Christopher Hitchens Is Not Great

Hitchens poisons everything — and stoops to some innovative lows to make you think he’s brighter than he is — with his new book. Part 1 of Jeff Koopersmith's review of "God Is Not Great."

Oct. 5, 2007 — Geneva ( — I must tell you that the simple act of purchasing Christopher Hitchens’ newest book committing violence against God and religion (and everything that goes along with it) is at very least a squander of your hard-earned money and at best a very studied insult to the super-majority of people around the world who have at least some faith and strive to practice it. 

Of course, Hitchens only writes about topics sure to anger – but never sure to make one actually think. 

If he would stop writing in a manner certain only to secure his own infamy, he might end up being a moderately fine author.  Instead, he makes it clear that even he is aware of his lack of talent – even to punch God – and so, as always, relies on the work of others to bolster his case (whatever it may happen to be at any given time) – in order to surround himself with more deserving philosophers, commentators, and – most important to him – academics to whom he cannot even hope to compare.

He has not disappointed us in this respect with “God is not Great” (or, as our publisher waggishly called it, “God is Dead and I'm So Hung Over I Wish I Were Too”).

I state from the outset that I share Hitchens’ skepticism about gods and religions, but I do so most likely because of the men and women who are in charge of orchestrating our beliefs.  Religion has become a very big business, and is rife – even top-heavy – with interlopers, criminals, and non-believers who profit from those who do believe – or need to believe. 

Ignoring the need to believe is probably where Hitchens goes most wrong.  He virtually spits on those who have this necessity.  This is sad, for it works against his arguments and proves he is nothing more than another impostor seeking to earn more shekels by insulting and humiliating others rather than seeking an understanding of the ethereal and suggesting methods by which the topics of God and religion might become more digestible.  Naturally he dismisses this as his objection to being politically correct.

If you wish to disagree with Christopher Hitchens and allow that there is, or might be, a God, then he urges you to tell him that he has “sinned” in writing “God is not Great” and blame his teacher, as he requests. You see, when he nine years of age he had a teacher named Jean Watts.  She taught him about nature and scripture – that was her job and it, he claims, turned him it seems into a monster – not a deep thinker about God as he wants you to think.

Hokey? Yes. Effective? No. But typical.

Hitchens takes a simple statement, “How can anyone with an immense mind believe in God?”, and makes it into an intricately and badly woven mud wasp nest of sentences almost impossible to understand, replete with huge name-dropping of such shamelessness that he must certainly believe will bolster this attempt at nothing more than becoming more controversial and therefore more affluent.

Already Hitchens’ attack on God has risen to number four (or is it three?) on the New York Times Best Seller list.  Thus this swindle is working for him despite himself and most likely because America has become so dumb-downed by his Neocon heroes that they simply slurp over the pages and come to the conclusion that even though the author is wrong, he is rather droll. 

After all, this is Hitchens’ quest – to be taken seriously as a 21st Century intellect while amusing us with his less than pristine private life and his total incapability to make sense.

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