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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

Among the Four Horsemen, “The Hitch” is certainly the most rhetorically gifted. Plus, he’s a full-blooded journalist focused on history and politics, and he damn sure made his homework on the relationship between religion and the state.

Christopher Hitchens’s book was the last from the “great four” I happened to read, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, although I have watched numerous presentations, discussions, and one-on-one disputes with Christopher Hitchens on YouTube or Google Video, God is Not Great was still fresh, enlightening, and thrilling. Not only does he have a vast repertoire of solid arguments from history and journalistic and personal experience at his command: always the brilliant rhetorician, he enjoys arranging and amending these arguments in ever new and entertaining ways. While he also enjoys the quick and dirty fight in television debates against preachers and political commentators on Fox News and elsewhere, he is an excellent, and excellently prepared, sharpshooter in his written texts and presentations.

Hitchens often comes across as condescending, even arrogant. But it is quite obvious that he does so quite consciously, not least to set himself apart from the faithfuls’ “becoming modesty” or “boastful humility,” however you put it, which often serves as an inroad for his relentless attacks:

[The] supercilious expression on the faces of those who practice religion ostentatiously: pray excuse my modesty and humility but I happen to be busy on an errand for god. (74)

Moreover, Hitchens is the first to openly, and repeatedly, admit factual or logical errors he happened to have made—which also stands in stark contrast to the targets of his elaborate attacks.

Hitchens, Christopher. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. London: Atlantic, 2008.
This review was also published at LibraryThing.

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  1. between drafts | Buchsturz Januar–Oktober 2011