Book Review – God is not Great – Christopher Hitchens

Raised a Unitarian I have always believed there is at most one god.

I chose to read this book as the YouTube has clearly decided that I enjoy listening and watching Hitchen’s critiques of the religious and I wanted to read a long form analysis.

Sadly I had heard all the examples before so it did not feel like a particularly additive experience.

God is clearly made in man’s image since virtually all religions are the same. The idea that there is some omniscient overlord who cares personally about you, but not in a particularly nice way is clearly incredibly egotistical. Tragically we are all just not that important. The reason I, and others, do know the “meaning of life” is because there is no external adjudicator to grant such meaning or purpose. We have none but what we give ourselves.

The critiques of the major abrahamic religions are sadly all too easy.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all basically the same and the stories just aren’t that good. Like Hitchen’s I am a little curious about why the peoples of the Middle East are so anti-pig and anti-sex.

I found many of the arguments to essentially be reductio ad absurdum. I know many people who say they are religious and at University I even knew one or two who professed to be young earth creationists. Sadly this book will not appeal to them or persuade them if they read it (I don’t think) as it is hard for me to understand how any person willing to think for themselves could truly believe any of it anyway.

Sadly Christopher Hitchen’s is dead so his towering intellect will likely never be put to the question of why do people want to believe, want to profess to believe and why, therefore, is there no purpose to shouting at them that not only is God not great but she clearly does not exist.

I don’t particularly know what the appropriate resopnse is to male circumcision. It is clearly an assault but if I were able to rank the ills of the world in order it would not make it to the top of the list.

In summary, while religion dulls enquiry and prosthelytizers are annoying, I don’t think much of the work by Hitchen’s is likely to lead to any enlightenment. Read this book if you are likely to be stuck in a dorm room with an evangelical prosthelytizer so you have ready access to responses to the superficially attractive nonsense they will continually espouse.

Thinking is really hard and the option to let others decide complex issues for you will be attractive, especially during moments of crisis. This book may help you to hold on to your sanity.

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