I picked up and read most of the New York Times bestseller God is Not Great. Not a book I am endorsing, by any means… but the book is getting a lot of attention, and I wanted to know what God-related opinions are being injected into the public knowledge.
If you were thinking of reading this book out of curiosity, let me save you some time. In fact, I decided to blog about this read because of Christopher Hitchens’ two pillars upon which his anti-religion argument rests… I think there is a great message here for Jesus followers.
The first pillar is the literal/scientific/circumstantial attack on the "facts" of Christianity (to be fair, Mr. Hitchens doesn’t only disparage Christianity, but it DOES receive a majority of his focus). I would love to put Mr. Hitchens and Lee Strobel in a room together… just to watch the fireworks. Most of these arguments, including citation of textual variance in Scripture, etc., have been stated, covered, refuted, restated, ad nauseam, by other authors over many years. Little new ground here, and most of his arguments have been answered by someone in recent books.
The second pillar was much more intriguing to me. Mr. Hitchens attempts to illustrate (and does a pretty good job, I might add) the difference in behavior between what the major world religions hold up as an ideal, and what most religious people actually act like. His thesis, as best I understood it, is that since (in his opinion) hardly anyone TRULY lives out the religious beliefs of their faith, but all seem to adopt the judgmental, segregating mentalities of religion, religion ends up causing a negative net effect on society (hence the title of the book). What a powerful reminder that my actions impact others in ways I can’t even imagine. This speaks directly to the heart of all Jesus followers to make sure that our primary objective in life is to look as much like Jesus as possible while loving the world like He did.
I have to wonder how Mr. Hitchens has reacted/would react to a non-religious follower of Jesus… someone who has left the fundamentalism, judgmentalism, and arrogance of religion behind. I pray that we have a chance to find out.