God Is Not Great
By Christopher Hitchens
Published in 2007
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
God Is Not Great is one of the last books written by the great Christopher Hitchens prior to his death in 2011.
God Is Not Great is an always amusing and often thought provoking collection of arguments against all of the world’s largest and most well practiced religions. The writing is incredibly witty and entertaining - in terms of sheer entertainment value, then God Is Not Great is by far the most amusing book I’ve read so far in 2020.
Hitchens’ arguments draw heavily on his lengthy career as a journalistic correspondent in the most war torn regions of the world. He points out that there is no evidence that, even by religious moral standards, religious people are any more or less moral than atheists.
Hitchens then systematically tears apart the major religious texts of all religions - the old testament, the new testament, and the Quran. He points out the inconsistencies and highlights passages that are likely to have been written by different authors.
Hitchens even spends some time to tear down modern New Age cults and “Eastern” branded guru religions.
One very interesting thing that I didn’t know about Hitchens was that he used to be a Marxist in his youth. His morality and politics, at the time he wrote “God Is Not Great,” are painfully within the domain of mainstream Western liberalism.
Strikingly, he discounts the lessons of the Social Darwinist authors of the early 20th centuries. He sees no value in pre-Darwinian and Galtonian religious attitudes that vaguely predict the philosophy of evolution by the sword. I have personally come to interpret the Abrahamic religions as injunctions to create an evolutionary advantageous society for irrational reasons for the followers of the great faiths.
I think that all of Hitchen’s factual and logical arguments against religion are spot on.
By contrast, Hitchens moral arguments assume an ethical system based on egalitarianism, empathy, and compassion. If Hitchens were to assume instead a “Might Makes Right” system of ethics as promulgated by luminaries such as Ragnar Redbeard, then all of his moral arguments fall flat.
I would like to end this review by pointing out that I listened to the audiobook. The audiobook is read by Christopher Hitchens himself, and is incredibly well produced.
Overall, I recommend this book strongly, especially for those among my friends who are strongly religious. Hitchens arguments are poignant, and bound to challenge even the most well informed believers.
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