Christopher Hitchens, the author of twelve books and five collections of essays, all dealing with issues that are important to us today, presents a polemic against religion titled God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. God Is Not Great seems like a short book, but it presents a variety of arguments against religion from various points of view. Hitchens doesn't restrict himself to Christianity but also attacks religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as well.
Some of the points Hitchens makes are pointedly witty, such as when he asks if the Jews didn't realize that murder and adultery were sins before receiving the Ten Commandments. However, other points, though made in a light vein, are quite serious, such as the killing that takes place in the name of religion. Hitchens brings up the example of Salman Rushdie who had a fatwah placed on him due to his book, The Satanic Verses, and how religious heads throughout the world agreed that he had it coming.
He ridicules the practice of circumcision and denounces the practice of female genital mutilation in certain parts of Africa. He argues against the argument by design and brings up the fact that many religious texts, including the Bible, have been patched together from various sources and do not form a cohesive whole. Sexually, as well, he points out that the Catholic Church declared that condoms do not stop the spread of HIV, and this led to an increase in AIDS in Africa.
Overall, this book makes for an interesting, amusing read which spans a great deal—from personal anecdote to historical fact, from logical arguments to emotional pronouncements which show that Hitchens is quite passionate about the topic.
Hitchens was the son of parents who were both in the British Royal Navy and attended Oxford where he studied philosophy, politics and economics. He went on to become a journalist who contributed to many journals such as The Nation, The Atlantic, New Statesman, The Times Literary Supplement, The London Review of Books, Slate Magazine and Vanity Fair. God Is Not Great reached The New York Times bestseller list in its third week. Hitchens was known for taking unexpected positions on various issues, sometimes leaning towards the liberal side and sometimes towards the conservative end. He died in 2011 of esophageal cancer brought on by his smoking habit.
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, 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 view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty of the double helix. Download and start listening now!