Here, for the first time, in his new book The Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, chronicles his personal journey through disbelief into a committed Christian faith.
With unflinching openness and intellectual honesty, Hitchens describes the personal loss and philosophical curiosity that led him to burn his Bible at prep school and embrace atheism in its place. From there, he traces his experience as a journalist in Soviet Moscow and the critical observations that left him with more questions than answers - and more despair than hope for how to live a meaningful life.
With first-hand insight into the blurring of the line between politics and the Church, Hitchens reveals the reasons why an honest assessment of atheism cannot sustain disbelief in God. In the process, he provides hope for all believers who, in the words of T. S. Eliot, may discover "the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
©2010 Peter Hitchens (P)2010 Zondervan
Firstly, you cannot read this book without first reading Christopher Hitchens' book God Is Not Great. Simply stated, Peter Hitchens book is meant to be a rebuttal against what he calls his brothers atheist polemic. I think the book falls short of actually representing a comprehensive rebuttal but Hitchens writing is so well crafted and the circumstance of his relationship with Christopher so intriguing that I enjoyed the book nonetheless.
I expected a sort of "anti-atheist" book which put forward reasons to disbelieve atheist propositions, supplanting them with even more valid reasons to believe in the existence of God. Peter didn't do that, instead he spends the first half of the book on a completely fascinating nostalgic remembrance of Britain after WW2 during his early childhood, then goes on to catalog his experiences as a journalist in soviet Russia and anarchic Somalia as a way of demonstrating the effect of atheism when practiced as a matter of governance.
Still, Hitchens ultimately fails to rebut much of anything Christopher says in his book, or really anything Harris, Dennett, or Dawkins say either. About 2 hours into the book I was angry at Peter for sucking me in to something I didn't ask to hear but the book ultimately won me over and especially the epilogue, where Peter discusses his relationship as Christopher's brother with startling honesty. As the oldest of 2 male children, I can relate completely to Peters melancholy about the lifelong rift between him and his older brother. Read the book if you've got the money or a spare credit. Peter is a great writer and his book is quite fascinating. It just never achieves exactly what he said it would--but somehow that didn't detract from it being a wonderful 4 hours. If you're looking for an actual "anti-atheist" book I recommend searching Audible for What's So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza.
Although the subject is fascinating, this book failed to keep my interest. Ultimately I stopped listening. I was very disappointed that it wasn't better.
The book was ramblings by the author. 'Rage against God' is a poor title, it should be babblings by Peter Hitchens. I got so tired of Mr. Hitchens wandering, I stopped listening.
I don't believe another narrator would fare any better.
Don't waste a credit on this book.
Thoughtful, intelligent, beautifully written (and read).
This is not a typical work of apologetics; the author makes no such claims. It's part essay and part memoir. The biggest difference between the brothers is not talent (Peter is Christopher's equal as a prose stylist) or ultimately even politics (the agree on many issues, though often for different reasons)--it's self-criticism. Both brothers are devastating polemicists, but Peter is hardest of all on himself. This is a book about refusing easy answers and self-congratulation, written by a man of great integrity.
Anyone who has watched PH in action on television knows that he has one of the great voices in the English speaking world. Belongs on the bridge of a battleship. And because he's reading his own story, he does so with great (if subtle) emotion.
Anyone is going to find the last chapter very powerful. I also loved the reflections on Peter's school days, and was unexpectedly fascinated by his discussion of Soviet atheism.
I enjoyed Peter's book. Although I didn't agree with some of his opinions I found his writing to be honest and uncontrived. In my opinion he doesn't seem to try as hard to sound smart as does his brother Christopher.
I really enjoyed his reciting of the King James bible verses at the beginning of some of the chapters--I love the poetic sound of that particular version and they lend credibility to his understanding of the faith.
This book should be thought more of an autobiography than as a complete counter argument to the athiest "fad" of the moment and to me it was enjoyable as thus.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
Peter Hitchens' "Rage against God" is not a book that make sparks fly. In a certain sense it is autobiographical, giving the reader glimpses on the live of Peter Hitchens the atheist and his journey to Christianity. Those who expect Peter to fully engage with his brother Christopher, might be disappointed. The book is more of a background sketch of where the rage against God came from and where it might be going to. I thought Peter was able to give a good balanced understanding of some of the general "absurdities" that the New Atheists may come up with, not only putting it in context, but also pointing the fallacy of some of their argument. This he does while being painfully aware of Christians shortcomings. In short this is an honest book, although I wondered if the quality of the reading by the author himself, couldn't have been better.
