G is for God is Not Great

CheneyBlogging Challenges2 Comments

godnotgreatIn the tradition of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris’s The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope’s awesome view of the universe and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix. – from Goodreads.com

Religious folk of the uptight variety: you won’t want to read this post.

For those of you out there who are atheist, or questioning your beliefs, or are an agnostic like myself, read on, because this book just be a good one for you.

I read this ages ago when it was first released in hardcover. At the time I was going through this thing with my daughter’s grandmother – the thing is, she is a bible thumping born again Christian Tea Party Patriot and she kept trying to force her religion and politics on my daughter. Not cool. There’s a good chance that about 50% of the reason I purchased this book was just so I could carry it around with me for a few weeks to piss her off, but at any rate, I read it cover to cover and agreed with pretty much every word.

First of all, the book has nothing to do with God being or not being great. The title is very misleading. The author is trying to explain why organized religion is not great, and that is an idea I can get behind.

I call myself an agnostic because I haven’t made up my mind whether I believe there is or isn’t a God, and the reason I’m 32 without my mind made up is that I pretty much don’t care either way. Even if I did decide to believe in God, I would never want to join a religion. There’s only one big reason why, and it also happens to be the gist of why I liked this book so much.

So we have tons of different religions on planet Earth, right? We’ve got Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Taoists, etc, and so on and so forth, flying spaghetti monster. You know what all of them believe? That THEIR God is the one true god. That THEIR religion is the one true religion.

Clearly we billions of people on the planet are having a hard time trying to decide which God and religion are true…. so what does that lead to?

War.

Prejudice.

Intolerance.

Hate.

If only one can be right, everyone else is wrong…. right? How do people live like that?!

People will argue – people DO argue – that they are loving and peaceful and giving, and accepting of all people, rich, poor, lame or gay, just like Jesus, or whatever. Yes. PEOPLE can be that way. Organized religions ARE NOT that way.

Did I post this to argue? No. I hope no one will. I hope that you will all just open your eyes wide and your hearts even wider, and just love and love and love. No one needs a religion for that.

This year I’m participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge and my theme is: My Favorite Books from A-Z

2 Comments on “G is for God is Not Great”

  1. I haven’t read this book, but I would agree with the premise that organized religions are responsible for lots of really terrible stuff — ironic, since at the core, religion is supposed to be about teaching LOVE.

    Honestly, the only religion I could really get behind is Buddhism, in the sense that the current Dalai Lama preaches: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

    People can twist things any way they like, but that’s a message I believe in, and it doesn’t require belief in any one or many gods.

    1. I agree – I think Buddhism and Taoism are the only ways I would ever be able to conform to widely held beliefs or philosophies. I am perfectly content believing in myself for just now – and believing in MY truth, which is that I don’t know much for sure at all, and that is perfectly okay.

Feel like sharing some thoughts?