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Here, for the first time, in his new book The Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, chronicles his personal journey through disbelief into a committed Christian faith. With unflinching openness and intellectual honesty, Hitchens describes the personal loss and philosophical curiosity that led him to burn his Bible at prep scho Here, for the first time, in his new book The Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, chronicles his personal journey through disbelief into a committed Christian faith. With unflinching openness and intellectual honesty, Hitchens describes the personal loss and philosophical curiosity that led him to burn his Bible at prep school and embrace atheism in its place. From there, he traces his experience as a journalist in Soviet Moscow, and the critical observations that left him with more questions than answers, and more despair than hope for how to live a meaningful life. With first-hand insight into the blurring of the line between politics and the Church, Hitchens reveals the reasons why an honest assessment of Atheism cannot sustain disbelief in God. In the process, he provides hope for all believers who, in the words of T. S. Eliot, may discover the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.


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Here, for the first time, in his new book The Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, chronicles his personal journey through disbelief into a committed Christian faith. With unflinching openness and intellectual honesty, Hitchens describes the personal loss and philosophical curiosity that led him to burn his Bible at prep scho Here, for the first time, in his new book The Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, chronicles his personal journey through disbelief into a committed Christian faith. With unflinching openness and intellectual honesty, Hitchens describes the personal loss and philosophical curiosity that led him to burn his Bible at prep school and embrace atheism in its place. From there, he traces his experience as a journalist in Soviet Moscow, and the critical observations that left him with more questions than answers, and more despair than hope for how to live a meaningful life. With first-hand insight into the blurring of the line between politics and the Church, Hitchens reveals the reasons why an honest assessment of Atheism cannot sustain disbelief in God. In the process, he provides hope for all believers who, in the words of T. S. Eliot, may discover the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

30 review for The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rod

    Thank you Peter for writing a book like this. I doubt it will open many peoples eyes to the danger of a society without the morality and love of Jesus. But maybe a few will stop and think for a moment. I think this book will be confusing for many people who lump all of religion as a goodness on humanity. Sorry, but all religions are not the same. All sects of Christianity are not the same. Even Christians who go to the same church and listen to the same Bible and Pastor are not the same. Here's w Thank you Peter for writing a book like this. I doubt it will open many peoples eyes to the danger of a society without the morality and love of Jesus. But maybe a few will stop and think for a moment. I think this book will be confusing for many people who lump all of religion as a goodness on humanity. Sorry, but all religions are not the same. All sects of Christianity are not the same. Even Christians who go to the same church and listen to the same Bible and Pastor are not the same. Here's why this is dangerous and applies to Peter's book: Everyone wants to have their opinion on what's best for the world spread throughout all the globe. Every belief system thinks "If only everyone knew and followed what I know..." the world would be a perfect place. This is dangerous thinking and has been proven to not work (especially by Peter's journeys). Here's how true Biblical Christianity is different: The Bible says the nastiness of humanity is going to win. The majority of the world will turn against Christian beliefs. Christians are NOT going to win - until Heaven. Every other religion actually kinda believes they are going to win and the world will oneday be theirs. That means that their beliefs are worth fighting for and inflicting (if possible) on mass society for the good of all. But from the research ive done and the chats i've had with numerous New-atheists and Muslims: the ball is rolling for these two forces to have their way forced upon everyone. Christians should not be even interested in this world. God gave it to Satan for a time. We are to do the best we can and love everyone. This world is not our to conquer. The last book of the Bible tells it all. I have a feeling this is the beginning of the end. Peter's book seems to show that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    This was a very fine book. Peter hit it out of the park, or whatever it is you do in cricket.

