In this book review, I will first describe the positive attributes of the author’s writing/message. Then I will discuss what I consider to be omissions regarding the undertones espoused.
In no uncertain terms, I respect the author’s candor regarding the subject of God. The research was more than genuine and the prose was prolific, although some parts of the book were nearly esoteric (some may need to consult an oxford dictionary). From incidents like the crusades (11th, 12th, and 13th centuries) and the jihad speak volumes about the atrocities done under the name of God or religion. I might make mention here that it is a downright shame concerning pedophile priests and what their evil has done to malign the name of God. It happens outside the so-called religious too, by the way.
Once again, the author rightly and accurately enumerates so many negative aspects of religion; be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam. In reading this book, one becomes quite convinced that religion does poison everything. Now let’s explore the other side of God and religion.
Regarding Christianity, the author seems to neglect the fact that the New Testament explicitly states that Judas Iscariot has been here since the beginning. What does that mean? Simply put, it means that impostors are always around, just like in every other sector of society. Also, the author neglects to mention the fact that God did not create religion. That is paramount.
In the biblical letter from James, that author clarifies what true religion really is. He says that, “pure and undefiled religion means to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Well, that doesn’t sound like poison, does it?
So now we’re back to how religion poisons everything. Mr. Hitchens is correct to say that “religion” indeed, poisons everything, but to leave out the term “man-made religion” puts his argument on thin ice. Once again I mention that this book is very well written and I give the author due credit for his informative research. However, the stereotypical portrayal of the word “religion” does not render any justice to those individuals who strive for the good of society.
I do believe the author’s intention in this book is honorable, and the question that arises from it is this: Is religion a positive or negative force? I reckon this depends on what type of religion you’re talking about.
You know science itself “religiously” holds that nothing can be accepted which cannot be proven in the laboratory as a fact, which means no doubts or reservations. One fact is for sure-God’s existence has never been proven inaccurate or obsolete. As far as the metaphysical is concerned, examine your conscience with “god is not great.” You will find that it is true that “man-made” religion does poison everything, but God himself is not mocked!
Do I recommend this book? Is it worth the read? Absolutely, but don’t forget to have an open mind and also read the biblical psalms and proverbs too for a parallel examination of reality.
P.S. I suppose that Mr. Hitchens knows that the world is full of wrongdoers and hypocrites, whether in places of worship or without, but where else could these poor souls turn to for healing?