Tuesday, August 12, 2008

God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens

Book Cover for God is not Great by Christopher HitchensIn 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 the heavens are 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.

So I didn't really read this one, I listened to it on Audio Book (so fab having an iPod dock i my car!) and it's long. It's helluva interesting (if you're interested in the debate of religion as opposed to blind faith) but I must say it lost me towards the end. The beginning is fabulous and he outlined and argued many of the reason's that I have for having an almost outright disdain for organised religion and also why, although I take less issue with people who just have a firm faith in their own beliefs, I myself do not. My stance on religion, belief and faith is pretty simple: I don't believe there's a God. I think religion is a man-made creation and was more about power and control than anything else, really. I also find it frightening what people will do "in the name of faith". But that's just my opinion.

That said, I think people should be free to beleive in whatever God they like as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's human rights (and they don't blather on trying to convert me). I'd be interested to know if any "true believers" read this book and what you thought. Because, honestly, I find that religious people (and this is a generalisation) take far more offense at someone outlining why they feel that the believer's religion is a lot of nonsense than the religious expect us to take when they attempt converting non-believers. Anyhoo, that's just my two cents and I think that either way, if you're serious about your faith or seriously against it, you should read this book and form your own opinion.


Jarred said...

For obvious reasons, this is one of my favourite books. Although Dawkins is a pompous ass, his writing is as sharp as a chef's knife and his arguments clear and brilliant.

I have never read a critic that has effectively challenged what he has to say -- his critics tend to come from the cultural or social anthropology side of things, which is hardly a response to this kind of debate imho.

nico said...

Shouldn't it say Christopher Hitchens in the post title instead of Richard Dawkins.

phillygirl said...

@jarred - well yes, and that's why you gave it to me on Audio Book :) Thanks again!

@nico - eep, thanks for noticing, have ammended as soon as Blogger would bloody well let me :P Shoo, what a faux pas!

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