  3. 5 out of 5

    D.M. Dutcher

    Not good at all. It's 50% a lackluster spiritual biography of how Peter Hitchens became Christian, and 50% a combination of very brief arguments against atheism and a lot of talk about the Soviet Union. The biography part just isn't that good. It's fairly brief, spends time meandering about what a bad 12 year old he was, and doesn't really list any real spiritual influences from people. It's really all about him, and it's dull. It's kind of an aimless circling to faith done really without any mem Not good at all. It's 50% a lackluster spiritual biography of how Peter Hitchens became Christian, and 50% a combination of very brief arguments against atheism and a lot of talk about the Soviet Union. The biography part just isn't that good. It's fairly brief, spends time meandering about what a bad 12 year old he was, and doesn't really list any real spiritual influences from people. It's really all about him, and it's dull. It's kind of an aimless circling to faith done really without any memorable input by others. The few interesting things tend to center around him being a foreign correspondent, but oddly he is much too brief on them. The atheism part isn't either. I'm not a fan of modern atheism: I can be described as a lapsed Christian and a fellow traveler of that faith. But the latter part talks much more about Communist Russia really than argues against atheism. It felt like someone trying to argue Christianity is bad solely from the Spanish Inquisition, which he then goes on to describe in middling detail. He's no Robert Conquest, sometimes barely giving a page to a facet of his argument. It's sophomoric debate, mostly because modern atheists are really different from them as much as modern fundamentalists are different than Savronola. Both are reactive and committed to upholding truth over political and legislating it. It may seem not, but the media tends really to overblow efforts by both sides when they do react. He also throws some pointless jibes about Neocons and the Iraq war. They are pointless because they have nothing to do with either atheism or his spiritual formation, but since he is a Eurocon, he has to throw them in. Honestly, I think all the five star reviews here are expressing solidarity over reviewing the quality of the book. For a real book like this, G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy manages to be an excellent spiritual journey, and some devastating arguments against atheism that are fresh and unusual even now. This book simply isn't very good at either of its aims.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Greenlee

    Peter Hitchens, the brother of famed atheist polemicist Christopher Hitchens, tells the story of his personal journey to faith in the pages of The Rage Against God: How atheism led me to faith. This story is a fascinating and brilliantly written one, and well worth reading. That is not to say it is a perfect book. Far from it. It strikes me that Peter is definitely of the same seed as his brother, and at times The Rage Against God can certainly descend into polemic mirroring his brothers, though Peter Hitchens, the brother of famed atheist polemicist Christopher Hitchens, tells the story of his personal journey to faith in the pages of The Rage Against God: How atheism led me to faith. This story is a fascinating and brilliantly written one, and well worth reading. That is not to say it is a perfect book. Far from it. It strikes me that Peter is definitely of the same seed as his brother, and at times The Rage Against God can certainly descend into polemic mirroring his brothers, though always filled with more charity. I do not think this book is the sort that would persuade anyone to faith, nor, in fact, does Peter. This is his story, and when it focuses on that it is at its strongest. As such, the beginning section where Peter tells his own story, and the final section where he reflects closely on the case of Soviet Russia (a world he lived in for quite some time as a reporter) are the best parts of the book. In the middle, Peter goes through a rapid-fire examination of some of the more famous arguments of the "New Atheists," and while it is interesting I doubt it could change anyone's mind. The personality that comes across in the book also varies. At times, Peter seems the compassionate prophet, concerned deeply with the decay he has seen progress in his society during his lifetime, targeting genuine problems and weeping for his nation. At other times, Peter can come across as an old cranky man complaining about this new-fangled modern art. But in the end, reading this book, I find myself quite likely Peter, and his command of prose is to be envied. I also share with Peter his largest concern, the fear over the totalitarian nature of the New Atheist rhetoric. On my good days, I like to think the best of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and their ilk. I don't believe they have any desire to harm the religious, though they certainly seem to fear us. Yet, their language carries with it the seeds of just such injustice. The world is broken, they rightly say, and it could be made better if only religion were gone. Of course, religion is not something that stands on its own, religion is only there because of the religious, and so they are the ones in the way of utopia. That is, as Peter points out, always the language of bloody revolutions, "the world would be perfect if only these people were gone." Again, I do not think Dawkins or the elder Hitchens want this, nor do I think Peter believes they do, but it's only a matter of time until the language they use inspires someone to think in just such a way. So, pick up this book if your interested in the heart and journey of a man so close to one of the vanguards of the New Atheist movement. In many ways, Peter is man Christopher might have been had he taken a different road. Don't expect to be persuaded one way or another on the questions he addresses, but enjoy the exploration of the man's heart and his skill with words.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    This bizarrely frames his position as a declaration that there is a god, it is his version and we ( at least christopher) was mad at it. I am as mad at his god as i am mad at at Thor for the thunder, sigh. The supra (?) title /header "how atheism led me to faith" is problematic 1- sheep / dog language, being led is passive unthinking. Atheism if there was such a thing would be sad to see somebody following imaginary gods in the first place LOL. Rather stupid, i am having a bad feeling about this This bizarrely frames his position as a declaration that there is a god, it is his version and we ( at least christopher) was mad at it. I am as mad at his god as i am mad at at Thor for the thunder, sigh. The supra (?) title /header "how atheism led me to faith" is problematic 1- sheep / dog language, being led is passive unthinking. Atheism if there was such a thing would be sad to see somebody following imaginary gods in the first place LOL. Rather stupid, i am having a bad feeling about this, he mostly cones across as a nice guy but i think there are moments of homophobia and anti women's rights / abortion hints already. Some bland waffle about communists are evil therefor god exists or something (?) Read this in four hours which I would rather have back. Like reading cotton wool. Homophobic, anti women's rights, shallow, poor thinker, functionally a deluded person who speaks nicely but would throw you off the team if you don't go by his rules. Library book fortunately, would be a waste of money to buy. ^ two minute review, to do a full review would take me hours and yet the homeboy team would still cheer this lightweight on regardless.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karol Gajda

