September 10th, 2007

reading, activism, writing

Book # 36: god is not Great, by Christopher Hitchens

As I stepped off the subway car in Union Square, a man came up behind me. "Hitchens lost it a long time ago," he said. I turned to see a tall dark man with extremely cool horn-rimmed glasses smiling at me.

I held up the yellow-jacketed book I was carrying, god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

"Well," I said, "I'm having trouble finishing the book because he seems to be so disrespectful to believers, while claiming he isn't. He's belligerent and I don't think he needs to be. However, the book's full of great information about various religions and their contradictions. I've never taken the time to learn stuff like that."

In the book, Hitchens makes the argument that science has provided many more answers than it had at the time of the formation of these religions. That knowledge has vanquished many of the mysteries they were based on.

"Yes," said the tall man. "But he's got a polemic mixed up with a exposé."

And that's it. The problem with this book is that Hitchens is raging when he could just be coolly building his case. I can't argue with the breadth of his knowledge, but his anger gets in the way of his argument.

The book is meant to ruffle every religion's feathers and it does. But a truly subversive tome? It is not.