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    Why we think it's Essential: Astute critic and biographer Christopher Hitchens comes out swinging in this—dare I say it—enjoyable discussion of religions worldwide. Believers and nonbelievers alike will find value in listening to this provocative book that comes at a time when people the world over are reeling from news of terrorist acts inspired by religious fundamentalism. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have trod this road in recent years, but it is Hitchens who achieves the most memorable exploration. – Corey Thrasher

    Description

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty of the double helix.
    ©2007 Christopher Hitchens (P)2007 Hachette Audio

    Commentaires

    "The best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos." ( Publishers Weekly)
    "Effortlessly witty and entertaining as well as utterly rational." ( Booklist)

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de God is Not Great

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    Commentaires - Veuillez sélectionner les onglets ci-dessous pour changer la provenance des commentaires.

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    • Global
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    Image de profile pour Ben Capozzi
    • Ben Capozzi
    • 13/11/2011

    ...Though Hitchens Is!

    Wow. I started reading this at 6am on a Saturday morning and could not stop until finished that evening.

    I've seen Hitchens before on news programs, and the man's opinions and intellect are irrepressible so I had some idea of what I was in for. Still, this book is just amazing. Bracing. Uncompromising. Informed. Secular.

    Hitchens' assault on Religion is without reprieve and may serve as a significant crossbeam in the structure of any atheist's mental architecture. I imagine that the faithful reading this to 'study up on the enemy' will find only things that make them very angry or uncomfortable. I do NOT think Hitchens will lead to any conversions; his style is far too abrasive. However, some folks do respond best to aggressive intervention.

    For me though, the best of this book is the clear breadth and depth of the author's mind. I simply cannot recall the last time I read anything so damned erudite. Agree or disagree with him, Hitchens is an amazing American intellectual.

    From here, I'm actually returning to one of Hitchens' cited authors, Bart Ehrman, whom I've explored only marginally before, but that is one of the real joys of this book –if you're a sincere explorer, Hitchens points out a dazzling number of fascinating areas on the map of human progress to explore yourself. Even if you don't accept his conclusions, you may be reminded of all those Enlightenment and earlier figures who form the dim constellation of our understanding that you glossed over in (perhaps graduate-) school, if at all. I'm certainly inspired to brush up.

    I love that this is narrated by Hitchins himself, which seems the best way to experience it. Those who feel they may need to recall and reference his arguments again may want a visual version in print or ebook format, but, especially now that esophageal cancer has taken his voice from him, I feel very fortunate (dare not say blessed!) to have this edition.

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    • Mark
    • 08/07/2015

    Hard not to be persuaded

    This is my fourth consecutive book dealing with an atheistic theme, and I enjoyed it as much as the other three (‘The God Delusion’, ‘On the Historicity of Jesus’ and ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’). It’s a very reasonable, well-argued discussion of religion looked at from many different angles.

    Christopher Hitchens, who here narrates his own work, has a reputation for being a pugnacious, controversial figure, one of the ‘Four Horsemen of Atheism’ and so I was expecting to find some of the material shocking or disagreeable, but I didn’t. It seemed to be mostly sensible and true, so I suppose I must already be a willing convert to this world view.

    He explains that religion arose in humanity’s infancy, when we had very little understanding of nature, when a deity was as good an explanation of lightning, volcanoes, sunrises and earthquakes as anything else on offer. Now science provides a much better explanation of these natural phenomena, but once religion has established itself, it is very hard to shake off. Young minds are indoctrinated with religious ideas, founded on fear, and then, in most cases, these beliefs persist through adulthood until death. Sometimes this is harmless enough, if people lead good lives and care about their fellow humans, but in many situations throughout history religion has caused repression, conflict and suffering.

    Each religion considers its own holy book to be the only true version of the creation story, while all others are heresies. In each case the story of the founding figures is based on a mish-mash of ancient documents which have very little historical credibility and are probably mostly fictional. And then these scriptures become the basis of a system of rigid rules dictating in minute detail how life must be lived; leading to harmful practices and beliefs such as female circumcision, the prohibition of contraception, the stipulation of the existence of hell, burning people at the stake and encouraging martyrdom (for the reward of 72 virgins), just a few examples of arbitrary edicts from dodgy ancient sources that have caused untold misery.

