Saturday, January 14, 2012

[Book] God is not Great

Title: God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
Author: Christopher Hitchens
Published: March, 2008 (by Twelve)
Paperback, 377 pages
ISBN: 0-446-50945-0 (ISBN13: 978-0-446-50945-9)

From the title itself you can read for yourself that it is very provoking. Indeed, it IS very thought-provoking. If you are a believer in one of religions, very pious, God lover, a zealot, believe me, you will not like this book. I bet you will throw this book away after you've read the first 15 pages. And, after that you'll be swearing. Then, you will pray to God to punish Christopher Hitchens in hell. He's a non-believer, after all. He's an atheist. Or, if you're kind enough you'll pray to God to forgive his soul. I don't know which one you are. :D

But, if you're really curious, I suggest you to open your mind before you open this book. Because just like any other books that attack religions, you won't comfortable reading it. You'll be upset. Hitchens attacked religion and said that religion was violent, abusive, hostile, and coercive. 

But, prepare for yourself to read something like this:

There is no need for us to gather every day, or every seven days, or on any high and auspicious day, to proclaim our rectitude or to grovel and wallow in our unworthiness. We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine. Sacrifices and ceremonies are abhorrent to us, as are relics and the worship of any images or objects[...]. To us no spot on earth is or could be "holier" than another: to the ostentatious absurdity of pilgrimage, or the plain horror of killing civillians in the name of some sacred wall or cave or shrine or rock [...]. (page, 7-8)

Or:

The ultimate degeneration of all this into a mere bargain was made unpleasantly obvious by Blaise Pascal, whose theology is not far short of sordid. His celebrated "wager" puts it in hucksterish form: what have you got to lose? If you believe in god and there is god, you win. If you believe in him and you are wrong--so what? I once wrote a response to this cunning piece of bet-covering, which took two forms. The first was a version of Bertrand Russell's hypothetical reply to hyphothetical question: what will you say if you die and are confronted with your Maker? His response? "I should say, Oh God, you did not give us enough evidence." My own reply: Imponderable Sir, I presume from some if not all of your many reputations that you might prefer honest and convinced unbelief to the hypocritical and self-interested affectation of faith or the smoking tributes of bloody altars. But I would not count on it. (page 252-253)

Hitchens told us his stories from his personal experiences concerning religions. In chapter two, Religion Kills, he was asked by Dennis Prager, a broadcaster. Hitchens was asked to imagine himself in a strange city in one evening. He was approached by group of strangers from a prayer meeting, would he feel safer or less safe? Hitchens answered:

"Just to stay within the letter 'B', I have actually had that experience in Belfast, Beirut, Bombay, Belgrade, Bethlehem, and Baghdad. In each case I can say absolutely, and can give my reasons, why I would feel immediately threatened if I thought that group of men approaching me in the dusk were coming from a religious observance." (page 21)

Despite the issue here brought by Hitchens is very sensitive--and he really gave a sharp criticism--to be honest, I like the way Hitchens wrote it. Not only he gave his personal examples, he also provided us from holy books, from anything, to argue. And the way he wrote it, somehow, I feel it is very easy to understand this sensitive issue. Even though it is a very delicate, Hitchens could write in a witty way. He is eloquent.

After reading this book, it doesn't immediately make me an atheist. It's not also I'm planning to be one. There is a thing or two I disagree with Hitchens. I still believe religion is not that bad. I still believe there are many people out there, who have faith, still do some good things because their religions tell them to.

From 1 - 5, I give 3 for God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.


2 comments:

  1. Have you read God delusion by Richard dawkins? it's the finest atheist book ever :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. As my friend and I sometimes say: "An atheist is a materialist, but it doesn't mean that they lose their God spot. They view it as a more transendence being."

    ReplyDelete

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