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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Hitchens
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,474 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, 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. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and
reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry
of the double helix.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hitchens, one of our great political pugilists, delivers the best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos. The same contrarian spirit that makes him delightful reading as a political commentator, even (or especially) when he's completely wrong, makes him an entertaining huckster prosecutor once he has God placed in the dock. And can he turn a phrase!: "monotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few nonevents." Hitchens's one-liners bear the marks of considerable sparring practice with believers. Yet few believers will recognize themselves as Hitchens associates all of them for all time with the worst of history's theocratic and inquisitional moments. All the same, this is salutary reading as a means of culling believers' weaker arguments: that faith offers comfort (false comfort is none at all), or has provided a historical hedge against fascism (it mostly hasn't), or that "Eastern" religions are better (nope). The book's real strength is Hitchens's on-the-ground glimpses of religion's worst face in various war zones and isolated despotic regimes. But its weakness is its almost fanatical insistence that religion poisons "everything," which tips over into barely disguised misanthropy. (May 30)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* God is getting bad press lately. Sam Harris' The End of Faith(2005) and Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion (2006) have questioned the existence of any spiritual being and met with enormous success. Now, noted, often acerbic journalist Hitchens enters the fray. As his subtitle indicates, his premise is simple. Not only does religion poison everything, which he argues by explaining several ways in which religion is immoral, but the world would be better off without religion. Replace religious faith with inquiry, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas, he exhorts. Closely reading major religious texts, Hitchens points to numerous examples of atrocities and mayhem in them. Religious faith, he asserts, is both result and cause of dangerous sexual repression. What's more, it is grounded in nothing more than wish fulfillment. Hence, he believes that religion is man-made, and an ethical life can be lived without its stamp of approval. With such chapter titles as "Religion Kills" and "Is Religion Child Abuse?" Hitchens intends to provoke, but he is not mean-spirited and humorless. Indeed, he is effortlessly witty and entertaining as well as utterly rational. Believers will be disturbed and may even charge him with blasphemy (he questions not only the virgin birth but the very existence of Jesus), and he may not change many minds, but he offers the open-minded plenty to think about. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 426 KB
  • Print Length: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; 1st edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00287KD4Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,322 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2,761 of 2,955 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From someone who's actually read the book! May 14, 2007
Format:Hardcover
After looking through some of the other customer reviews found here, I was dismayed by the amount of "blog-style" entries: that is, people who may have only glanced at the title or saw Hitchens promoting the book on CNN or YouTube and decided to just speak up, either in support or condemnation. However, if you're curious about the book and just want to know what to expect, may I humbly offer some actual information?

Hitchens, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, author of books too numerous to mention and contributor to smaller magazines such as Free Inquiry, adds to the recent renaissance of pro-atheist books with his own provocatively-titled contribution. Whereas Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason) sees dire warnings and Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion offers a defense of science, Hitchens uses his long experience in journalism to illustrate the madness that results when faith is unchallenged by reason. Dawkins has been criticized for adopting a harsh tone (an assessment I disagree with), but Hitchens is the one who really pours on the anger and witty derision.
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665 of 727 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And thus he spake... August 5, 2007
Format:Hardcover
My favorite part of the book is the last third. By that time Hitchens has made his arguments about how Religion Poisons Everything and is now rebutting the best intellectual arguments against his thesis. What would become of human decency, morality and ethics without religion? How do you address the inherent human need to believe in something and take comfort in a higher power? What are the god-less alternatives and aren't those institutions as bad or worse? Doesn't religion provide stability to society by pacifying individuals in times of darkness and uncertainty? It is hard to sum things up and provide sound bytes about something as complex as religion, but my take-away from this book is that any religion (by design) has the ingredients of becoming totalitarian, when successful; and totalitarianism of any kind leads to ultimate power corruption.

Hitchens makes his arguments and rebuts the best counter-arguments with passion and panache. If you are amongst the majority of people in the world - believers - his irreverent sense of humor may lead you to immediately brush him off as a partisan hack; while the unbelievers will get a kick out of each of the thousands of punchlines that Hitchens artfully mumbles. However, if you belong to the third category - an intellectual who chooses to look beyond a bi-polar view of the world when it comes to religion - I would urge patience with Hitchens' indulgence as a genius linguist (when you have it, it is hard not to flaunt it!) and you will find this book extremely rewarding and will not go un-satiated. If you are seriously debating the merits and demerits of religion as an institution in the society we live in, you have glanced at the perfect place, no matter what your affiliations.
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177 of 195 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Better Alternatives. July 19, 2007
Format:Hardcover
When the powers that be were considering Mother Theresa's name for sainthood, Christopher Hitchens bravely made the case to the Vatican - and to the public, via his book "Missionary Position - against her. Braver still, I remember, when the pope died, the deluge of obituaries, all glowing - except one: that of Christopher Hitchens who pointedly reminded us that this man had overseen the largest child-sex-abuse ring on the planet and took positive steps to shield others from prosecution.

