You are hereGod Is Not Great - By Christopher Hitchens.

God Is Not Great - By Christopher Hitchens.

By Charles - Posted on 19 April 2010

As you might expect, God Is Not Great covers similar ground to The God Delusion – the irreconcilable internal inconsistencies, the absurdities, and the obviously dodgy origins of ‘scripture’, the ghastliness of some of the reported actions and principles of the alleged deity, the determination of religions to grab the young and vulnerable mind before it can acquire the habit of critical scrutiny, the use of fear and guilt to secure adherence, the callousness with which doctrinal orthodoxy is given automatic priority over common humanity, the insistence of ‘faith’ and mindless credulity at the expense of scientific and intellectual enquiry, the cynical deflection of the attention onto the hereafter to justify systematic abuse and exploitation in the here and now, the phoney claim that scripture is the basis of all human morality, the institutional infantilisation of the faithful, the tenacious defence of superstitions that are incomprehensible to the rational mind: all these are explored and exposed within Hitchens’ analysis.

But there is a difference in scope: Dawkins’ target is mainly Christianity, with a nod in the direction of Islam; Hitchens goes further afield, and discusses the affronts offered by religions that, in the West, have generally received a much less critical press. He reminds us that suicide bombing was pioneered by the Hindu Tamil Tigers, against the Buddhist Sinhalese who were conducting pogroms against them. The Buddhist God-Emperor Hirohito was the figurehead who validated the murderous imperial expansion of Japan into the Asian mainland. The doctrine of reincarnation and its role in the caste system means that social mobility in much of India is virtually impossible.

And there is a difference in tone. Dawkins is irritated, and dismissive, but generally polite. Hitchens is angry. Among other themes, he develops at length the Vatican’s accommodation with, and even enthusiastic welcome of, Fascism and Nazism, and, in spite of a smattering of more humanely inspired ‘Liberation Theology’, the almost automatic alignment of the Church with the brutal military dictatorships which for so long have dominated the Latin American political landscape.

But his greatest venom arises out of personal experience:

I once sat in the Knesset office of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, a vicious racist and demagogue among whose supporters the mad Dr Baruch Goldstein and other violent Israeli settlers were to be found. Kahane’s campaign against mixed marriages, and for the expulsion of all non-Jews from Palestine, that earned him the contempt of many Israelis and diaspora Jews, who compared his programme to that of the Nuremberg laws in Germany. … Sniffing this insanitary barbarian, I had a real pang about the world of light and colour that we had lost so long ago, in the black-and-white nightmares of his dreary and righteous ancestors. The stench of Calvin and Torquemada and bin Laden came back from the dank, hunched figure whose Kach Party goons patrolled the streets looking for Sabbath violations and unauthorised sexual contacts. … Here was a poisonous branch that should have been snapped off long ago, or allowed to die out, before it could infect any healthy growth with its junk DNA. But yet we still dwell in its unwholesome, life-killing shadow. And little Jewish children celebrate Hannukah, so as not to feel left out of the tawdry myths of Bethlehem, which are now being so hotly contested by the more raucous propaganda of Mecca and Medina

This is a visceral, passionate assault, infused with a love of the humanity that religion so often seeks to submerge.

Charles Baily.............



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