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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  62,407 Ratings  ·  3,649 Reviews
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. Hit ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Twelve Books (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oceana2602
Dec 03, 2013 Oceana2602 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: religious radicals. I'm sure they find common ground with the author.
Recommended to Oceana2602 by: the media
Let me begin this review by telling you that I'm an atheist. In fact, I'm with Douglas Adams in calling myself a "radical atheist", just to make sure that everyone gets the point. Yes, really. It's in my profile.

So my opinion about this book really has nothing to do with my personal convictions. Well, not my personal religious convictions, of which there are none. It has everything to do with my personal convictions as an atheist. And as an atheist, I'm offended by this book.

Hitchens is not, and
...more
Manny
There's a debate I keep getting into about the difference between atheism and religious belief: someone claims that atheism is just another faith, and I disagree. This seems like a good place to summarize my objections.

I would first like to draw a clear distinction between dogmatic and sceptical atheism. If someone blindly believes that there is no God, and no evidence whatsoever would change their opinion, then I quite agree that, for such people, atheism is indeed another religion. (A mathemat
...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
May 28, 2008 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it liked it
Shelves: religion-or-not
I read this months ago and never got around to the review...

Simply stated, Hitchens puts into words all the reasons I shy away from organized religion. The prejudices, sexism, the overall foolishness...

At the same time, he seems oblivious to the fact that there are religious people out there doing great things; feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, building for the homeless.

Hey Hitchens! I get that you are atheist. That's fine, but knock that chip off your shoulder already! Belief that decent
...more
Melly
Oct 15, 2011 Melly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sara
As a fellow Atheist, Mr. Hitchens is preaching to choir, so to speak, in this informative, captivating work in which Hitchens judiciously provides historically documented and personal examples of what he sees as an ever-increasing war being waged by a variety of religious fundamental organizations. In our very own country we have troops of well-funded, born-again fanatics preaching hatred of anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their standards.

Worse, these groups instill a deep-rooted fear in t
...more
Becky
Sep 10, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it
Not long ago, I watched a couple of those "How The Universe Works" shows, and it kinda traumatized me. In however many billions of years, the sun is going to die, and slightly before that the Earth will be incinerated, and everything that we are, were, will be, and will have built will cease to exist. I can comprehend that. Earth's only one part of a solar system in a tiny part of one galaxy of hundreds of billions of galaxies that exist in the vastness of the universe.



See? I know that someday
...more
Joel
Jul 24, 2008 Joel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: theists, atheists, agnostics
Imagine if a basketball fan set out to discredit baseball and converts its adherents to his chosen sport. He would note the rather dubious creation myth still celebrated in the sports' Hall of Fame, the Black Sox scandal, the exclusion of African American players until the 1950s, frequent brawls between teams that literally clear the benches, and two most successful players of the last decade being almost undoubted cheats. He could go on to argue that the uniforms are childish, the habits of pla ...more
Diane
May 29, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it
I'm probably going to court some hateful comments by trying to write a review of this book, but I think Hitch would be proud that I am making the attempt.

I have been reading Hitch's work for years, including his essays on mortality and atheism, so I knew the gist of his arguments against religion, but it was enlightening going through this entire book. He synthesizes a tremendous amount of research from history, philosophy, science and current events, and he argues that "religion poisons everyth
...more
Matthew Wesley
Aug 30, 2007 Matthew Wesley rated it liked it
This book is fundamentally flawed in argument, but can be enjoyable to read. Christopher Hitchens, however, is an exceptionally witty writer, who often finds clever ways to express himself. His writing is conversational, flowing, but sometimes elitist, arrogant, and pretentious. His humor is evident throughout the book, but it is consistently divisive and adversarial.

As an atheist, I find the writing enjoyable, intelligent, and humorous. I do not need to be further convinced of the dangers of fa
...more
Jason
Jun 03, 2008 Jason rated it did not like it
Shelves: religion
So. I've read it, front to back.

Hitchens laments that the faithful (of whatever persuasion) "have believed what the priests and rabbis and imams tell them about what the unbelievers think" (10), and (it follows) he rages that priests, rabbis and imams would presume to know or communicate what atheists think and why. And yet, what is Hitchens's book if not 300 pages of an unbeliever telling other unbelievers what believers think and why? The hypocrisy here, and elsewhere in the book, is bald as
...more
Marc Horton
May 23, 2009 Marc Horton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: god-and-stuff
Obviously, anyone who can write a less-than-flattering book about Mother Teresa is not concerned with offending anyone. More or less, here's the rub: "God" explained a lot, back before we had Science and The Enlightenment, and now, humanity suffers at the hand of religious zealots whose battles spill over into the lives of the innocent. And one point that I'm sure would make my mother cry: it is possible to live a moral and good life without "God." Given the right subject, he's actually pretty f ...more
Eisnein
May 04, 2016 Eisnein rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kerissa Ward
Jan 23, 2008 Kerissa Ward rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone with free thought
Shelves: politics, favorites
Ever since 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger' I have been a fan of Christopher Hitchens. I knew that he was an atheist, but because of my own spritual searching I was reluctant to read this book when it first came out. I finally picked up the book because I have been on a non-fiction binge lately and I knew that by reading his book I was guaranteed an intelligent treatise. By the time I finished the book, I was very glad that I had read it.

