MLA Gold Award Site

Summary and book reviews of God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great

How Religion Poisons Everything

by Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2007, 307 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is 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.

In 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 hell is 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.

Putting It Mildly

If the intended reader of this book should want to go beyond disagreement with its author and try to identify the sins and deformities that animated him to write it (and I have certainly noticed that those who publicly affirm charity and compassion and forgiveness are often inclined to take this course), then he or she will not just be quarreling with the unknowable and ineffable creator who—presumably—opted to make me this way. They will be defiling the memory of a good, sincere, simple woman, of stable and decent faith, named Mrs. Jean Watts.

It was Mrs. Watts’s task, when I was a boy of about nine and attending a school on the edge of Dartmoor, in southwestern England, to instruct me in lessons about nature, and also about scripture. She would take me and my fellows on walks, in an especially lovely part of my beautiful country of birth, and teach us to tell the different birds, trees, and plants from one another. The amazing variety to be ...

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 ...
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!

Reviews

Media Reviews
Washington Post

Hitchens says a lot of true things in this wrongheaded book...Christopher Hitchens is a brilliant man, and there is no living journalist I more enjoy reading. But I have never encountered a book whose author is so fundamentally unacquainted with its subject.

Publishers Weekly

The best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos...its weakness is its almost fanatical insistence that religion poisons "everything," which tips over into barely disguised misanthropy.

Kirkus Reviews

A] pleasingly intemperate assault on organized religion...it's clear from page to page that Hitchens...is having a grand time twitting the folks in the white collars and purple dresses, in the turbans and beehives. Like-minded readers will enjoy his arguments, too.

Library Journal

This provocative, challenging, and passionate work - a religious believer's and apologist's nightmare - is recommended without reservation.

Booklist - June Sawyers

Starred Review. [Hitchens] is effortlessly witty and entertaining as well as utterly rational. Believers will be disturbed and may even charge him with blasphemy...he may not change many minds, but he offers the open-minded plenty to think about.

Reader Reviews
nueva

necessary read
Chris Hitchens is an astute observer - he gets a little too personal, but,overall his comments are intelligent, although sometimes he can be a bit strident. A must read after God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

Write your own review!

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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked God Is Not Great, try these:

  • 36 Arguments for the Existence of God jacket

    36 Arguments for the Existence of God

    by Rebecca Goldstein

    Published 2011

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A hilarious, heartbreaking, and intellectually captivating novel about the rapture and torments of religious experience in all its variety.

  • Losing My Religion jacket

    Losing My Religion

    by William Lobdell

    Published 2009

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    William Lobdell's journey of faith—and doubt—may be the most compelling spiritual memoir of our time. It is a book about life's deepest questions that speaks to everyone: Lobdell understands the longings and satisfactions of the faithful, as well as the unrelenting power of doubt.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
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 Loney
    The Loney
    by Andrew Hurley
    Landscape can be a writer's best friend. Whether it's the mountains of England's lake...
  • Book Jacket: The Mirror Thief
    The Mirror Thief
    by Martin Seay
    It is easy to see why Martin Seay's debut novel, The Mirror Thief, has been compared to David ...
  • Book Jacket: The Association of Small Bombs
    The Association of Small Bombs
    by Karan Mahajan
    The Association of Small Bombs is a fictional story that revolves around an actual 1996 car bombing ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Alaskan Laundry
    by Brendan Jones

    A fresh debut novel about a young woman who moves to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Win this book!
Win The Children

From NYT bestselling author Ann Leary

The captivating story of an unconventional New England family.

Enter

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I A Greek T M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.