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on 1 January 2014
I'm not the biggest fan of Peter Hitchens but this book is rather a good read. His experiences in Russia were of particular interest, especially the cultural insights, his journey from apathy and atheism is also fascinating. It's well written, however, if your looking for some evidentialist apologetic read this isn't it but it is helpful to see the journey Peter has taken. The impact art had on his conversion was enlightening and demonstrates the power that art can hold over the human mind and we ignore it to our detriment.
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on 25 October 2016
A fascinating book -- a kind of autobiography of ideas, which is unflinching in casting a cold eye on the author's beliefs in his younger years; and on the way it manages to unpack all kinds of falsities that have captured and enslaved modern European society (Britain no less than other countries, and sometimes more). It is especially striking that Hitchens sees this enslavement as being based primarily not on materialism (a common accusation), but on false gods; this is exactly the accusation laid at post-war Britain's door by the great theologian Lesslie Newbiggin. As the blurb to the book points out, the false gods include social democracy (which elevates social conscience above individual conscience), and utopianism, which lurks beneath the surface of so many aspects of the EU's grand project. The most compelling part of the book is where he sets out the failed arguments of "the militant godless" and shows their implications for a society that accepts their arguments. (That is, most western societies.) It is also interesting that he tackles head-on arguments presented by his now-deceased brother Christopher. It's well-written, erudite in its range of historical knowledge, insightful about the spiritual issues that lie behind material constructs.
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on 11 April 2017
There's some very valuable stuff in here, and I found it thoroughly entertaining, but I really cannot stand Peter's verbose wallowings in his own sin, and unhealthy wish for repentance. It seems to have so little in common with the liberal, enlightened church of England, which is a lot better than its brutal medieval counterpart, especially in its consideration of medical issues. Hitchens seems to want to turn back the clock to a utopia which really wasn't all that good; the medieval era, and later the Victorian era (both periods of more convicted belief) had some really serious problems, like the repression of the working class and the subjugation of women.

Whilst he evidently looks back on his childhood with some level of nostalgia, I think many people do, and that's not necessarily symptomatic of how objectively 'good' society was, but rather how he personally found it. For example, at one point he recounts how there never used to be 'fathers of fourteen years old', except teenage pregnancy rates are currently extremely low.

I also found it extremely frustrating the way he attacked the Soviet Union for being the epitome of the left's utopia, whilst ignoring the fact that intellectuals at the time like George Orwell denounced the whole idea of it. Communism in the Soviet Union also had a lot more in common with feudalism than Karl Marx' doctrine, in that the general population were equally oppressed and unhappy, but a minority of elites were afforded special privileges. That being said, he did have some very valuable things to say in the later chapters, and it some ideas were highly thought provoking.
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on 24 January 2013
A very interesting insight on how faith shapes and guides our societies ethics and values. The points put forward in this book are free from angst riddled codes of rhetoric. This book seemed to me to be a genuine account of a man's disillusion with philosophies posed by modern day free thinkers and the repercussions they have on a societies moral conscience. Overall I found that Peter Hitchens 'Rage Against God' provides a mature attitude towards faith in Christ , I also found his commentary on countries run without tolerance for faith very telling of humanities ambitions and where they can lead us. This is a very enjoyable read that explains a man's journey from atheism to finding faith.
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on 22 July 2017
Its better than OK I guess. I did finish the book so it must have been reasonable. The book seems to have been finished in a bit of a hurry, and the final proof reading was not really good enough. But still, I think it a worthy read.
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on 2 November 2014
Peter Hitchins writes well with logic and grace. His logic is turned to the folly of those who seek after utopia, his grace extended towards his atheist brother who has been a life long antagonist. Hitchins starts with autobiography, his journey from compulsory chapel at public school to avowed atheism, Trotskyite politics, success in journalism then a gradual coming to faith motivated by retiring to ponder the fear of God. He examines reasons for loss of Christian faith in Britain and the horrible effects of atheism in the USSR. I would differ from his placing the two world wars as the major cause of decline of Christianity in Britain. For me the cause and blame are at the door of those who, while professing Christianity, lost faith in the veracity of Scripture and the reality of the supernatural. He then addresses three failed arguments of atheism. First conflicts fought in the name of religion are not about religion. Religion has not been the cause of recent conflicts. They are about power and control. Is it possible to determine what is right and wrong without God?
Are atheist states actually atheist or are their leaders self-proclaimed false gods? Finally he looks at militant atheism He describes the folly of Leftists in the west who admired the pre-war Soviet regime. He tells of the Soviets systematic campaign against Christianity. He shows how today's new atheists, like the old USSR, would prohibit parents teaching the faith to their children. Finally he concludes by telling us why he will no longer engage in pub;ic debate with his brother. The book was published before his brother's death. This is an excellent critique of atheism old and new, of all utopianism, secularism and socialism. It is a book which can encourage believers despite Hitchen's pessimism concerning the prospect of a godless future.
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on 16 January 2013
This will be of interest to anyone interested in the position of Christianity, or of any religious belief, in the modern world. Even if one may find his conclusions debatable, it is an important debate and the book is well-written.
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on 27 March 2010
Not perhaps what I expected - less a tightly argued polemic than an occasionally argumentative memoir. Thankfully, like The Broken Compass, it happens to be some of the best biographical writing around today - much as Hitchens would probably disown such a judgement.

