A review of Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great: How Religions Poisons Everything
Religion, and its institutions can arguably be blamed for countless atrocities throughout history, such as the molesting of innocent children, the burning of women because they had cats (and possibly other horrendous crimes), the fall of democracies, genocides (yes, plural), plentiful wars, starvation, 9/11, Israel vs. Palestine, AIDS, … well, you get the idea.
No religion escapes Hitchen’s watchful eye and characteristically stingy British tongue. Of Muslim extremists and their motives he notes dryly that:
their problem is not so much that they desire virgins as that they are virgins (emphasis added).
Hitchens’ book is not only a history of religion, and a criticism of its claim to universal truth, but also an argument that all religion is man-made. Religion was created for man to dominate woman, for the powerful to subdue the masses or for the wealthy to control the poor.
“Religion is opium to the people,” is to be understood not as a criticism of religion, but as a statement about power, and how power necessitates the creation of instruments to ensure that those who have it, keep it.
God is an infinitely hypocritical figure, creating things to be desired, only to forbid its devouring. To create us as sexual beings, and make then sex a sin. To make foreskins, labia and clitorises and instruct our clergy to brutally cut them off.
Such is only a few of Hitchens’ numerous powerful criticisms of all of the world’s religions.
Finally, Hitchens asks the inevitable, what happens to our morale without religion? The short answer is: Since religion is man-made, human morale necessarily precedes religion.