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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything | [Christopher Hitchens]

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Astute critic and biographer Christopher Hitchens comes out swinging in this—dare I say it—enjoyable discussion of religions worldwide. Believers and nonbelievers alike will find value in listening to this provocative book that comes at a time when people the world over are reeling from news of terrorist acts inspired by religious fundamentalism. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have trod this road in recent years, but it is Hitchens who achieves the most memorable exploration. –Corey Thrasher

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2007 Christopher Hitchens; (P)2007 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"The best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos." (Publishers Weekly)
"Effortlessly witty and entertaining as well as utterly rational." (Booklist)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Daniel J. Jensen San Jose, CA USA 05-24-07
    Daniel J. Jensen San Jose, CA USA 05-24-07 Listener Since 2007

    gawia

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    "Great material; adequate narrator"

    Hitchens is brilliant, and funny as well. I truly enjoyed his little jabs that are sometimes so subtle that one wonders whether he intended any injury, however slight. His references to solipsism are "spot on", as is much of what he says. He's a splendid example of a British wit, yet a man who is concerned, in his deceptively casual manner, with the rise of religious extremism in America and the world.

    Though I continue to find points of light in religion, I insist that what Hitchens and his fellow post-911 atheists (esp. Harris) have to say.

    My only objection is to his narration. I appreciate the privelege to hear the author narrate, and his voice does not annoy, but his casual intonation and lack of clarity make him hard to understand at times. I just heard Hitchens interviewed today, and curiously, I think his delivery was clearer. Perhaps the chore of narration bored him a bit. Of course it's the duty of an Englishman to sound bored, so who knows?

    In any case, I enjoyed the audiobook immensely, but I may have enjoyed the printed book a bit more.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 05-01-15
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 05-01-15 Member Since 2015

    My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.

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    "Depressing"

    Well written and well narrated. I grew weary of listening to count after count of how amazingly evil people have been to each other in the name of their religion. Although I'm an atheist, this book needed some balance.

    21 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean Short 05-12-07
    Dean Short 05-12-07 Listener Since 2004
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    "More enjoyable than persuasive"

    Atheists suffer the same basic weakness as the religious. They believe themselves to know the truth. This author, thankfully, doesn't have the all-knowing tone of, for example, Richard Dawkins, and that makes the book a more enjoyable read. Hitchens freely admits that, for a long time, religion was the only option to explain much of the world. Contempt is reserved for those who, when confronted with new knowledge, retreat from it. I've no doubt it would still piss off the devout...but the book explains the reasoning behind atheism in a very straightforward, comprehensible way. This is the book I'd give to my mother to explain why I won't go to church with her anymore.
    Final note: Looking at previous reviews, I'm compelled to mention that I understood the author's voice perfectly. I believe having him read benefits the presentation, since it adds genuine emotion to the reading. But, I'm using an iPod. Your results and sound quality may vary.

    24 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Cindric St. Marys, Pa. United States 01-14-09
    R. Cindric St. Marys, Pa. United States 01-14-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Set the record straight"

    Christopher Hitchens not only wrote an insightful look into organized religion, he also did it in a style remenisant of Douglas Adams. Maybe it's his English accent or a sense of humor born in the English school and state religious system.

    Regardless, I disagree with the negative comments in previous reviews. Hitchens' main point is that "religion poisons everything". He makes great points and backs them up with unassailable arguments. A few of the reviewers complain about the audio quality, maybe they need new earphones or need to download the program again. The audio on my copy is excellent and his reading of the book is done with clarity,style and humor.

    I'm not an atheist; I'm just not convinced that any religion has the complete story. Mr Hitchens points brought my religious inclinations into clear focus and his experiences with events and news-makers validate his points.

    This is one of the best non-fiction books I've purchased from Audible. The only problem is that now I feel compelled to buy a hard copy so that I can use it for notes and reference especially if I find myself compelled to believe in one of the "revealed religions". He words can bring me back to reality.

    18 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 12-09-13
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 12-09-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Sharp and witty"
    If you could sum up God Is Not Great in three words, what would they be?

    Atheism for Dummies


    What did you like best about this story?

