God Is Not Great Book Summary By Christopher Hitchens

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God is Not Great, written by Christopher Hitchens, is a comprehensive exploration of religion and its implications for society.

The book delves deep into the origins of religious thought and examines its development from the most primitive eras of humankind to modern times.

It seeks to explain both why people cling onto faith today and why scientific theory cannot be reconciled with it.

With a critical eye to the past, God is Not Great offers insight into the dangerous nature of religious beliefs and how they can hinder the advancement of popular knowledge.

God Is Not Great Book

Book Name: God Is Not Great (How Religion Poisons Everything)

Author(s): Christopher Hitchens

Rating: 3.9/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Philosophy

Author Bio

Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) was an astute British author, journalist and broadcaster who devoted himself to revealing the weakspot of religious fundamentalism.

He produced a unique body of work, writing for prestigious publications including The New Statesman, The Nation and Vanity Fair.

His perspectives on various issues were often sought out by media outlets due to his eloquent style and sharp wit.

Most notably, Christopher Hitchens is renowned for his book "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything", which presents a persuasive argument that religious belief is dangerous and unhealthy for individuals and society alike.

Hitchen's arguments are both intellectually stimulating as well as thought provoking; a testament to why this book still has relevance today despite being released back in 2007.

The Bible: Man-Made Design Reveals Historical Inaccuracies And Self-Contradictions


The clear evidence of religious texts being man-made is present in the historical inaccuracies and selective accounts found within them.

Take, for example, the Gospels of the New Testament; it’s clear that these were cherry-picked by the Church to reinforce their own narrative, as other gospels such as the Gospel of Judas, which obviously didn’t fit their story, were declared heretical and banned.

Furthermore, religious texts have been proven time and time again to contain false information or be based on faulty source material as a result of their origin stories coming from an oral tradition.

Consider the tale of Jesus’ birth: there are references to various historical events in it which had actually occurred many years apart.

Additionally, one of the biggest events described in the Bible -the Jews’ flight from Egypt- isn’t mentioned anywhere else in any other record.

To put it simply, religious texts are clearly man-made creations due to their historical inaccuracies and self-contradictions; even if some ancient truths remain within them, they’ve been tainted by further corruption from later religious leaders who wanted to strengthen and control their own doctrines.

Science Is The Cure To Religion’s Flimsy Miracles

The concept of miracles is often thought of as mysterious, awe-inspiring acts that cannot be explained.

But when examined closely, many miracles don’t seem so miraculous after all.

Take for example the famous instance in which Jesus healed a blind man he touched; if Jesus could do this for one person, why didn’t he do it for everyone? The answer is likely because either he wasn’t able or willing to.

Miracles from centuries ago are particularly suspect because during those times people had very little understanding of natural phenomena, so religious explanations were accepted without question.

Today, though, we know better than to attribute events like earthquakes and solar eclipses to God’s wrath; they are instead caused by scientific causes such as plate tectonics and gravitational forces.

Furthermore, the sometimes mundane or even trivial miracles that believers celebrate today — e.g., seeing the face of God in a piece of toast or a statue bleeding — speak volumes about their faith in an all-powerful deity being replaced with superstitious belief in inexplicable phenomena.

Ultimately, it appears that as scientific knowledge has grown over time, faith has suffered because what might have seemed miraculous centuries ago can now easily be explained scientifically – leaving only the most irrational beliefs standing today.

Religion Is Not The Source Of Morality; Rather, It Has Been Used To Promote Morally Corrupt Teachings And Impossible Commandments

Far from being the source of morality in the world, religions are actually positively immoral.

If you look at their teachings, they often condone atrocious activities such as slavery, genocide, and rape.

In fact, they even encourage practices like these by citing biblical stories of God murdering firstborn Egyptians in the story of the Exodus.

Nonsensical commandments imposed by religion also make it difficult for believers to adhere to moral codes.

For instance, orders to resist one’s own biology – especially relating to sex and sexuality – make no sense considering that any design defects would be a result of God’s own creation.

What’s worse is that religion punishes any slight misdemeanors with eternal damnation – even if only committed in thought!

Such thought crimes cannot be attributed to a moral being, leaving believers with feelings of guilt and fear that can last forever.

It’s clear that religions are far from guardians of morality – instead they have promoted immoral practices and teachings throughout history.

It Takes Totalitarianism And Religion To Create A Society Of Complete Obedience And Servitude


Religious belief and totalitarianism have a lot in common.

Both share the concept of an all-powerful leader that is to be obeyed without question, and both involve absolute control over the individual’s life.

That is why religious belief often winds up taking on a form not unlike that of a dictatorship.

Totalitarian regimes, such as North Korea or Stalinist Russia, demand complete loyalty from their citizens.

The same goes for beliefs based on faith, where believers must adhere to commands without questioning them, no matter how irrational they may seem.

This is also true of theocracies – governments run according to religious principles – which can easily turn into oppressive dictatorships.

Finally, religious belief itself can take on a totalitarian nature by having devotees willingly submit themselves to an all-knowing deity who will judge them at all times and has ultimate power over them with no chance for escape – even after death.

In this way, religion provides the perfect milieu for people to accept a form of unconditional slavery similar to that of any other authoritarian regime.

Religion’S Unquestioning Faith Ignores Rational Concerns And Permits Harmful, Irrational Practices

The way religions treat children exposes the irrationality and outdated nature of religious doctrine.

Religious beliefs are so unbending and absolute that many strange, irrational practices still exist unchecked within them.

And yet despite this, believers carry on adhering to these practices with unyielding faith, often acting in ways society would never allow if they weren’t part of a religion.