    The big three monotheistic religions have been around a long time, and they have pervaded all aspects of culture, art and literature to such an extent that they now have an aura of solemn authenticity and because of this long tradition they feel like the genuine article. But it is interesting to look at some recently formed religions to see how quickly they can spring up, based on bogus stories. The Mormon religion is a laughable case of a huckster, Joseph Smith, who wrote his own bible conveniently including prophets who had lived in the USA, yet this is now taken 100% seriously and is the founding document of a religious movement involving 15 million adherents. Haile Selassie and Rastafarianism provide another good example. Similarly, the ‘cargo cults’ that spontaneously cropped up in several Pacific Islands in the twentieth century offer an instructive model of how religions can form in a short time based on mythical figures (e.g. John Frum and Tom Navy), or unwitting real people (e.g. Prince Phillip), accepted as messiahs, who made no claims to having such status. It is not difficult to imagine that similar events may have occurred in antiquity to found the big three religions, in which case there should be no reason to be in awe of them.

    Hitchens summarises these and many other arguments very persuasively. He had an adventurous and exciting life as a foreign correspondent and he describes at first hand his experiences of some of the evils perpetrated in the name of religion. Perhaps he exaggerates with his mantra ‘religion poisons everything’ because, even if religious beliefs are unfounded, religion must nevertheless have given hope and consolation to many down the ages. Also, my own experience of many religious people is that they are happy and positive and lead good lives. So even if they are wrong about the existence of God, I don’t agree that it poisons absolutely everything. However, in general I found myself agreeing with Hitchens’ opinions and I found the book to be an excellent and enlightening listen.

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    • Robert
    • 25/11/2011

    Why read this book?

    So you've read Bertrand Russell's 1927 essay Why I Am Not a Christian and you're wondering why read Hichens? It's more than cold, hard logic about only Christianity. So you say you've read Sam Harris, The End of Faith and you're wondering the same thing? Well, Hichens is more than just about indicting Christians and really slamming Muslims. He's not so much about promoting atheism as Richard Dawkins as he is about promoting reasoned thought and critical thinking. Thinking that includes the unmasking of violence behind pacifist Buddhism which blew my socks off.

    And what about that mumbling narration by the author? Is it that bad? It really is. I would have thought that a book this good with so much to be proud of, the author would have taken more care to enunciate a little bit more clearly. So here is what I would recommend: wear earphones. I have Bose noise-canceling earphones that worked just fine. Listening in the car did not work at all. One of the best parts of the book, the author's wit, is lost in his endings of so many sentences into audible unintelligibility. The author has a beautiful voice and I loved listening to it... when I could hear it.

    So why read/listen to this book? It is just that good.

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Michael
    • 13/12/2009

    5-Star Writing. Perfect Author Narration.

    Okay, I'm officially angry--people have written reviews here claiming Hitchens's reading of his book is inaudible or full of mumbling. My fear is that you will read those reviews and decide on that point alone to eschew purchasing this book.

    Let me elucidate this for you: on perhaps 3 occasions in a book of more than 8 hours, Hitchens ends a sentence so quietly that its very hard to hear what he's saying. That's it. Juxtapose this non-issue with the insuperable benefit of having Hitchens read his own work. He knows just where to put the emphasis, where to sound incredulous. When he says "I" he really means it because its HIM talking. Couldn't have asked for a better reader. The book itself is plainly fascinating. Hitchens once said in an interview that one should read books which make one feel inadequate (in the positive intellectual sense). God Is Not Great is one of those books. Guaranteed to be one of the best credits you'll ever use. This book spurred me to research Hitchens and I discovered he is quite a remarkable man. The most impressive thing about Hitchens and his writing is probably his vocabulary. It's simply daunting and highly educational to listen to this book. And that's to say nothing of the immensely lucid, incisive, prescient and thoroughly convincing content of Hitchens's thesis that religion is man made and presents the greatest threat to the continuation of human prosperity. This is one of those "must read" books regardless of which side of the issue you fall on. Note: Make sure to complement Hitchens with Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Sam Harris (The End of Faith), both of whose major atheist texts are available in unabridged form on Audible, and both of which are as excellent, if not quite as succinct as Hitchens's book. For the best opposition view, read Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity?

