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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  66,765 Ratings  ·  3,848 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 (first published 2007)
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Sep 16, 2010 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
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
Books Ring Mah Bell
Oct 17, 2007 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
Aug 30, 2007 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
Bill  Kerwin
Oct 15, 2007 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 witty and well written.

As a reader of the Nation for over a quarter of a century, I enjoyed Christopher Hitchens political analysis and right
Sep 04, 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
Jul 21, 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
Matthew Wesley
Aug 02, 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
Sep 27, 2009 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
Nov 15, 2007 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
Marc Horton
Aug 01, 2007 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
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
دوستانِ گرانقدر، در این کتابِ ارزشمند، به اختصار از موهوماتی چون: وحی و برهان هایِ گوناگونِ اثباتِ خدا، معجزه و نیروهایِ متافیزیکی، چرت و پرت هایِ دینی و مذهبی 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 را به فرزندانِ خردگرایِ سرزمینم توصیه میکنم.. عالی بود
Dec 19, 2015 Eisnein rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Up til a few hundred years ago, religion used to be our way of understanding all the shit we didn't have answers for - which was a lot... stars, rainbows, the causal relationship between fucking and dropping babies* - and a way to feel like we had emergency options when we were completely helpless: times of plague, famine and warfare. There were gods we could try to please or mollify by killing things, and then harass for military, climatic and antiviral favors. It usually didn't amount to much, ...more
Nov 12, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
Surprisingly, I wasn't beguiled by this book as much as I thought I would be. I like Hitchens's irreverent delivery on everything -- but this seemed to fall rather flat. (Or at least, "flattish"). Couldn't quite put my finger on it, except to say that it seems that any kind of sustained rant has the immediate effect of getting me to tune out.

A rant is a good thing -- get it off your chest, say what you have to say, with good points to back it all up, and then move on. Hitchens lingers on the pag
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.
Jan 11, 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.

Description: 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. Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the ...more
Abubakar Mehdi
Mar 24, 2016 Abubakar Mehdi rated it it was amazing
Since I can't say anything with out being labelled as a 'heretic' or a 'heathen', I will just say this;
Not everything, but it does poison a lot of things. And its first victims are Reason and Common sense.
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
May 27, 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
Nov 25, 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
Mike Puma
Sep 28, 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
Samra Yousuf
Oct 28, 2016 Samra Yousuf rated it liked it
I credit most of the atheists for at least recognizing that the question of God’s existence is important. It is one thing to reject God, to dismiss heaven and hell as figments of our overactive imaginations, and to reconcile ourselves to our finite span of years however we think best. But to ignore the question completely and occupy ourselves with food and clothing and shopping and entertainment is inexplicable from almost any perspective. If there is even a possibility that death is not the en ...more
Mar 09, 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
Aug 08, 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
Aug 27, 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
Mar 04, 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
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
Jul 16, 2008 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
Sean Pagaduan
Oct 22, 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
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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.” 792 likes
“Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.” 411 likes
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