For all of Hitchen's bravity and brevity, I can only give this book 3 stars. The reason has less to do with Hitchens work in it than others work before it. Quite simply, there are too many other good books out there presenting the case - a compelling one it is - for atheism. From Sam Harris's terse and tightly argued "Letter to a Christian Nation" to Richard Dawkins' monumental "God Delusion" atheism has, I think, better "spokespeople" elsewhere.

Hitchens' most obvious problem (one that alsow mars Dawkins only slightly, and touches Harris not at all) is that he write - well - almost too passionately! It is obvious that Hitchens not only dislikes, but hates, religion. Quite simply - and ironically, as this is a charge leveled at religionists more frequently than atheists - his passion gets in the way of his ability to present a reasoned case!

But the largest problem, from a scholarly standpoint, is that for every chapter in this book there is a chapter in another book that does it better. Hitchens has little experience with philosophy, but tries to make a philosophical case against design that is done better by Dawkins and, most memorably before him, Bertrand Russell.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Important, Intelligent and Thought Provoking
This should be a "must read" book for the members of all religions, especially those who harbor fundamentalist and literal interpretations of their chosen scripture. Read more
Published 1 day ago by SketchPen
4.0 out of 5 stars An Articulate Opposition to Religious Beliefs
Hitchens shines a bright light on the problems imposed on society by religious beliefs. This book shows good examples of why an increasing amount of people are atheist and... Read more
Published 1 day ago by pen_pal
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Hitch
When you acquire a Christopher Hitchens book, you do so with the vain hope, that you'll be dazzled and awed by his incorrigible love of whatever subject matter is the subject of... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Jeppe Frolund
5.0 out of 5 stars How could he be..?
This book is essential reading for all, believers and unbelievers. All readers can only benefit from its commonsense appraisal of how things really are. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Anthony Thorne MBE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars to you sir!
How can I not give this great man five stars. He is a wonderful writer. I am sad that he is gone. I will miss him.
Published 4 days ago by George Blake
4.0 out of 5 stars Logic and Science Versus Faith and Hope
Hitchens dazzles with his encyclopedic knowledge of religions, history, archeology and languages to demonstrate his premises that religion is man-made, corrupt and the source of... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Alan Borne
5.0 out of 5 stars For Believers only
If you believe everything they told you in church and have an open mind this is the antidote for the mind paralysis that was instilled by your preacher.
Published 9 days ago by Gil
5.0 out of 5 stars enlightening
There are many things in this book that invite further study. It is a compelling read, and I am going to buy my own copy.
Published 10 days ago by Holly Anne Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitch Takes On The Big Guy
As usual, Hitchens pulls no punches. Believers will hate him, but the man is a fountain of information on all of the major religions, and many of the minor and more obscure ones. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Terry L. Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
As usual, Hitch did a great job with this book.

The book really explores the true danger of faith and religion.
Published 12 days ago by Sybok
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More About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was the author of Letters to a Young Contrarian, and the bestseller No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also wrote for The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and The Independent, and appeared on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Chris Matthew's Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and C-Span's Washington Journal. He was named one of the world's "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect.

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The Bible Teaches Immoral Behavior!
Given the number of virgin births in that age, it seems God was quite the philanderer. Or a serial rapist? From the morality of the God of that time, as described in the old testament, I wouldn't put it beyond Him.
Jun 5, 2007 by M. Sanford |  See all 28 posts
Religion is brainwashing
"I'd leave my kid with him for twenty minutes and he could try to convince him to be a Christian, if he'd let me chat with his kid for the same twenty minutes, and I could present a reasoned argument against the existence of God. He could try to influence mine, and I'd try to influence... Read more
May 31, 2007 by DonkaDoo |  See all 39 posts
Absolute Proof that GOD Exists! There is NO Doubt!
Two things, Jonathan. First, it's just as absurd and inconceivable to believe that God created himself as it is that the universe created itself, no matter how elegant and satisfying that is.

Second, the number of religious types who use physics, logic, and (snicker) statistics to support their... Read more
Nov 10, 2007 by W. Alexander |  See all 201 posts
Fundamentalism and the Bible ... question for Christians
Ah yes, the folly of adopting a theism based on the creation mythology of a group of truly ignorant iron-age desert dwellers, and then attempting to adapt their superstitious beliefs to provide some sort of meaning in modern, western culture. Well that wasn't going to work, was it? Right off the... Read more
Sep 14, 2007 by David Lister |  See all 156 posts
Atheism is funny.
I don't believe because I am curious and studied the evolution of religion. It started way before the Bible or JC appeared, so it has little to do with them. To understand why people believe in gods you have to go way back to early man as he evolved from more "ape like" ancestors. ... Read more
Apr 30, 2007 by Ponger |  See all 193 posts
Will my believing in God...etcetera Be the first to reply
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