    I had high hopes for Christopher Hitchens' brother. If nothing else, I expected some kind of unique approach to the faith vs atheism argument. What I got was nothing of the sort. In Chapter 1 he admits that as a youngster he was an atheist because, "I haughtily scorned those adults who, out of alarm, concern, love, or duty, sought to warn or restrain me." "I was engaged at the time in a full, perfect, and complete rebellion against everything I had been brought up to believe." In other words, he was I had high hopes for Christopher Hitchens' brother. If nothing else, I expected some kind of unique approach to the faith vs atheism argument. What I got was nothing of the sort. In Chapter 1 he admits that as a youngster he was an atheist because, "I haughtily scorned those adults who, out of alarm, concern, love, or duty, sought to warn or restrain me." "I was engaged at the time in a full, perfect, and complete rebellion against everything I had been brought up to believe." In other words, he wasn't an atheist, just a rebellious little shit. He goes on in a later chapter to state that he is only a Christian due to fear, essentially of the unknown. But the real premise of this book is that atheism equals Communism. I'd estimate that 50% of The Rage Against God is a rage against Communism, and a misrepresentation of Communism as atheism. Again, I expected more from Christopher Hitchens' brother.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Genni

    This book isn't bad, but I think most of what he says has been treated elsewhere more coherently. The first half of the book is supposed to be autobiographical, his journey from atheism to Christianity. However, there is SO much social and political commentary that the threads of his journey are lost in the flood. Also prevalent is, what I am going to start terming, "Christian Pessimism". This worldview is, in my humble opinion, one of the very reasons Peter has cause to moan the "decline of Chri This book isn't bad, but I think most of what he says has been treated elsewhere more coherently. The first half of the book is supposed to be autobiographical, his journey from atheism to Christianity. However, there is SO much social and political commentary that the threads of his journey are lost in the flood. Also prevalent is, what I am going to start terming, "Christian Pessimism". This worldview is, in my humble opinion, one of the very reasons Peter has cause to moan the "decline of Christianity". If the world is going to hell in a handbasket, what reason have we to try? Christians everywhere are backing off, and this kind of pessimism does nothing to encourage them to take up the arms of love and good deeds again., to change the world, so to speak. The second half of the book is a bit more cohesive. He attacks three failed arguments of atheism. As mentioned above, one of them, the issue of atheism and morality (or lack thereof), has been treated elsewhere more thoroughly. The other two deal with anti-theistic claims about religion/atheism and political states and wars. This is where Peter was at his best. Although his general comments about religion and wars have been addressed elsewhere, he offers a close-up perspective from his time as a journalist in communist Russia (at one point he was even a socialist sympathizer), arguing pretty effectively that Atheist states ARE, in fact, atheist and that conflicts fought in the name of religion are not always about religion. This is contrary to his brother's claims that Stalin's regime was actually a theistic regime and that religion is the cause of all conflict. Overall, a good read, but if I were to recommend an apologetics book to someone, I would send them elsewhere.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dinochunks01

