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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  92,586 ratings  ·  4,763 reviews
>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." He explains the ways in which religion is immoral: We damage our children by indoctrinating them. It is a cause of sexual repression, violence, and ignorance. It is a distortion of our origins and the cosmos. In the place of ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published 2007 by Twelve
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Andy Grayson No, he correctly points out that Islam is doing more harm around the world than any mad offshoots of the other religions. They're all equally wrong, b…moreNo, he correctly points out that Islam is doing more harm around the world than any mad offshoots of the other religions. They're all equally wrong, but not all equally dangerous. The fact that the part where he dares to criticise, or even question, Islam has caused more of a stir than the rest of the book put together only serves to support his point. (less)

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Sep 16, 2010 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
Bill Kerwin
Oct 15, 2007 rated it liked it

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
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Witty, fact-based, amusing rant. I laughed out loud many times!

I think part of the rage Hitchens encounters derives from the fact that he is funny. If he put on a scholarly, serious tone, and imitated the behaviour of priests in the way he poses his arguments, he would not be hated in the way he is. But the ridicule makes him a target. I happen to like entertaining arguments more than tedious, nonsensical discussions on evidence for made-up assertions, and cheer Hitchens on when he offers his ow
Books Ring Mah Bell
Oct 17, 2007 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 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
Sep 04, 2013 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
Sep 27, 2009 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
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Having read the book some time before the author died and having written a review but not on this site I'm at a loss to comprehend now what went wrong with this book.

I had a more lenient rating system at the time I read this book. Now I'd have given this book a 2/5 - which I just have. There is too much focus on current terrorist acts and while in theory it's not a bad idea, I did found such parts muddling and boring. Respect to Hitchens though and RIP.
Abubakar Mehdi
Mar 24, 2016 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.
Matthew Wesley
Aug 02, 2007 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
Nov 15, 2007 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
Jul 21, 2008 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
Marc Horton
Aug 01, 2007 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
Nov 12, 2016 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
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
So, I had been itching to read a book by Hitchens for so long, and after reading and enjoying "Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide" by Richard Dawkins earlier this year, I thought it was about time I feed my hungry mind, and simultaneously, find out what all the fuss is about.

Hitchens is accessible and somewhat of a master in his argument that God is not great, and being an atheist myself, this just strengthens anything that I previously knew. He puts many things about religion into perspective,
Edward Lorn
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few days ago, a storm rolled through where I live and knocked out our power for a few hours and our internet for an entire day. (#firstworldproblems) Unfortunately, my Playstation 4 was in the middle of an update when all this occurred. The power outage shut down my PS4, and the update ended up becoming corrupted, along with my harddrive. I lost all my data. Hundred of hours of grinding in games like Fallout 4, Far Cry 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Resident Evil VII, and loads more. The PS4 had to be ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
In his later years, Christopher Hitchens developed a habit of loudly declaiming about subjects that he had little specific knowledge about. Departing from his career as a journalist, during the mid-2000s Hitchens began an entirely new adventure as an amateur philosopher of sorts. The “New Atheism” movement of which he was one of the major figures made very bold pronouncements, announcing what seemed like nothing less than an imminent revolution in human values. The decrepit old garments of thoug ...more
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
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*(FN) - 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 m ...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not preachy on religion, and everybody has their own take on spirituality and their own beliefs, which is how it should be. So......this book may not be for every reader out there. As an agnostic myself, I found GOD IS NOT GREAT to be an inspiring read for me personally. ...more
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
When my friends or the new people I'm acquainted with find out that I am an atheist ,they tend to raise their eyebrows or purse their lips. It is unusual for someone  like me in the Philippines to not believe in God/god. The same as what happened a long time ago, when my best friend based in Thailand confirmed that I belong now to the  members of the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism", she was worried that I would no longer be saved in the event that the Judgment Day came. She insisted that I believ ...more
Kerissa Ward
Jan 23, 2008 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.
May 27, 2016 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
May 14, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
Beach Blues

I was sitting on the beach in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, drinking a glass of papaya juice. It was early morning, the start of a beautiful day. I saw a man walking down the beach wearing a dark blue tee shirt and white trousers rolled up to his mid-calf. As he got closer I thought that I recognized him. I shouted out, “Christopher Hitchens?” He walked over to me and said, “Yes.”

“I thought that you had died.”
“Yes, I had. I am now a ghost.”
“A ghost? Does this mean that you now believe in Go
Montzalee Wittmann
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens is a book I kept hearing about and finally was able to get at the library.
He covers everything with the same feelings I have but he has a powerful writing style and better vocabulary. He presents a great message!
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
Jan 11, 2008 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
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The title says it all, so you know what to expect from this book, so if you're very religious and easily offended.. stay away, or read it because you might need it.

The author presented many valid points, most of his arguments were good but he focused on the extreme points of religion while i would have preferred a more general realistic approach. I wasn't beguiled as i thought i would be when I picked up this book.

I had few problems with the writing, the structure of the book was unappealing and
Mario the lone bookwolf
Significant that no argument of the author can be invalidated with rational arguments. Only with proof of God

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

Hitchens provides a hard-to-disagree, non-philosophical polemic against faith. Throughout the history of religion, he paints a picture of contradictions, power struggles, manipulation, warmongering and the possible call for war, genocide, intolerance and oppression and mistreatment
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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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