Monday, June 17, 2013

God Is Not Great

I just finished reading Christopher Hitchens' exhaustive catalog of the violence and oppression perpetrated by the great religions from antiquity to the present day, God Is Not Great.

The book's subtitle, How Religion Poisons Everything, would have been a more fitting title.

Hitchens was a well-read atheist, a free-thinker and a good man, I think. In his book, he made the case that morality does not depend on religion—just look at how religion itself has endorsed all manner of evil from genocide to slavery.

Too true.

If only Hitchens were still alive. I would have loved to see him give the same treatment to politics, which is becoming more and more like a religion and is proving to be just a divisive with so many all-or-nothing, no-compromise players in the game. (He was certainly aware of how cynical politicians have always known how to use religion—and the religious—to their advantage.)

Hitchens' book rightly promotes free inquiry and the scientific method. To him, the explanations offered by science were far more satisfying than those offered by religion. To me, science is great with the what and how of life but not so good with its ultimate meaning.

But there, I must admit, the explanations of the great religions aren't very satisfying either.

1 comment:

Mark Richardson said...

I've wondered if this book is worthwhile. Heard some mixed reviews. Thanks for this, Al.