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    • Dr.
    • 13/09/2012

    God May Not Be Great - But Hitchens Is

    If you are an atheist - or wonder if you are - this is an important and thoughtful book to let you know you are not alone and not alone in wondering why no one points out all of the ways that religion gets it so wrong. It is also important to note that Hitchens does not mock religion or the idea of god - in the way that Richard Dawkins does (e.g., in The God Delusion). He also isn't trying to gently speak to believers to help them see how harmful a strident religion can be the way Sam Harris does (e.g., in Letters to a Christian Nation). Instead, Hitchens thoughtfully and scholarly dissects and discards each of the main arguments for god and shows how they are used to attack non-believers and control society. His arguments are VERY compelling and well thought out - if you are open to the notion that god is a very interesting idea but not self-evident - and not the domain of any religious group and should not to be used to control society.

    To the extent that there is a downside - it is Hitchens himself. Yet again, Hitchens remind us why writers should never narrate their own books. Although a few writers can pull it off - Hitchens is not one of them. For much of the book I was straining to hear and to understand him. He seems to mumble and he trails off at the end of sentences. Although frustrating, it did not distract enough to undermine the significance of this book.

    6 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
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    • Carl
    • 07/02/2010

    Brilliant

    Christopher Hitchens is a brilliant man. In my personal opinion I can't think of another living human being who I would consider more intelligent. He is also an independent thinker. Those who know him, or come to know him will quickly realize that he holds a set of beliefs that are combined. For example, while he is against religion, he is also against abortion.

    I would highly recommend this audio book. It is read by Mr Hitchens. While some previous comments have pointed out that he occasionally doesn't do the greatest job, I think this is more than compensated for because you really get the feeling that your listening to him give a talk to a group of people.

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    • Global
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    • Cora Judd
    • 07/12/2008

    Clarifies ones thinking

    It's true, Hitchens may mumble and he speaks with a British accent. To allow this to obscure the important ideas that he explores is a mistake. If it's sound ideas you're after, God is Not Great has more than can be absorbed in a single reading. The book is more than worthy of the minor effort.

    I'm persuaded by God is Not Great that any good that religion may accomplish can be better achieved without religion and, conversely, the worst evils will arise from religious belief, as they always have.

    Hitchens strengthens my view of religious faith as a barrier to clear thinking. It was refreshing to see his clinical treatment of religion in America, something Americans can't seem to do. The Mormons are one of his examples. Few in the US either know enough or have the nerve to discuss Joseph Smith as the sexual predator and con man that history shows him to be, or analyze the timely "revelations" that have kept the Mormons clinging to the fringes of viability through the years. The Mormons are only one of the book's examples of how fast a religion can spring from a fertile mind and spread to infect millions. Hitchens makes a good case that we in America are uniquely susceptible to such charlatans (although England's new relationship with Islam would make equally fascinating reading).

    Those who are religious merely out of habit or a failure of introspection may be the ones to embrace the rationale of 'God is Not Great' most easily. The grimly devout will probably respond to Hitchens' ideas with the usual vitriol. They may rightly sense the inherent threat that such rational treatment of the 3 main religions' histories poses.

    I ended the book seeing that we're in a bit of a Dark Age and won't be free until the majority see religious thinking as the human invention that it is, and the devout minority are relegated to the same status as conspiracy theorists and UFO seekers.

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    • Alex MacDuff
    • 30/01/2020

    I am in awe at the popularity of this complete and utter claptrap.