Hitchens doesn't so much attack God as he attacks religion.
...more
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
با اینکه موضوعِ کتاب تکراری بود ولی از مطالعۀ اون لذت بردم... در این کتاب به اختصار از موهوماتی چون: وحی و برهان هایِ گوناگونِ اثباتِ خدا، معجزه و نیروهایِ متافیزیکی، چرت و پرت هایِ دینی در موردِ خوک، کتابهایِ احمقانۀ عهد جدید و قدیم، تجاوز و کشتارِ مردم بیگناه توسط سردمدارانِ ادیان مختلف در تاریخ، جهنم و بهشت، تاثیرِ دین در رفتار و گفتار، به پایان رسیدنِ ادیان و سوء استفاده ادیان از دین و ... سخن به میان آمده ... در کل خواندنِ این کتاب رو توصیه میکنم.. عالی بود

دوستان عزیزتر از جانم و ایرانیانِ
...more
Paul
Jan 12, 2008 Paul rated it it was ok
This book received two stars because of the writing. Hitchens writes well. I could have given it five stars for the value it holds for the Christian community - it serves as easy target practice. It is too bad that I only have 4000 characters at my disposal. Otherwise, I would love to go through this book in painstaking detail, pointing out the flabby and flaccid naked emperor while we all point and laugh at how confident the ignorant, intellectually naked emperor struts up and down the street.

T
...more
Sketchbook
May 31, 2016 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing
Growing up w Protestant clergy all over the family (but, most thankfully, loving parents), I never took any of the Blubble seriously, or weekly "devotionals," which one older sister hugged as a way to say to parents, "Hey, LOVE ME!" ~ They did. But she had a problem : I made my parents laugh. When Pops intoned, "Man cannot live by bread alone," I retorted, "What about chocolate croissants?" Parents cracked up and, of course, said, Ssssh, but sis was inflamed. I knew fr the get-go that relig wa ...more
Joanne  Manaster
Dec 16, 2011 Joanne Manaster rated it really liked it
The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five is that he has not said anything new in atheistic arguments, although he says it very well! Hitchens is hilarious and I would run up to anyone who'd listen and read sections of his book out loud to them!

A friend once was on a panel with him and he was completely drunk. She said he was so lucid and his arguments so well thought out and pointed that he was so much better while fueled on alcohol than the rest of us could ever hope to be so
...more
Ana
I don’t know why I feel the nagging need to clarify something before we even get started.

I am an atheist myself, however new to the group I might be. Indeed, until a very recent time, I spent a big period of my life believing I’m an agnostic. How do I put this mildly? Agnosticism is the safe route, it’s the one in between the dirty street filled with drug dealers and that very safe boulevard. It’s the one you’d take if your mom told you to take the shortest route home and you decided to be a bit
...more
Mike Puma
Oct 03, 2010 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, english-author
Hitchens makes a compelling case against the major world religions and claims of religion being ‘essentially a force for good.’ His essays are presented with his characteristic wit, erudition and bravado (in the positive sense of defiance and courage). Unafraid to name names, point fingers, and challenge orthodoxy, Hitchens makes his case masterfully and in a most readable manner. As previous reviewers have mentioned, he’s mainly ‘preaching to the choir’ but he also provides an abundance of info ...more
Bill  Kerwin
Nov 17, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it it was ok

