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God Is Not Great

How Religion Poisons Everything

By Christopher Hitchens
15-minute read
Audio available
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

God is Not Great traces the development of religious belief from the earliest, most primitive ages of humankind through to today. It attempts to explain the dangerous implications of religious thought and the reasons why faith still exists today. It also helps explain why scientific theory and religious belief can never be reconciled.

  • Those who want to know how religions developed
  • Anyone who wants to understand the fight between religious and scientific thinking
  • Those who wish to see the negative aspects of religious belief

Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) was an British author, journalist and broadcaster. He wrote for a number of publications including The New StatesmanThe Nation and Vanity Fair and was a regular commentator on various issues.

He remained a popular but divisive figure on both the left and the right and was never afraid to take a stand on controversial issues.

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God Is Not Great

How Religion Poisons Everything

By Christopher Hitchens
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
Synopsis

God is Not Great traces the development of religious belief from the earliest, most primitive ages of humankind through to today. It attempts to explain the dangerous implications of religious thought and the reasons why faith still exists today. It also helps explain why scientific theory and religious belief can never be reconciled.

Key idea 1 of 9

Miracles are not as miraculous as they first appear.

Jesus once famously healed a blind man he touched. Yet, if Jesus was able to cure a blind man, then why did he not simply cure all blindness? The answer: he must have been either unable or unwilling.

Miracles such as this, along with other examples of God's power, do not and cannot stand up to closer analysis. Far from being examples of a divine judgment and omnipotence, they appear to be cheap magic tricks or the results of primitive misunderstandings of natural phenomena.

It is no coincidence that most miracles took place in the distant past. In earlier times, no one had the slightest clue why events like natural disasters or solar eclipses happened, so a religious explanation was offered. In contrast, when an earthquake happens today, we know it is not the result of God's wrath but of plate tectonics.

The other case against miracles is how weak and disappointing they often seem, and how easily pleased by them believers seem to be. Consider how religious people often rejoice when they see a resemblance of the face of God in a piece of toast, or when a religious statue supposedly bleeds. The might of their all-powerful God seems to have been reduced to performing cheap and irrelevant tricks.

This mediocrity of modern miracles shows how scientific knowledge has pushed religious belief toward the fringes of society. It also demonstrates how religious people continue to act irrationally and search for proof of their faith in the most obscure places.

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