Matthew Wesley's Reviews > God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
240328
's review
Aug 30, 2007

liked it
Read in July, 2007

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 faith and religion, so I am willing to tolerate fallacies and offensive comments while I enjoy the witty writing. For the religious or the uncertain, however, this book may seem too irreverent and offensive to be of any intellectual value. Few faithful people would be willing to entertain the author's notions long enough to see where he has valid points and separate them from his snideness. This is a true shame, because there are some worthwhile messages.

The main message is that religion can be a bad influence on things. Unfortunately, the author phrases this as the fallacious "religion poisons everything." Christopher Hitchens provides many poignant examples of wrongdoing founded in faith and religion, but this does not imply that everything done by religion is bad. It is unfortunate that the conclusion of the book is overstated, because a more cautious assessment of the dangers of religious rejection of reason would be valuable and accessible to more people.

I would recommend that people interested in the subject matter instead review the extensive on-line collection of atheist writing. Much of it is more welcoming and less arrogant. www.infidels.org is a good source of such material, and it has an excellent introduction to atheism that is valuable both to atheists and to Christians (http://www.infidels.org/library/moder...). The library also includes written works oriented towards people of other faiths as well.
46 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read God Is Not Great.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

01/31 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Kate Great review.


message 2: by Skyler (new)

Skyler I will pray for you.


message 3: by Kriss (new) - added it

Kriss Your review was flawed and contradicting, hitchens was the greatest writer of our times. So just read it and enjoy the masters work and tick the one option which says very good!


David Palmer skyler, we will think for you.


message 5: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie I seriously doubt skyler is praying for anyone... He just wants to feel morally superior to us all.


message 6: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Vales What particular aspects of the book did you find were fallacious? I just ask because Hitchens studied philosophy so he would have been familiar with them.


Mark Oliver Matthew can you please expand on the on the arguments you found flawed? I’m not sure an opening comment like that can be left without an example or at least some additional information. On your other points Hitchens was not out to convert anyone, he was direct to the point of rudeness with his criticisms of not only religion but any other subject or person that that came to his attention for the wrong reasons. His refreshing non-PC approach to the subject is exactly the reason for his success and popularity, if you are one to sugar-coat or beat around the bush then you will never enjoy the work of Hitchens. The man said what he meant and defended his position, he made no apology in life for this and no one would dare try to explain it now he has passed.


Shane Mcparland Interesting review, I agree Hitchens aggressive tone would be a huge hurdle for the religious to see past. I think Dan Barker's books are much more reasonable and present many of the same arguments.

Also I took the liberty of flagging the spam and junk comments, fyi


Mustafa Ahmad As a Muslim turned atheist, your review is exactly what I thought of this book.


message 10: by Dave (new)

Dave You've summed up my feelings on the book too. Great review.


Vaseline you're basically asking him to 'tone it down' to sound less antagonistic...


Vaseline but bear in mind he is sincere in his moral outrage and the tone is just right to convey that.


message 13: by Rich (new)

Rich Why would an atheist, offended by religion and all the idiots that's purport it, wish to write in a style that appeases them? I'm afraid that one of the key issues with religion is the lack of tolerance, and also the subjectivity of opinion and absence of pragmatism. These are not tenets you can ration with


message 14: by Rich (new)

Rich Why would an atheist, offended by religion and all the idiots that's purport it, wish to write in a style that appeases them? I'm afraid that one of the key issues with religion is the lack of tolerance, and also the subjectivity of opinion and absence of pragmatism. These are not tenets you can ration with


back to top