Brendan's Reviews > God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
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Brendan Love him or hate him, Hitchens is a smart, eloquent man. He’s more standoffish than Dawkins, and more likely to call people imbiciles or abhorrent. It makes his book a biting diatribe, but he peppers it with enough appalling facts and observations that it makes it hard not to enjoy anyway. But obviously, I’m a Unitarian Universalist so I don’t hold myself to any particular notion that God is great to begin with. A few of the key points he makes:

* Religion doesn’t do anything good that secular people don’t do anyway. He attacks the notion that deist religions provide a stronger sense of morality than human culture by highlighting the many ways that organized religions work, right now, to hinder ethical action by people everywhere.
* Religion does do lots to hinder free inquiry and expression. The particularly damning passages, I thought, are the ones about the free pass people of religious faith get in threatening people with violence over disagreements. In particular, he rails about the thuggery surrounding the cartoons of Muhammed and the cowardly silence from the other religious authorities in the face of intimidation.
* There’s also quite a long discussion of some of the central problems in the very idea of God as communicated by the big religions of today. Namely: why would God communicate through writing? What about evil? Why do religions fail to provide progress?

It’s a searing book, but an important one for people pondering what they believe and exploring what it means to endorse a particular religion.


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