God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
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God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  46,203 ratings  ·  3,098 reviews
Christopher Hitchens, described in the London Observer as "one of the most prolific, as well as brilliant, journalists of our time." takes on his biggest subject yet -- the increasingly dangerous role of religion in the world.
With his unique brand of erudition and wit, Hitchens describes the ways in which religion is man-made. "God did not make us," he says. "We made God."...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Twelve Books, Hachette Book Group (first published 2007)
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Oceana2602
Dec 03, 2013 Oceana2602 rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
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
E
Hitchens says he's been writing this book all his life, and the passion and wit that pervades gives it the feel of a masterfully crafted diary of his enthusiastic intellectual development in the persistent shadows of all the world's religions. I do not believe this book is for fundamentalist believers any more than the Bible is for atheists - any reader has already established the basis of her own beliefs and thus opens the book awaiting the arguments with either an intrigued mind or sharpened w...more
Melly
Oct 15, 2011 Melly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sara
Shelves: philosophy
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
Joel
Jul 24, 2008 Joel rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
Diane
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
Becky
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
Jason
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
Kerissa Ward
Jan 23, 2008 Kerissa Ward rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Marc Horton
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
Paul
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
Joanne  Manaster
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
William
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
Sunni
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
Jules
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
Mike Puma
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
Shane
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
CB Brim
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
Sean Pagaduan
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
Joshua
Jan 24, 2009 Joshua rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the choir
Shelves: religion
I suspected that the recently invigorated debate over secularism vs. religion was the most boring topic on earth, and I feel vindicated after reading this book. Christopher Hitchens is a pompous asshole. This actually makes him an appropriate author for the subject, though. When people debate religion in such stark terms they are pretty much always just trying to score cheap points. Hitchens does this one better by managing to write in a way that is offensive even when you agree with him.

UPDATE...more
Chris
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
Radhika
Sep 03, 2007 Radhika rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any thinking literate person
In the recent past, I have read a couple of books which make the case for atheism as the only reasonable path for a thinking person. Of these, Hitchens' is the most well-written and engaging book which is divided into multiple short essays on various issues such as eastern religions, the pig taboo... This keeps the reader better engaged than for instance Dawkins' book which seems to lose steam midway.

Hitchens' book does seem to contain some strange inaccuracies but perhaps these are forgivable i...more
Anna
Christopher Hitchens is like the intellectual version of Michael Moore. I first heard of him by way of Charlie Rose:

http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2002...

I found him to be extreme and slightly outrageous, which was not disproven by my reading of this book.

It's not that I disagree with what he says, because I don't. But I am not impressed with his attempt to attack and dismantle the value of "faith". Religion, maybe, but he is an atheist who finds faith itself to be wholly unreasonable, irrel...more
Bill  Kerwin
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.
F.R.
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
Mustafa
There is no doubt that of all the creations ever bestowed and perpetrated in the world, religion is the most harmful of them all. No matter how "liberally" or "moderately" you interpret a religion, there are still some supernatural tenets that are, among all the major religions, considered incontrovertible and irrefutable. Hitchens' book is just part of the canon that attacks this laughable institution.

At times, it may seem that Hitchens centers his attacks too much on the religious fundamental...more
jeremy
few books in the past decade have elicited as much fervent criticism, charged rhetoric, and heated opposition as christopher hitchens' antitheist exposition, god is not great. the late author and journalist was obviously a compelling writer, and whatever controversies his works may have courted were often the inevitable result of his relentless pursuit of and devotion to veracity and intellectual inquest. hitchens was witty, wise, and clever, but it was his mordancy, incisiveness, and intransige...more
Rita
Sep 07, 2011 Rita rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, but especially to those who blindly believe in (any) God.
Great atheist manifesto! My review will be added in the future after I have re-read it again.

Edit Sept. 7th 2011:
This book is a real eye-opener and puts religion in a different perspective, and it's not a rosy perspective that he comes with. One of the many things that I like about this book is that it's doesn't say "X religion is better than Y religion", I like that it's not tainted like that. He doesn't try to take side and find out which is religionis the lesser evil.

Hitchens is an Atheist...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Erroneous quote 6 30 May 15, 2014 10:31PM  
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The Hitler button 17 201 Nov 27, 2013 12:33AM  
Did Hitchens militant atheism dim his greater legacy as literary critic? 60 241 Nov 07, 2013 09:20AM  
Is criticism enough? 101 382 Mar 30, 2013 08:43PM  
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Christopher Eric Hitchens (April 13, 1949 – December 15, 2011) 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 tal...more
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“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.” 520 likes
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