Take the example of circumcision of infant boys in Jewish and Muslim faiths.

Without its religious element, this amounts to nothing less than genital mutilation – which is undoubtedly child abuse.

Then there’s the way children are taught about hell and eternal damnation; ideas which put an immense emotional strain on kids with the threat of never-ending pain and suffering should they resist the teachings.

Again, were this not viewed as religious teaching, such beliefs wouldn’t be given a free pass in a modern society.

This just goes to show how blind faith can make people act irrationally and bizarrely in their extreme devotion to a religion; often disregarding common sense and morality in favor of outdated doctrines.

Religious Intolerance: When Faith Demands Power Instead Of Bliss

Religions are often assumed to be tolerant of other faiths and systems of knowledge, but this is simply not true.

Despite claims that they offer the key to bliss and eternal happiness, many religious people have shown themselves to be angry, intolerant, and violent in the past and present.

They don’t take comfort in their own salvation, instead attempting forcibly impose their beliefs on others.

The reason for this intolerance lies in the very structure of religion – if a belief system does not assert itself as the only possible truth, then it risks challenging its own dominance.

Allowing others ways of meaning making challenges the notion that God is omnipotent and therefore any acknowledgement of other ways that lead to truth must be denied or destroyed.

In various parts of the world this intolerance has spawned violent conflicts between faiths as believers attempt to foist their beliefs on others.

It’s a sad reality that between Belfast and Beirut we see religion at its most powerful – where disagreeing or questioning can bring with it harsh consequences.

Just look at Salman Rushdie who had to fear for his life after writing a novel deemed blasphemous by Islamic authorities.

Religions profess bliss in another world while demanding power in this one – leaving us with little choice but accept they will always seek to interfere in our lives

The Legacy Of Freethinkers: Challenging Repressive Dogma And Advancing Religious Skepticism

Religious Skepticism

Freethinkers have always been a driving force in the progression of knowledge, even when persecuted by religions.

It was their dedication and intellectual curiosity which has enabled us to seek out and obtain information with relative ease— something we can do safely thanks to those who sought to learn in spite of having to face punishment.

While many names may be lost throughout history, some pioneers of religious skepticism remain famous today.

This includes Socrates who challenged religious orthodoxy in Ancient Greece and paid for it with his life, modern scientific giants like Charles Darwin who exposed the world to the theory of evolution, and so on.

These individuals’ efforts have led to increased doubt towards religion, allowing us more freedom by educating ourselves through close observation of science and nature.

This pro-knowledge movement has been fundamental in weakening the oppressive power of religious thought over the human mind.

In this way, past freethinkers continue to inspire us in our present day endeavors for understanding and progress.

Religion And Science Are Incompatible: The Tragic Consequences Of Religious Intolerance And Ignorance

Religion and science are fundamentally incompatible.

They both seek to give a definitive explanation as to why our world is the way it is, but since only one of them can actually be right, they clash in many ways.

As knowledge of scientific principles becomes more widespread in society, the role of religious beliefs unfortunately declines.

Those who wish to maintain their faith are faced with the harsh reality that it is being made increasingly irrelevant by advances in scientific thought.

Some try and make room for religious explanations by suggesting that it can fill in the gaps where science leaves off — yet this does not resolve the underlying problem of incompatibility between religion and science.

The consequences of believing religiously-tainted theories can be tragic.

The most famous example is creationism, which some people insist should rival evolution theory as an explanation for life on earth despite all evidence pointing against it.

This view is so deeply entrenched among some groups that they have gone so far as to demand that school children around the world take creationists’ stories as seriously as scientists’ evidence-based theories.

Such ignorance entrenches intolerance and religious bigotry into new generations by denying them important information about how our natural world works and how we got here.

Another consequence of this clash between religion and science can be seen when looking specifically at the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception: due to their belief that artificial options such as condoms go against God’s will — even when these same options could be used to help stop the spread of disease such as AIDS — means there has been less use, leading to unnecessary suffering around the world.

Despite all we now understand about science and our universe, some still cling on tightly to outdated beliefs held dear by their faith — beliefs that distract us from progress instead of guiding us towards a better future.

The Battle Against Religion Must Continue To Protect Humanity’s Rational Progress


Religious belief will continue to survive, and as long as it does, it will attempt to impose itself on the rest of society.

Religion is the product of a more primitive and childlike period in human history- when our ancestors were unable to explain why natural disasters or illness occurred, they created gods and stories to provide comfort and explanations.

However, as we evolve as a species, and discover scientific explanations for most things, we’re still filled with fear over unknowns- religion fills these gaps in our knowledge by exploiting our uncertainties about other people, death, and the future.

For example, look at the reaction to cartoon images of Mohammed printed in 2005 that sparked violent protests across Islamic communities; this is just one example of how powerful religious thought can be.

Therefore, it’s essential that rational thought continues to fight against religious influence – just like freethinkers have done in the past- to expose false assertions and backwardness in order to advance human civilization through rationality and scientific study.

There can be no peace between rational and religious thought- it must be fought against.

Wrap Up

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens is an argument against religion.

His key message is that religions are manmade and rely on blind faith, meaning they can be dangerous to progress and free thought.

He answers the questions of why religious belief often leads to violence, intolerance and closed thinking; why scientific and religious approaches often conflict; and how we can tell that religion is a man-made phenomenon.

In conclusion, Hitchens summarizes his thesis by pointing out that freethinkers have been persecuted by religions but have also been inspiring forces for knowledge in history.

He believes that religion and science remain fundamentally incompatible, and that as long as religion exists it will try to impose itself on society – meaning it must be fought against.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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