Peter Hitchens eloquently articulates his personal observations of atheism as a foundational ideological preference of the totalitarian regime in communist Russia, and puts forward an analytical case for why the same abandonment of Christian principles in modern Europe should be cause for concern. The book is written with poetic brilliance and rational insight, it was an enthralling pleasure to listen to from start to finish.
Peter offers some unique perspectives on post-war British society, the mentality of the generation that grew up in the wake of the second World War, the contrast between a country that still has vestiges of moral grounding in a transcendent authority and that of a country and society which has long been isolated from such obligations, and intriguing insight into his relationship with his (now late) brother, one of the more salient intellectuals of the New Athiest literature, Christopher Hitchens.
This is the first book by Peter I have listened too, and I am extremely glad he took it upon himself to be the voice of his own writings - he is very easy to listen to and speaks with authority and dexterity.
It absolutely was, and that's exactly what I did! Captivated from start to finish!
I really was not prepared for how much I would enjoy this book! I recommend it highly and can't wait to indulge in more of his writings.
I recommend this book to anyone trying to understand, really understand, the roots of the atheist movement. The book is structured very linear, in that, Peter tells his story from childhood to the present. The meat of the book really hits late in the book, but persevere because his closing points are POWERFUL given the historical vantage point he builds. It is not an easy read. So don't pick it up if you are looking for a quaint little explanation. Read the book if you seek a deeper answer and perspective on anit-god agendas and where they come from. Excellent book Peter - thank you for your humble account and offering on this raging topic.
"Thank god I'm an athiest!"
If you were expecting, as I was, a balanced and reasoned discussion to counter the positions put forward by his brother, Christopher Hitchens then you are bound to be disappointed. I bought the book to find balance. Instead I think I stumbled into the worst of sibling rivalry! This Hitchens postulates that athiests have launched a virulent attack on Christianity. I have found instead that they are more usually simply indifferent to old superstitions - certainly, no athiest has ever set out to convert me to their (non) belief! He claims that dictators and governments through the ages have hijacked, exploited or replaced religious beliefs to their own ends. He fails to see the possibility that if, as the other Hitchens contends, religion is man-made and a tool for control then it is no surprise. He says fear was the reason for his rekindling of belief and that morality is impossible without a divine presence. He provides no cogent support for these contentions so, as religion demands - just take his word for it. But most crucially he has also not interrogated why he, in common with the rest of homo sapiens, has the need to 'believe' in the first place. It has, after all, been wired into the structure of widely divergent societies since the development of the neocortex. For that he'd need to read Sex Time and Power by Leonard Schlain (also available as an audio book on this site) and a far, far better investment.
"Thank god I'm not an atheist!"
Ignore the negative reviews, this is a beautifully written response to his brothers book 'God Is Not Great'.
I agree with Hitchens that there is an attempt by secularists to destroy Christianity (Dawkins has admitted that this is one of his aims). Malcolm says that most atheists are indifferent to christianity. If only this were so. A growing number of atheists are actively hostile to christianity. Indeed Christopher's book is an attempt to ridicule faith and to convert religious readers to atheism just like many of the new atheist books. On a personal level I have met more than a few atheists willing to attempt to convert me whenever the subject arises.
As for Malcolms claim that Peter gives no evidence for his contention that fear helped rekindle his faith, what evidence could he give? It does seem that we'll have to take his word for it. I don't think Peter would claim that morality is impossible without god only absolute morality. If there is no god then morality becomes subjective. The chapter in this book about Peters years living in the Soviet Union is an attempt to show what happens when fanatical atheists (who had many of the core beliefs that the new atheists have today) took control of a society and forced god out of public life. The atheist utopians who siezed control of Russia where anything but indifferent to religion. They attemped to destroy it just like our own atheist utopians are doing today (although in fairness I think its unlikely that Dawkins et al will take to murdering priests and nuns and destroying churchs like their atheist counterparts in the Soviet Union did).
Malcolm states that Peter hasn't looked into the reason that he and the rest of humans (except atheists apparently) have a need to believe. Why should he? Evolutionary explanations of the origins of the religious impulse are notoriously speculative given that they are based on fanciful theories and not evidence.
In short a wonderful book!
Sadly Peter seems to be so in awe & so left behind by his brother, the only avenue for him seems to be his an opposite stance on nearly everything. Very very poor.
very interesting listen. if you want to listen to a serious person talk about serious issues minus the politically correct non speak then you will enjoy this book.
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