A wicked, witty condemnation of all things religious. As a person of faith, I find that Hitchens often sounds like a blind man ridiculing the value of Rembrandt and Van Gogh. But he is particularly fine on the noxious ways in which religion intersects with the most murderous forms of politics. And of course--as is always the case with Hitchens--the book is devastatingly witty and very well written.
Chris
Sep 19, 2012 Chris rated it did not like it
As a recent college graduate who is completely lacking in original thought or any academic substance whatsoever, my choice for the “worst book I’ve ever read” is not likely to warrant interest. However, since giving unqualified opinions without research or context is exactly the style of this book, I thought it would be thematically appropriate for me to give Christopher Hitchens’s God is Not Great such a distinguished and sought-after position, narrowly edging out its turgid counterpart in the ...more
William
Oct 25, 2008 William rated it really liked it
What a book. Its so hard to review a book who's author is both an enormous intellectual and an equally enormous ahole. I certainly would recommend it to every believer and think it will shake their foundations. But like every fanatic and believe me Hitchens is as fanatical in his atheism as any fundamentalist preacher, he overreaches. He spends chapters propositioning that communism is a new religion yet says nothing about the dominate economic worldwide system of capitalism?? He talks only brie ...more
Jules
Aug 18, 2007 Jules rated it liked it
Well, it's all there in the title. And in case you missed Hitchens' point, he subtly reminds you of it by interjecting the book's subtitle every time he recounts an example of how Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism (yes -- Buddhism!) have brutalized the human race. (It's the textual equivalent of grabbing you by your collar and shaking you violently while shouting, "See? I'm right! Admit I'm right!") According to Hitchens, religion is really the source of 99% of this world's evils; thing ...more
Sunni
Sep 06, 2007 Sunni rated it liked it
If I could, I would have preferred to give this book 3.5 stars. It was not as good as I had hoped, but not as bad as I feared either. I think Hitchens could have done a better (more logical?) job of defending his premise; still, there's lots of good stuff in here.

The chapter on Eastern religions, though, is troubling to me. Hitchens does hit something on the head in noting the monied, f**cked up set that sometimes accompanies Indian-style gurus, but it's interesting that his Buddhist examples of
...more
Shane
Mar 02, 2012 Shane rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by a friend several times before I finally gave it a shot. I was a little wary from the title...I enjoy books about religion (and people's escapes from them), but don't have a lot of time for openly, anti-religious folks' emotional whining and ranting.
To my pleasant surprise, Christopher Hitchens' book was a joy. Hitchens gradually found himself appalled by the amount of religiously-fueled atrocity on our planet. Our various religious leaders are constantly poin
...more
Sean Pagaduan
Oct 26, 2011 Sean Pagaduan rated it it was ok
Boring as hell.

Yikes. The book is just a point-by-point smackdown on religion, almost on the level of Family Guy. Which sounds like I'm complimenting the book, but I'm not.

This kind of highly sensationalist format is not exactly conducive to any sort of intellectual debate. Hitchens makes many excellent points on how religion is possibly dangerous in today's society, and how it possibly inspires people to kill or hate others. However, his book is marred by two main flaws:

1. that it's poorly orga
...more
CB Brim
Nov 07, 2007 CB Brim rated it did not like it
This book reads like campaign propaganda. It is not a balanced inquiry into religion as a phenomenon or social force, it is a position piece and a purposefully constructed argument. Just like any effective propagandist Hitchens selects the most outrageous examples possible and attributes them to even the most cursory adherent of the enemy camp. Hitchens paints a black and white portrait of any person who has any ounce of religious thought as a fanatical fundamentalist who implicitly accepts any ...more
Emadeddin

description

There is a common thing in all of the anti-God-and-religion books, which is the misunderstanding of some of the major points and ideas in religions, especially Islam.

For example, in this book Hitchens says that in Islam, and according to the Koran, apostasy is punishable by death.
This is actually wrong! Koran never said that apostasy is punishable by death! In fact, apostasy has no consequences in the Koran. On the contrary, according to the Koran, people are free to believe whatever they want!
...more
Mikey B.
May 24, 2013 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: journalism, religion
Hallelujah – the atheists strike back! This is a personal and direct assault on the whole “God” concept. Hitchens buys none of it; its just fables and hearsay (upon hearsay) past down from antiquity. Religions cause wars, they indoctrinate the young and they are immoral - the very opposite of what they claim to be.

Since the 18th century science has started to trump religion. The microscope, the telescope, discovery of fossils, exploration – all have either imploded religion or opened alternative
...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe that Christopher Hitchens' book god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything [capitalization in the original] merits four stars; however, with a book such as this, the rating is really beside the point. Those who will enjoy this provocative book know who they are; those who will not even be able to finish the first chapter know who they are.

Like the McCarthyite Ann Coulter, Hitchens' steadfast purpose is to preach to the choir. From the deliberately confrontational use of the lowe
...more
F.R.
Nov 26, 2012 F.R. rated it really liked it
I was raised by radical atheists so this book is to me (and please excuse the religious orientated phrase) preaching to the choir. However the robustness of Hitchins’s arguments and the points he hammers home, gave even a hardened religious cynic like myself a great deal to ponder on. Taking no hostages, he attacks the tenants of Judaism, Chtristianity, Islam and the Eastern faiths, and the terrible consequences of violence and the stifling of intellectual development he sees stemming from them. ...more
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Christopher Eric Hitchens was an English-born American author, journalist and literary critic. He was a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, World Affairs, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry and a variety of other media outlets. Hitchens was also a political observer, whose best-selling books — the most famous being God Is Not Great — made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits. He was ...more
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“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.” 747 likes
“[E]xceptional claims demand exceptional evidence.” 385 likes
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