    Paid twenty five cents at the employee book sale last autumn. I thought it would be a recommendation for my son who is living a faith based life while finding and growing his talents. I ended up reading it myself as my life appears to be undergoing some crises. I appreciate Mr. Hitchen's background and can relate to his early beliefs and values. I was aspiring to atheism, going only so far as a sincere agnosticism. Everyone knows the joke about Agnostics being too cowardly to be Atheists. I am r Paid twenty five cents at the employee book sale last autumn. I thought it would be a recommendation for my son who is living a faith based life while finding and growing his talents. I ended up reading it myself as my life appears to be undergoing some crises. I appreciate Mr. Hitchen's background and can relate to his early beliefs and values. I was aspiring to atheism, going only so far as a sincere agnosticism. Everyone knows the joke about Agnostics being too cowardly to be Atheists. I am reexamining the Cristian faith, in large part to my son's friends. I see the "center" that their faith seems to provide them active exercise of their intelligence and talents; compassion and fellowship; in short, hope for the future. I am rereading Hitchen's responses to three atheistic arguments. I was more swayed by his observations and "epiphanies" earlier in the book,as opposed to the call for a return to conservative Christianity he declares in the final pages of the book. It has been a compelling and personal journey of exploration for me. Thank you, Christopher Hitchens!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Broussard

    Peter Hitchens can write. His prose in this autobiographical journey from atheism to faith is at times elegant, precise, poignant, poetic, mystical and melancholy, and is almost universally exquisite. This book was like candy. Yes, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly," but it's so refreshing to encounter someone that does it well. Here are a few samples of what I mean. "It is my belief that passions as strong as his are more likely to be countered by the unexpected force of poetry, which c Peter Hitchens can write. His prose in this autobiographical journey from atheism to faith is at times elegant, precise, poignant, poetic, mystical and melancholy, and is almost universally exquisite. This book was like candy. Yes, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly," but it's so refreshing to encounter someone that does it well. Here are a few samples of what I mean. "It is my belief that passions as strong as his are more likely to be countered by the unexpected force of poetry, which can ambush the human heart at any time." "It was illustrated with soppy pictures of Christ looking--in C. S. Lewis's potent sneer at stained-glass sentimentality--"like a consumptive girl." "Unlike Christians, atheists have a high opinion of their own virtue." "There were other things too. During a short spell at a cathedral choir school (not as a choirboy, since I sing like a donkey) I had experienced the intense beauty of the ancient Anglican chants, spiraling up into chilly stone vaults at Evensong... The prehistoric, mysterious poetry of the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis, perhaps a melancholy evening hymn, and the cold, ancient laments and curses of the Psalms, as the unique slow dusk of England gathers outside and inside the echoing, haunted, impossibly old building are extraordinarily potent. If you welcome them, they have an astonishing power to reassure and comfort. If you suspect or mistrust them, they will alarm and repel you like a strong and unwanted magic, something to flee from before it takes hold." "My own confirmation, by contrast, was a miserable modern-language affair with all the poetic force of a driving test..." "Utopia can only ever be reached across a sea of blood." "The delusion of revolutionary progress, and the ruthlessness it justifies, survives any amount of experience." So yeah, I was fond of this book. But more than just his voice when writing, his organization and progression through his experience and his understanding of the surrounding events is clear and extremely insightful. It is, in a word, a delightful book: it is not often that a book on this type of topic this feels more like a reward than a duty, but this is that rare one, and I highly recommend it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This book provides a first-hand, eye-opening perspective on how the elimination of religion from the public sphere, and especially the forcible attempt to remove religion from society altogether has been detrimental, if not devastating, to society. Whereas religious persecution by the Church can be and has been tempered over time by conscience and a calling to account of the fundamental call for love of neighbor, attempts to create an atheistic utopia have proven several times over to be a much This book provides a first-hand, eye-opening perspective on how the elimination of religion from the public sphere, and especially the forcible attempt to remove religion from society altogether has been detrimental, if not devastating, to society. Whereas religious persecution by the Church can be and has been tempered over time by conscience and a calling to account of the fundamental call for love of neighbor, attempts to create an atheistic utopia have proven several times over to be a much more ruthless and intolerant form of persecution, tempered only by failure and fueled by the hope of doing it better next time. Hitchens compellingly illustrates the effect on human society of both the relatively peaceful deconstruction of religion in Britain as well as the forcible and bloody attempt to eradicate religion from the minds, hearts, and memories of the people of Russia after WW II. Hitchens's perspective as a journalist and former atheist is both personal and powerful. Very glad I read this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Peter Hitchens: The Rage Against God Part response to his brother, Christopher Hitchens, atheism book, this is also Hitchens testimony, an spiritual autobiography, if you like. Hitchens meshes his own story from childhood "christian" formality, through atheism and Trotskyism, to his regained faith and return to Christianity, to a social commentary on the spiritual decline of Britain. Numerous insights on the spiritual degradation of our nation and culture abound, as well as apt commentary on our p Peter Hitchens: The Rage Against God Part response to his brother, Christopher Hitchens, atheism book, this is also Hitchens testimony, an spiritual autobiography, if you like. Hitchens meshes his own story from childhood "christian" formality, through atheism and Trotskyism, to his regained faith and return to Christianity, to a social commentary on the spiritual decline of Britain. Numerous insights on the spiritual degradation of our nation and culture abound, as well as apt commentary on our post-war nationalism as a kind of pseudo-replacement for Christianity. This is an unusual apologetic, at once personal, autobiographical, aesthetic and political. It is well written, passionate and sincere. The new atheists have to answer: (1). why has the atheistic project of the 20th Century, The Soviet Union, and its copies, always led to tyranny and cultural death? (2). How can atheism account for moral absolutes and aesthetic values?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A bit heavy on English history (but not necessarily in a bad way), extremely thought-provoking, not as detailed about his conversion as I would like, witty and sparkling prose - an overall good read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Malin Friess

