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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything is a 2007 book by author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, in which Hitchens criticises religion.It was published by Atlantic Books in the United Kingdom as God Is Not Great: The Case Against Religion.
His commentary focuses mainly on the Abrahamic religions, although it also touches on other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.He goes on to discuss people who become atheists, saying that some are people who have never believed, whereas others are those who have separately discarded religious traditions.He also asserts that atheists who disagree with each other will eventually side together on whatever the evidence most strongly supports.He briefly discusses why human beings have a tendency towards being "faithful" and argues that religion will remain entrenched in the human consciousness as long as human beings cannot overcome their primitive fears, particularly that of their own mortality.He ends by saying that he would not want to eradicate religion if the faithful would "leave him alone," but ultimately they are incapable of this.He also writes about the events following the September 11 attacks, describing how religion, particularly major religious figures, allowed matters to "deteriorate in the interval between the removal of the Taliban and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein." Hitchens writes that this proscription is not just Biblical or dietary.
He reports that even today, Muslim zealots demand that the Three Little Pigs, Miss Piggy, Piglet from Winnie-the-Pooh and other traditional pets and characters be "removed from the innocent gaze of their children." Hitchens proposes that the prohibition against pork found in Semitic religions may be based in the proscription of human sacrifice, extended to pigs because of the similarities in appearance and flavor between pork and human flesh.
He then criticises the Jewish ritual of circumcision that would have him "take a baby boy's penis in my hand, cut around the prepuce, and complete the action by taking his penis in my mouth, sucking off the foreskin, and spitting out the amputated flap along with a mouthful of blood and saliva", and denounces the traditional African practice of female genital mutilation.
In this chapter, Hitchens addresses a hypothetical question he was asked on a panel with radio host Dennis Prager: if he were alone in an unfamiliar city at night, and a group of strangers began to approach him, would he feel safer, or less safe, knowing that these men had just come from a prayer meeting?
Hitchens answers, Just to stay within the letter 'B', I have actually had that experience in Belfast, Beirut, Bombay, Belgrade, Bethlehem and Baghdad. I would feel immediately threatened if I thought that the group of men approaching me in the dusk were coming from a religious observance.
He gives detailed descriptions of the tense social and political situations within these cities, which he personally experienced and attributes to religion.
He has thus "not found it a prudent rule to seek help as the prayer meeting breaks up." He goes on to criticise several public figures for laying the blame for the incident on Rushdie himself.