For all his image as a snarling conservative, Hitchens' written persona is a joy to spend time with. Fiercely but properly original (his observations all have solid premises, rather than being cheap shocks), curmudgeonly but graceful, and with winning depths of earnestness and nostalgia; he is never boring, frequently compelling, and usually provocative and sympathetic in equal measure. The trouble is, there are so few people out there actually writing down proper thoughts in proper sentences anymore. Most writing today is just the wisdom of the age in the clichés of the time: dislocated, tedious and hollow. It's like reading through mental smog. So I'm sure those who do not agree with a drop of Hitchens' politics or religion would still find the sheer clarity and warmth of this book's prose engaging.

I think one or two of its points are so striking that a little more tracing out of their foundations and implications would have been enjoyable. The death of faith in England, and the likely conclusion of atheism, are perhaps the two most important subjects when looking at the past century and looking ahead in the present one. But the book's subtle approach to its subject is haunting and memorable even without this. And much of its message is perhaps more powerful for being unspoken.

Probably the best English political writer since Orwell. And certainly the least self-satisfied, most interesting autobiographer writing in England today.
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on 24 August 2015
This book has one selling point: The fact that the author is a Christian and the brother of the world famous atheist/anti-theist Christopher Hitchens. Peter Hitchens says he used to be an atheist too. Mainly, it seems, because he wanted to be a rebel at the age of twelve. Now he is a Christian and he longs for the good old days of his childhood, when the UK wasn't so secular and the Church of England wasn't so modern. In the second half of the book, Hitchens claims to address "three failed arguments of atheism" but instead spends the rest of the book writing about the evils of Communism in the Soviet Union, because he claims most atheists are leftists and, if we were to believe Hitchens, would support the totalitarian state atheism of the Soviet Union. News flash: Many atheists are not communists or even leftists. Case in point: Ayn Rand.

There were some interesting parts in the book but they were few and far between. Mostly, it seems Hitchens is trying to cash in on his more famous brother. And, in the end, the book never did did explain "how atheism led me to faith" as the subtitle says, or even why he became a Chistian at all. He even says in the book that the story of his conversion is too personal to tell to strangers. Well, then maybe he shouldn't write a book about it.
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on 31 August 2010
I'm about the same age as the author, so can very much relate to the lost world he describes. He writes well in any easy readable style. This isn't a high flown philosophical treatise, to be valued mainly for its powerful arguments. On the other hand it does give some insight into the motivations of the militant atheists whose anger and intolerance so mystify those who disagree with them.

I liked the epilogue best where the author describes the beginnings of a restored relationship with his brother despite their great differences
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