God is Not Great - an Appraisal  - Introduction


This is the Introduction Page for the appraisal of the contents

of Christopher Hitchens' book, God is Not Great.

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Why have I written?


Early in 2007 I became aware of Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, which had come out in 2006, and which was getting a lot of coverage in the media. A number of books came out by Christian authors countering the things in The God Delusion, but none of them went through it paragraph by paragraph. I determined to remedy that. While I was in the process of writing an Appraisal of that book, Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great came out in the States, and similarly received a lot of coverage in the media.


When I completed the appraisal of The God Delusion, it was natural to move on to God is Not Great. I have similarly been through this page by page. If you want my credentials you will find them in the former 'Appraisal' on this site.



How to Read these Pages

Having been through this book in detail, I recommend that before commencing with chapter 1, the reader goes through Appendix 1 first of all, so that you may be on the alert to the errors of the book. If you aren't completely sure of the Christian Faith and want to understand some of the key issues behind this book, then I also recommend you read Appendix 7 as well before you get into the book.

This is primarily for those who are about to read or have read God is Not Great but if you haven't or don't intend to read it, you may still find some significant value in reading through the Appendices which provide resources of understanding generally.



Hitchens is Right!


In the same way that I acknowledged those areas where I believe Dawkins was right, so I believe it is important to accept that the Church in the latter half of the second millennium has given him plenty to criticise. Yes, there have been a lot of people, under the flag of Christianity who have said and done things that simply embarrass those of us who are modern Christians. However, I think a further comment or two is worth making but I have made them in Appendix 2 Church and History



Hitchens is Wrong!


Just so that you will be clear from the outset I believe this book is utterly deceptive and utterly wrong and again, as with The God Delusion, I have created an Appendix that highlights the primary ways I believe this book is wrong. As I have said above you may find it helpful to read that Appendix before you read the book or before you read my notes, so you understand fully my complaint.


In some senses I believe this book is far more deceptive than Dawkins' God Delusion because the author writes so fast and fires in lots of direction at once. He also tends to drop snide negative comments all along the way, which have a habit of undermining the reader emotionally. In some ways it is less clear than The God Delusion and the content often isn't anything to do with the chapter titles given. I suspect a certain haste in putting it together so it came out on the wave of The God Delusion. Some of the arguments are remarkably similar suggesting a certain togetherness in the atheists' camp. Dawkins wrote a glowing review of this book but that merely reveals Dawkins' lacks that we have covered previously.


For the media to applaud this book merely shows the appalling ignorance of those journalists who support this one. It is a sad thing but we Christians have not done a good job in recent decades in educating the world to Christian beliefs.



A Health Warning!


I'm going to say it once here in this Introduction and I'll no doubt have to repeat it again and again as we go along, but the central flaw of atheists, such as this author, is to lump together all religious faiths and practices. I speak for Christianity alone, which has a number of staggering claims to uniqueness and which mark it out from any other so-called world religion. I wish such writers as this author would have the integrity to not make sweeping statements that apparently wish to include Christianity, when the truth is that those statements should be made in respect of other world religions who need to stand under the intellectual microscope on their own. If you want to fire on other world religions, fine! But please don't lump unique Christianity in with the rest; it only displays ignorance!




My source for this writing has been Christopher Hitchens' hardback copy of God is Not Great published in 2007 by Atlantic Books of London.



You will find in numerous places links to other parts of our two sites for those who with to check out or think further on specific issues. To return to the page in this book, please simply use your system's 'return' button.


Attack or Respect

There may be some Christians who would prefer me to be far more antagonistic in my rebuttals of the things Christopher says. As I commented in The God Delusion - An Appraisal,  I would prefer to respect the author and not demean him. To that end I have sought to curtail my feelings and limit what I say to more objective responses free from high emotional fervour. This has been, at some times, incredibly difficult, for the very title of the book is exactly the opposite of what I believe - that God IS Great. In some ways the title is very offensive but I would simply point out to my more upbeat friends that it is born out of lack of knowing. Feel sad, feel sorry for Christopher, pray for him by all means, but don't join in his derogatory style. It's not worthy of the One you say you love.


And So....

I have written this book, firstly, to help Christians be clear as to their faith, particularly in the face of the deceptive attacks that come, and then, secondly, for those who are about to read or have read God is Not Great, with the hope that you may read the book intelligently and with discernment. The truth is out there somewhere - maybe not in God is Not Great - but it is worth searching for and if anything written here can help you in that search, these pages will have been worth while. Enjoy!





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