This is one of the best books I have ever read – though I’ll have to read it again, and again, to really understand it, to fully appreciate everything Christopher Hitchens ‘is’ saying.
Christopher Hitchens is well-known for his atheism. He is also well-known for keeping ‘bad company’, e.g. Edward Said and Noam Chomsky and he has more than flirted with the darkness of Marxism and Trotskyism but none of that side of him comes into this book. “God Is Not Great” is simply (the book is anything but simple!) a journey through his take on religion and God.
I decided to read this book before Professor Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” because I thought, incorrectly, that it would be more ‘lightweight’, less academic. I haven’t read Dawkins’ book yet but Hitchens’ book is not lightweight! Thankfully, I read it on my Kindle – I needed the dictionary many, many times. Hitchens quotes a lot of Greek and Roman philosophers and the text is heavy at times. That said, I understood a lot of the book and I’ll understand more when I read it again. From within the complexity and weightiness of the deep thinking and philosophy, the light of clarity shines through.
Hitchens was not restrained in his thinking, not anchored to superstition, brain-washing and fear. Hitchens was a free-thinker, not shackled nor held back by religious indoctrination. For all Hitchens’ deep thinking, he saw the world through simple lenses. He believed in what he saw and what could be proved by science. If he couldn’t see or hear it (or know it was there by virtue of his other senses), he didn’t believe it existed. In my opinion, that gave Hitchens the clearest, widest view of the world. He could interpret and understand the world in his own mind, through his own eyes and ears. The world and life was as he saw it, not how others saw it.
I recommend this book to religious and non-religious people alike. If you are religious and believe in God, or Gods, you should read it. Have an open mind. If you feel threatened by the idea of reading such a book, perhaps you are not strong in your faith. If you are not religious, if you do not believe in God, or Gods, you’ll enjoy Hitchens’ thinking. If you don’t know where you stand on God and religion, this book might help you find direction.