02 June 2008

God is not Great - Christopher Hitchens

Review by Jim Walker

...In spite of these and many more minor flaws, I did enjoy Hitchens searing wit and sarcasm. He goes much further than Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins in debasing religion. Interestingly, many critics of Dawkins try to paint him as mean spirited and fundamentalist atheist, yet anyone who has ever read his books and seen his lectures and interviews knows that he comes off as thoughtful, kind and shows great humor. Hitchens, on the other hand, comes off as downright belittling, and I love it! About time, I say, but his belittling has good reason behind it. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." Hitchens ridicules with wit, and I suspect that many of his put-downs will go over the heads of many religious people. For example, look how Hitchens reduces Aristotle's gods and the last remaining god of monotheism:

Aristotle, whose reasoning about the unmoved mover and the uncaused cause is the beginning of this argument, concluded that the logic would necessitate forty-seven of fifty-five gods. Surely even a monotheist would be grateful for Ockham's razor at this point? From a plurality of prime movers, the monotheists have bargained it down to a single one. They are getting ever nearer to the true, round figure.
When Hitchens writes about why heaven hates ham; the hazards of religion, in war, health, and politics; orthodox Jews that suck the bloody penises of little boys; and the false metaphysical claims of religion, the reader cannot fail to understand the poison of religion. Nor does Hitchens criticize only Christianity but he equally attacks Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. All religions fall under Hitchens axe because superstitious thinking cannot possibly solve any of the worlds problems, and in fact, creates many of them. Anyone who holds to any of these religions will have to answer the many questions that Hitchens poses, most of which probably never even occurred to them. For this reason alone, anyone who owns a religious belief should read this book. (click for full review)

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