this book WILL have you thinking long after the last page is turned. And I'm sure that's exactly what Hitch intended.
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on 22 July 2016
I think this is a wonderful book and only withheld a star because I felt the last few chapters were less coherent and gripping than the earlier ones!
I'd recommend the book to anyone of all faiths and none, but particularly to those who through their lives observing religious rituals by rote without ever seriously asking why!
4 people found this helpful
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on 6 January 2018
Our beliefs (religious or otherwise) should be strengthened by our ability to question them. The late, great Hitch tells it like it is. A change of heart or mind must come about by way of intelligent reasoning and not fear of eternal damnation. A great read!
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on 9 November 2017
Hands down one of the best books on the topic of theology. The style of Hitchens, his knowledge, the logical thinking, the rationality, they also contribute to making this masterpiece. This book can be read in a single night, it is that amazing.
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on 8 June 2015
I have only recently heard of Christopher Hitchens the author and was eager to read this book.He has clearly thoroughly researched his subject and I cannot find anything that I would disagree with as I have always thought that " Religion has a lot to answer for regardless of denomination , and yes religion does "poison everything". This book for the most part was easy to read although there were a couple of places I wished that he had put his points in laymans terms as I had a little difficulty understanding what he wrote. Overall I have to say " Well done Mr Hitchens for having the courage to tell it like it is" Religion is all about control and does poison everything if one lets it. This book should be prescribed reading for everyone.
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on 2 March 2012
I thought this was an excellent and thought-provoking book - and I speak as someone with a faith. It certainly made me think - and one of my thoughts was that humankind really needs something to believe in as part of the way we are wired (or a large proportion of us, at least). If Christopher Hitchens is right in his basic premise then it may be the case that we need many centuries to evolve to a position he feels we ought to be in. Along the way lie many way-stations I would suggest. Not the least of these is the concept of religion as a personal confession and not as an absolute truth - in other words we need to get away from fundamentalism. This is clearly not an easy thing to do - but those of us whose faith is of the non-absolute type can see the value of all religions and those with no faith too who join together in communities to make the world a less harsh and more caring place.
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on 1 April 2014
Most 'religions' play right into the hands of atheists!
Trouble is... most of what most of their adherents see as constituting their 'religion'(as opposed to spirituality, and 'getting' the simple straightforward messages offered) flies in the face of the messages of Christ, The Buddah, Allah, Krishna, and Tolle etc., and provides such wonderful ammunition for the atheists to shoot down 'religion' with such panashe and ease, as did Christopher Hitchens... and his views cannot be denied. I'd love to have been able to avail him of my own views/beliefs on, 'God', 'Religion' , and 'Satan'!!... I hope he would have been able to say to me, "Ah.. Now THAT I CAN go along with."!! Never mind... He knows now, more than any of us! Good on ya Christopher! :-)
Andrew.
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