Book Club – God Is Not Great

“Just to stay within the letter “B,” I have actually had that experience in Belfast, Beirut, Bombay, Belgrade, Bethlehem, and Baghdad. In each case I can say absolutely, and can give my reasons, why I would feel immediately threatened if I thought that the group of men approaching me in the dusk were coming from a religious observance.” -Christopher Hitchens from “God Is Not Great” after being asked if he would, if approached by a group of men, feel more or less safe to learn they were coming from a prayer meeting.

I mentioned before I wanted to start a virtual book club. My original aim was to get the book review up by noon, link to the others reviews, and then discuss in the comments. However, when I originally set the date, I forgot it was the day after Thanksgiving. Of course, my life has been nuts, lots of people are traveling, and generally no one is around.

So I’m going to put up my review, link to the others as I get them, and just keep everything open for commenting for the weekend. We’ll see how this works out. If it sucks, so be it. I’m still drinking my parents wine all weekend.

Christopher Hitchens‘ “God Is Not Great” was selected because of the conversation on Twitter about the book between @HDW and @dmfarley. I had previously read the book, so I reread and took some notes for today. I’m not going to do a “review.” I want to participate in a discussion, not just have a bunch of people skim through me blabbering on about whether or not I like a book.

First, does Hitckens do a good enough job separating between religion and culture? He mentions the atrocities committed between religious groups in Serbia and Iraq. Would those atrocities be committed regardless of religion? Human beings certainly don’t need religious differences to hate one another, they are perfectly capable of doing that over ethnic, nationality, or gender differences.

Secondly, does Hitchens point about the absurdity of religion disprove God? Or merely religion?

Finally, is Hitchens too abrasive to reach people? To reach a wide audience?

Further readings on the subject (just a few I like):

Nothing: Something To Believe In by Nica Lalli
Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

What are your thoughts?

Edit: HDW’s post is up here.

Edit 2: Brit’s post is up here.

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