God is not Great How Religion Poisons Everything
Christopher Hitchens (Twelve Books, Hachette: May 1, 2007), 307 pages.
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. ~ Publisher's Weekly
More Reviews of God is not Great
- "How People Poison Everything", here at Afterall.net (June 29, 2008)
- "The Unbeliever", by Stephen Prothero in the Washington Post (May 6, 2007).
- "Bible Belter", by Richard Dawkins in The Times Literary Supplement (September 5, 2007).
- In Paste Magazine, by Dennis Covington (May 9, 2007).
- "Christopher Hitchens is a Pleasure", in The National Review (May 17, 2007).
- "Hitchens vs. Hitchens", by Peter Hitchens (Christopher's brother) in The Daily Mail Online (June 2, 2007).
- "In God, Distrust", by Michael Kingsley in The New York Times (May 13, 2007)
- "A Reveiw", by Johann Hari at johannhari.com.
- "God Bless Christopher Hitchens", by Mark Warren at Powell's Books (April 25, 2007)
- "A Response", by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at markdroberts.com.
- "Is Christianity Good for the World", a debate with Douglas Wilson at ChristianityToday.com (May 8, 2007).
- "The Gospel According to Hitch", by Mary Riddell at The Guardian (June 3, 2007).