    I started listening to this book on recommendation from an Atheist friend of mine. He and I got into a discussion, and he mentioned this book as a good place to start to understand his viewpoint. This is the mindset that I had approaching this book: I should listen to this in order to better understand him and the logical basis for his views. Unfortunately, every moment I have spent listening to this audiobook has been torture. Mind you, this is not due to the Author’s own lack of wit or a terrible command of the English language. Hitchens was quite witty and engaging, and his years of writing experience do indeed shine through, and his delivery of the audio version is quite good. My true frustration lies in the author’s completely sloppy and incompetent retelling of historical events, wherein he never lets up the slightest chance for a dig at religion, even if the dig is entirely unjustified.

    Before I go on, I have to be honest, I found myself completely unable to finish this recording. However, unless the last quarter of the book spend its time recanting the errors of the first 3 quarters, then I will be satisfied in spending my valuable time elsewhere.

    Back to the review, I have no problem with the occasional mistake, as we are all indeed very fallible and can never be expected to create anything close to a perfect polemic, but to constantly mix up basic facts about the very religions you seek to criticize is quite ridiculous. One of the most glaring examples that jumps to mind would be when Christopher Hitchens attempts to make the case that many other religions had the same Virgin birth story as Jesus. Not only is the overwhelming majority of these comparisons either generated out of thin air, or so mangled as to lose the original story completely; but the only two stories that have even a tangential resemblance (Perseus and Romulus/Remus) are twisted into a pretzel in order to justify the narrative Hitchens puts forth.

    He also has a habit of slipping in ridiculous comparisons and historical anecdotes that also have no bearing in reality. Did you know that the Spanish didn’t actually inherit the tradition of offering guests various appetizers in the form of dried meats and cheeses from the Romans, or just find it a nice thing to do? It was in fact started entirely by the inquisition in order to root out secret Muslims and Jews! If that sounds completely ridiculous, that is because it is, and only something that a man with complete bias would put forward as a serious charge. He also made the rather confusing claim that a sudden flood affecting only the area of Mesopotamia would somehow be more awe-inspiring than the earth itself opening up to engulf the entire world, leaving only one family as the survivors. I am equally perplexed at the claim that the conquests of the Muslim Caliphates are not as impressive as the conquests of Alexander. Alexander was able to complete his conquests in less time, this is true, but the Muslim Caliphate took on two of the strongest empires at the same time, ended up creating successor states that conquered more than double the land area of Alexander’s exploits, and these states were far more stable than the kingdoms left behind by Alexander.

    Again, I am not trying to be overly harsh. I understand including a few embellishments here and there for the sake of literary weight, or just because the stories are interesting. I, for example, am more than happy to recount the tale of St. Nicholas slapping the heretic Arias at the council of Nicaea. Is there good evidence for this pious legend? No, not at all, but it’s a fun story so I am happy to retell it, despite its major flaws. But to fill a project of this nature to the brim with such inaccuracies is to call into question the integrity of the research that went into this book that I hesitatingly refer to as a polemic.

    I expected better based on the reputation that Hitchens has been able to garner, but I am astounded by the sheer stupidity of this book. I think any atheist who unironically touts this as a source of solid argumentation does as much damage to their position as creationists do to the Christian position.

    TL;DR: This book, while written with Hitchens’ characteristic wit, is sloppy, incompetent, and not to be taken in any serious light whatsoever. I expect more from the atheist position, and wound up both frustrated and disappointed.

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Marcelo Vergara
    • 22/10/2007

    Excellent Listeing

    I very much enjoyed listening to this book. Never been a big fan of his but in this case I thought he had the goods on this subject. I think people on both sides of this topic should take time to listen or read this book as it provokeed a great deal of thought for me. I agree with him and my life experience brings me to the same conclusion. I recommend it!

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • John M.
    • 11/05/2007

    Hitchens is a very smart dude!

