Christopher Hitchens is a renowned Anti - theist in America and some might call him the leader of this so called anti-theism movement. For years now he has increased his creative “expert” opinions and criticism with a surge of anti-theistic tirades, and now this surge is being expressed in one copy, a complete mixture of God bashing and this is called God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.What is his idea? - It’s that we can live a moral and ethical life without religion and that religion has caused countless people to permit themselves to behave and act in unprincipled ways. Through reading this book it is clear to me that Christopher Hitchens point is not to prospect morality and ethics without the need of religion but to use this topic as an excuse to refute the existence of God.
This book has been written for two purposes and this to show that all religions have no purpose and to show that the effects of religion is just harmful to humanity. He argues these points through his experiences in which he says: “….Elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina, especially along the river Drina, whole towns were pillaged and massacred in what the Serbs themselves termed 'ethnic cleansing.' In point of fact, 'religious cleansing' would have been nearer the mark” (21). Hitchens succeeds in conveying that many faiths were cons and that many religious believers commit all sorts of terrible crimes. However, I was already convinced of these points and I thought Hitchens would touch on the roots of having religious experiences and spiritual awakenings which would most likely be the reason to people’s dedication to religion. He shows little interest in the topic of religion as it is truly experienced but rather commits himself to putting God in blame for the crimes against humanity.
In terms of morals and ethics, I am not persuaded that we can live an ethical moral life without religion. In fact many studies show that practicing religion can have an effect on our moral behaviour, one study displays that having religion or spirituality can have a positive impact on relationships, marital relationships and even child development. Annette Mahoney of Bowling Green State University states “These studies exemplify an emerging subfield called relational spirituality, which focuses on the ways that diverse couples and families can rely on specific spiritual beliefs and behaviors, for better or worse, to motivate them to create, maintain and transform their intimate relationships”(Mahoney, 2014). Hitchens also says by being religious we are being “sexually repressed” but most research shows that serious religious practice corresponds with lower rates of sexual diseases even with people who are already infected with HIV. I am not persuaded that by being religious we are being sexually repressed but in fact religion is merely teaching us to be safe and by being less sexually active we can ensure ourselves of being healthy.
I am unconvinced that hell and afterlife is the cause of people living in fear and thus not indulging in pleasure that life gives. The reason people believe in religion and the afterlife is because it gives us a sense of comfort, it gives us purpose. In fact studies show that there is a gene which is called VMAT2 that proves people who believe in religion live longer as a result of the benefits of the physical and psychological effects of being more positive. The way humans have evolved, we have been built to see patterns – for example if we were walking in an open forest and it completely quiet and there is a slight movement, we are able to know that something wrong is going to happen. So we humans usually detect patterns in our lives everyday. We instinctively think we are put on Earth for a purpose, and if we die, what would have been the point of our existence? It might seem completely mystical but our rationality is our emotions and our wants and that is that we are living in the afterlife and heaven or hell is the most reasonable place to go. Hitchens does not have facts to support his claims of hell and afterlife being non existent or the fear it gives us not to indulge in pleasure that life gives in fact it is quite the opposite. In the book, he quotes only quotes two religious Philosophers and thus doesn’t give evidence to what he is claiming.
As a reader, I am unpersuaded as many others would be because the truth of the matter is that we humans argue and debate and create fights over any little thing. This is not to excuse the crimes of people or religious believers but merely to say every human has good and bad running through them and to refute the belief in God for ruining humanity is just absurd to me. Hitchens could really mean what he debates but I stand by that Hitchens used this topic as an excuse to demolish the existence of God as he says that he only dislikes religion because “it won’t leave him well enough alone”.