    Two Brothers who set fire to their Bibles in Parochial School (Peter and Christopher Hitchens)...Christopher the Prominent Antitheist (He doesn't just disbelieve in God (Atheism)..he believes (Antitheism) any Religion destroys human freedom, creates wars, and all religion should be replaced with science. Christopher is the author of best seller God is not Great. Both attended private Christian Schools as children in England together. Both abandoned their faith. Peter returned to his faith strangl Two Brothers who set fire to their Bibles in Parochial School (Peter and Christopher Hitchens)...Christopher the Prominent Antitheist (He doesn't just disbelieve in God (Atheism)..he believes (Antitheism) any Religion destroys human freedom, creates wars, and all religion should be replaced with science. Christopher is the author of best seller God is not Great. Both attended private Christian Schools as children in England together. Both abandoned their faith. Peter returned to his faith strangly enough at an art museum staring up at the painting of the Last Judgement. (I peered at the naked figures fleeing the pit of hell...I gaped, my mouth actually hanging open. They were me...I did not have a religious experience..but I had a sudden strong sense of religion being a thing of the present.) From the title I expected a personal account of a highly educated atheist refinding his faith. A good portion of this book was filled with British politics and history of the Church of England. For that I only give it 2 stars. Christopher died of esophageal cancer in 2011 most likely related to his chain-smoking habit. He died continuing to decry anything from God to circumcision to conservatism. Peter debated Christopher in Grand Rapids in 2008. Sadly, they never got a long and were never able to reconcile despite their religious and philosophical differences.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I had a chance to hear Peter Hitchens on the radio a few months back and finally picked up the book. I appreciated how deeply personal it was. I wasn't interested in reading something about how to discuss anti-theism with your anti-theist family/friends. And I liked that P.H. didn't presume to speak for all anti-theists. He speaks for himself, clearly outlining the changes in post-WWII Europe society that he felt influenced his development. The last portion of the book is a bit less personal in n I had a chance to hear Peter Hitchens on the radio a few months back and finally picked up the book. I appreciated how deeply personal it was. I wasn't interested in reading something about how to discuss anti-theism with your anti-theist family/friends. And I liked that P.H. didn't presume to speak for all anti-theists. He speaks for himself, clearly outlining the changes in post-WWII Europe society that he felt influenced his development. The last portion of the book is a bit less personal in nature and more an answer to some of the top anti-theist claims, including the claim that molestation by a religious figure is less damaging to a child than being exposed to the religion itself. I plan to recommend it to my family and friends who are active in their faith, whether that is as a Christian, agnostic, atheist or anti-theist.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John