    Hitchen's is clearly at his best here. Like an urbane uncle after a few drinks, he's not afraid to spout off on the follies of take your pick. It's all told in his acerbic style that pulls no punches. Makes a convincing case that not only is religious belief harmful not only to mankind but through countless examples, individual believers as well. Like Sam Harris' The End of Faith, Hitchens probably won't convert any true believers but unlike Harris, he does a much better job making this a personal appeal as well as polemic without, excuse the pun, sounding preachy. Even if you don't buy his line, it's hard to say it isn't entertaining.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Christopher Hitchens?

    If I had a complaint it was the narration by Hitchens himself. Whether it was him or the director, he had a reading habit of explosively starting a sentence and letting his voice trail off into a mumble by the end. I like to listen while driving and it was near impossible to understand many sentences.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not particularly, but I did like how he closed out one chapter by saying how sometimes he missed the certainty of his old religious beliefs, then followed it up by daring the reader to give them up with a "try it, you'll like it!" Exhortation. Priceless!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 09-13-12
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 09-13-12 Member Since 2015
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    "God May Not Be Great - But Hitchens Is"

    If you are an atheist - or wonder if you are - this is an important and thoughtful book to let you know you are not alone and not alone in wondering why no one points out all of the ways that religion gets it so wrong. It is also important to note that Hitchens does not mock religion or the idea of god - in the way that Richard Dawkins does (e.g., in The God Delusion). He also isn't trying to gently speak to believers to help them see how harmful a strident religion can be the way Sam Harris does (e.g., in Letters to a Christian Nation). Instead, Hitchens thoughtfully and scholarly dissects and discards each of the main arguments for god and shows how they are used to attack non-believers and control society. His arguments are VERY compelling and well thought out - if you are open to the notion that god is a very interesting idea but not self-evident - and not the domain of any religious group and should not to be used to control society.

    To the extent that there is a downside - it is Hitchens himself. Yet again, Hitchens remind us why writers should never narrate their own books. Although a few writers can pull it off - Hitchens is not one of them. For much of the book I was straining to hear and to understand him. He seems to mumble and he trails off at the end of sentences. Although frustrating, it did not distract enough to undermine the significance of this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    P. M. Morris Canberra, Australia 08-20-08
    P. M. Morris Canberra, Australia 08-20-08 Member Since 2013

    Petros

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    "Excellent book - a great listen"

    I have to take issue with the many reviews condemning Hitchens for narrating his own book. Hitchens' style is so unique that any other reader would be quite inappropriate. I guess this is mostly a case of U.S. readers having difficulty with anything not familiar to their ears - pity. As a non-US listener I have no problem with most books performed with U.S. accents, but it is nice to have a little variety occasionally! Hitchens is, well, Hitchens and to have him read the book was the icing on the cake, at least for me. The book's message? Wonderfully over the top and worth every minute.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
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    Anthony Freyberg Redding, Ct, US 09-30-07
    Anthony Freyberg Redding, Ct, US 09-30-07 Member Since 2006
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    "Hitchens Unleashed"

    Christopher Hitchens provocative and highly effective polemic against organized and not so organized religion suffers only from the author's own narration. Too bad. Despite his Richard Burton like voice and accent, Hitchens often brilliant observations and corruscating style are severely damaged by a breakneck tempo and detached delivery. But the extra effort required when listening is still well worth the effort.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Ann Peterborough, ON, Canada 09-22-07
    Ann Peterborough, ON, Canada 09-22-07 Member Since 2011
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    "Wow"

    While I have often enjoyed this author's contributions in the magazine Vanity Fair, I didn't realize his talent with the English language until I listened to this book. Hitchens does a number on all religions and makes a very credible arguement to explain why man needed religion to explain natural phenomenon in the world during a time when science was in its infancy. I laughed out loud at some of his wry comments and am just disappointed that there are not more of his writings available.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan James 08-28-07
    Evan James 08-28-07 Member Since 2012
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    "Very good"

    Another good book by one of the Hitchens brothers. This one stands up with as one of the three best rational responses to religion that have been written in the last 5 years.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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