    Great book and I thought Hitchens narration made it even better. Those that say Hitchens should not have narrated his own book have it wrong. This book is written in typical Christopher Hitchens speak. Anyone else narrating it just wouldn't have been right as they broke the mold after Hitchens was born! LOL

    You do not have to be an atheist to enjoy the book. Just gives you another perspective. A+++

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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • kristof
    • 18/05/2015

    Brilliant book by a brilliant man

    Christopher Hitchens is as charming as he is right. His analyses are sharp and to the point, but with the necessary humour.

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    • Konstantin Frey
    • 15/12/2020

    Dens arsenal of arguments, beautiful language, optimizable audio

    The content is great. So many arguments and lines of thought always backed up by source.

    The language is beautiful. And I had to look up a lot of words for the high level of Englisch presented.

    However the thing that was annoying was the way it was read making it often hard to understand even at 0.7 reading speed. At times the authors felt like he was mumbling and was extremely hard to understand.
    I often head to crank up the audio level to max to understand while driving. As much as I love books being read by authors, in this case Someone with a clearer voice might better convey the excellent and important message of this book.

    Though a clear recommendation!!!

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    • Global
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    • olivert
    • 12/07/2014

    Tolles Buch, leider schlecht gelesen

    Welchen drei Worte würden für Sie God is Not Great treffend charakterisieren?

    Wahrheit tut weh.

    Was wäre für andere Hörer sonst noch hilfreich zu wissen, um das Hörbuch richtig einschätzen zu können?

    Ich habe einige Videos von Hitch gesehen (in verschiedenen Diskussionen) und habe ihn prima verstanden. Ganz anders dagegen als Vorleser seines eigenen Buches. Er leiert es in schlechtestem britischen Akzent herunter, dass es für mich teilweise extrem schwer war, ihm zu folgen.

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    • Edrin Kondi
    • 17/06/2020

    Simply enlightening

    One of the best books you'll ever read about the futility, anachronism, absurdity and barbarism of religion

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Peter
    • 09/06/2020

    Modernes religionskritisches Standardwerk

    Der 2011 verstorbene Hitchens ist sicher einer wichtigsten Religionskritiker des neuen Jahrtausends. Für die Fremdsprachler unter den Hörern wäre es aber wünschenswert gewesen, er hätte das Buch einem professionellen Sprecher überlassen. Seine betonungsarme nuschelnde Aussprache macht ihn schwer verständlich.

    • Global
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    • Felix Koch
    • 31/10/2018

    Exceptionally well researched

    Say what you want about Hitchens but one cannot deny his solid based arguments. It's the quintessentially difference between fundamentalist Christians and scientists.

    The only problem - may it be subjective - I have with this book is that it's not the easiest vocabulary for a none native English speaker. My level of understanding is between C1 and C2 university level and I was able to understand about 60 - 70 percent.

    Nevertheless, I can highly recommend this audiobook.

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    • Utilisateur anonyme
    • 27/05/2017

    Brilliantly researched, beautifully narrated

    This book, like anything from Christopher Hitchens, dazzles through its depth of insight and its beautiful, intricate language. As someone who loves to listen to Christopher Hitchens videos, hearing this book in his own voice was a special treat.

    • Global
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    • Hooded Crow
    • 10/12/2016

    Awesome!

    Interesting, full of useful information, brilliantly argued, written and read, as expected from the Hitch! A must read (or listen too) for everyone who wants to build an informed opinion about religion today.

    • Global
      2 out of 5 stars
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    • ankepanke
    • 09/03/2009

    schwer zu verstehen

    Ich lebe schon lange in Irland und habe kein Problem englisch zu verstehen, aber dieses Hoerbuch ist doch sehr anstrengend. Es ist sehr monoton und viel zu schnell vorgelesen und ich muss mich schon sehr konzentrieren um den sicher sehr interessanten Inhalt zu verstehen.

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    • Global
      1 out of 5 stars
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    • Tobias Baltus
    • 05/04/2013

    Diese unprofessionelle Lesung ist eine Zumutung!!!

    Der Text ist phonetisch kaum zu verstehen! Dieser Text ist für mich als "non-native speaker" total unbrauchbar! Ich bin wütend über das rausgeworfene Geld!!!

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