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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Basic Curriculum of Atheism, 16 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Paperback)
The magnificent book by Christopher Hitchens "God is Not Great - How Religion Poisons Everything" is a must read for all atheists, as Christopher Hitchens dares to say aloud all most atheist have been thinking in privacy of their own mind, but have not dared to say aloud in fear of hurting the feelings of the believers.

Christopher Hitchens does not fear anybody and anything when he thinks that he smells the truth. He fires salvo after salvo and sinks the whole flotilla of the theists in the process.

In this level there is a need for even real physical courage, as a writer living in the United States Christopher Hitchens knows very well that he will be a target for all religious fanatics out there. Islam gets the rudest battering in the hands of Christopher Hitchens as he dismisses it as a weak plagiary of the older Faiths of the Book.

Christopher Hitchens is as a writer the brightest star of the league of the New Atheism writers. His writing is at same time both hard-hitting and extremely entertaining. Christopher Hitchens fires homing missiles in the weakest points of the religions and they really hurt.

Christopher Hitchens is more of a free agent than Richard Dawkins, as he does not seek scientific analysis like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, but he takes advantage of his wonderful knowledge of literature, history and philosophy. He uses this ammunition to pound the religions with a barrage of ideas.

Christopher Hitchens strikes equally at all organized religions and does not spare the wonders of the Far East. Hinduism and Buddhism take their own share of Christopher Hitchens' ire and even Japanese Shinto's is not spared a few lashes.

The main focus is understandably however in the Christian religions, but Christopher Hitchens shows real passion, when he lets go at the Islam.

The argumentation in the book is often familiar to anybody steeped in atheistic thinking, but the angle of attack is new and refreshing. Christopher Hitchens is not afraid of interpreting things and events through his own persona and personal history.

Christopher Hitchens has traveled widely also in the world of Islam and has studied carefully the history of this religion and through his personal contacts he can give a vivid picture of it.

Christopher Hitchens does not hide his goals. His goal is to show how the major religions of today have long since passed their last selling day and how they are remnants from the days when there was nothing better on offer. They are remnants from the days when even crude and pointless explanation of the world was better than no explanation at all.

Christopher Hitchens is out to show the role of religions as man-made systems of thought and he confirmed at least me so easily, that I didn't even break sweat.
This book is a polemic statement, but it does not make it a bad book. Christopher Hitchens does not make any compromises and does not even try to understand the arguments of the other side. The net result is a magnificent book that should find its place in every atheist's bookshelf.

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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Dec 2009 16:46:05 GMT
Aquinas says:
I think if you reflect on your basic proposition: "religion does poison everything", I think you may begin to realise how visceral and unreasoned it is. Its like reviewing the last 100 years and reflecting on the millions killed by the followers of nazism and the further millions killed by the followers of communism (Russia, Cambodia, North Korea etc) and concluding: "You know, ideas position everything".

If you are anywhere in the western world you cannot even now be immune to the impact of Christianity - do a tour of England and visit the Cathedral towns and tell me if your heart is not moved by the concrete forms to which the spirit of the middle ages reached or do you want to make a caveat such as "Religions posion everything but architecture". Have you noticed the manic way people engage in seeking money for charity - where does this come from? I would say (and check out Islamic cultures to see if they replicate the west and I suspect they do not) that its origin is Christ and the gospel. Do you want to make a caveat such as "Religions posion everything but architecture and charitable giving".

And what is the origin of hospitals, where did they come? Monks caring for the sick.

And, listen to Bach (a Man for whom his Lutheran faith was everything) and let you mind and heart be moved or listen to Gregorian chant at a monastery and then say: religion posions everything or would you like to qualify your statement and say "Religions poison everthing but architecture, charitable giving and music".

Now take a journey to the National Gallery, London and go to the Renaissance rooms in the Sainsibury's wing and look at the beauty of these ethereal images of Christ, his Mother and the saints and unless your a philistine, your heart will respond. Now, perhaps would you like to qualify your statement and say "Religions poison everthing but architecture, charitable giving, music and paintings".

I could go and on but we both would get bored. I think what I am trying to say is that the proposition is fundamentalist one which is also unscientific.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2010 15:34:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Feb 2010 15:36:31 GMT
To Aquinas, I should like to compliment you on your comment; it reveals a deep understanding of and love for, our European culture and heritage, which I share with you. Unfortunately the culture we love is at present suffering a grave psychological sickness; one symptom of which is the self-loathing so offen contained within the reviews and comments published. You are quite right about the fundamentalist nature of this sickness; the very people who pour scorn on the greatest of Western achievements, will wax enthusiastic over third world basket making techniques or voodoo ritual. During the 1800's, China entered a similarly long period of what then appeared to be terminal decline; but as can be seen today, shook off the infection and now seems poised to grasp world leadership. We can only hope the arrival of the Western equivalent to Chairman Mao, is not long delayed.
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