The thing with this second chapter is that I could have written parts of it myself. It probably is the best written chapter though of the evils of religion and how religion does indeed poison everything. I have to freely admit that I enjoyed a good chunk of it because I have made the same observations over the years and in the same ways. I have a long history myself of slamming religious believers versus people who have faith because religious people are about using religion to justify actions or control others. Loving faith is about respecting the freedom and individuality of others.
A good example of how in sync Hitchens and me are in thought on certain issues is using 9/11 as an example. On that day religious people should not be proud at all. On the one hand you had Islamic Jihadists who were doing the will of Allah by crashing planes into buildings. On the other hand you religious leaders in this country spouting how it was indeed the judgment of God for America’s lax morality and abandonment of the Christian faith. In the midst of tragedy I found very few religious leaders doing anything but engaged in self-righteous mud-slinging. The same was true when Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of New Orleans. He cites many things from religious wars, current conflicts and other things to make one very big point of ‘religion poisons everything’. It is a point he is trying to establish very early in the book it seems.
Honestly, I could have written much of this chapter because I have the same problems with fundamentalism regardless of religious faith. The point where you take your religion so seriously that you need to kill or force others to believe the same as you is a point no one should ever cross but religion causes more people to cross that line than an other force. The downside of this chapter is so far it has not proved the title. God is Not Great is not proved in any way by the idea of ‘religion poisons everything’. Just because people who are religious are not great, it does not necessarily follow God himself is not great. It has significance at this point because if this is his ground work chapters for later discussion he really has not laid a premise on this God being Not Great at all. All he is really done is point out that religion sucks.
Next: A Short Digression on the Pig; or, Why God Hates Ham