Reading guide for God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

God Is Not Great

How Religion Poisons Everything

By Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2007,
    307 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2009,
    272 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Name an ethical statement or action, made or performed by a person of faith, that could not have been made or performed by a nonbeliever.
  2. Do you agree with the author's assertion in chapter two, "Religion Kills"?
  3. Do you think religion's cultural contributions have outweighed the tribal conflicts it has provoked?
  4. Do you believe there is a biological or psychological basis for religious faith?
  5. Does discussion of personal religious faith belong in the public square?
  6. Do you believe an atheist could be elected President of the United States?
  7. Should political speeches include the phrase, "God bless America"?
  8. Do you agree with the author's analysis of the central paradox at the core of religion: That that "the three great monotheisms teach people to think abjectly of themselves, as miserable and guilty sinners prostrate before an angry and jealous god..." while also teaching people "to be extremely self-centered and conceited" by assuring them that "god cares for them individually" and that "the cosmos was created with them specifically in mind"?
  9. Why does heaven hate ham?
  10. Do you agree that religion causes sexual repression and ignorance that is harmful to children?
  11. Do you think secularism can provide moral authority (as religion does for its adherents)?
  12. If god exists, why was this book a #1 bestseller and National Book Award nominee?
  13. One prominent anti-atheist argument (see p. 230) holds that atheists are responsible for some of history's worst atrocities (e.g., Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot). How do you respond to this idea? Do you agree with Hitchens' assessment?
  14. A spurious but still popular story goes that on his deathbed, Darwin recanted the theory of evolution and embraced Christ. Why do you think this story became popular? Does this say anything about our society?
  15. Do you think atheism is incompatible with all forms of spirituality-- e.g., with the idea of Karma?
  16. What do you make of the idea that religion gives people "bad reasons to behave well"? Does atheism provide us with any "good" reasons to behave well?
  17. If it were to be shown conclusively that Moses and Jesus and Mohammed were mythical figures, and their "books" man-made and not god-made, would all our moral dilemmas not be exactly what they are now? Or would you consider this news a personal tragedy?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Twelve Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...
  • Book Jacket: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    by Gabrielle Zevin
    I feel like Gabrielle Zevin wrote this wonderful book, about a lonely New England bookstore owner ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking something up and finding something else ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.