    Hitchens counters the arguments of 'the new atheists,' including his brother, in this compelling book. Hitchens writes how he moved from being an outspoken Trotskyite Atheist to an orthodox Christian. He spends most of his time arguing how we all got to these state of affairs and then demonstrating the logical conclusions of the new atheists and their argument that raising children to be religious is 'child abuse.' I highly recommend this book! Hitchens counters the arguments of 'the new atheists,' including his brother, in this compelling book. Hitchens writes how he moved from being an outspoken Trotskyite Atheist to an orthodox Christian. He spends most of his time arguing how we all got to these state of affairs and then demonstrating the logical conclusions of the new atheists and their argument that raising children to be religious is 'child abuse.' I highly recommend this book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Very good! I especially enjoyed his take on connection of atheism and politics. Lots to think about here.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Yibbie

    For a personal spiritual journey, it is surprisingly impersonal. While there are a few places when he lets us see deeply personal moments during his return to the church, mostly it is a description of dueling ideologies, as exemplified in Christian Britain, atheistic Soviet Union, and disintegrating Somalia. He walks us through the change in British society from Christian conservative to socialist secular as he experienced and participated in it. Then he walks us through his gradual return to t For a personal spiritual journey, it is surprisingly impersonal. While there are a few places when he lets us see deeply personal moments during his return to the church, mostly it is a description of dueling ideologies, as exemplified in Christian Britain, atheistic Soviet Union, and disintegrating Somalia. He walks us through the change in British society from Christian conservative to socialist secular as he experienced and participated in it. Then he walks us through his gradual return to the Anglican Church. Large parts of that journey are skipped as too personal to share. So instead, he makes his arguments from larger historic cultural events. There is a lot to think about in this book, from the convicting power of religious art and symbols in public spaces to the disintegration of public civility in a godless society. I would certainly recommend everyone read it. If you are a Christian, it will help you understand a little bit more about the atheistic worldview and its weaknesses. If you are an atheist, it might help you see the political and cultural effects of your philosophy. Unfortunately, it only challenges us to return to God, church, and tradition; it never clearly presents the personal saving power of Christ’s death burial and resurrection. The power of the Gospel to make life worth living even in desperate circumstances and the Ultimate Victory of God are missing from this presentation of conflicting ideologies. Honestly, I found the end rather hopeless. Not that surprising for a book that focuses on the consequences of atheistic ideology. There were a couple of paragraphs at the very end that relieved that a little but not much. I think that was because again there is very little of the hope of eternal salvation presented. It is almost exclusively a defense of and longing for a return to the forms of traditional Anglican, Catholic, or Orthodox Christianity. He does not see that returning and so seems to feel that Christian civilization has no hope, at least not for generations. He does not show us the believer’s glorious hope in Christ’s return and kingdom. Instead, he seems to promote the idea that we are here to build nations filled with civility, charity, elegant buildings, and meaningful art rather than to show people that this world is worthless if their souls end up in hell. (Matthew 16:25 – 26) If that’s the goal, it is obvious that we are losing. But if it isn’t, and we are only called on to be witnesses of His might and glory to the best of our ability, and the kingdom building is up to God then the end is not in doubt. We, He, will win. That is the solid hopeful answer to counter the atheist’s empty promises. God is more powerful than any movement or ideology, and humanity’s future will unfold according to His plan. That’s what we need to remember. That’s what we need to tell people. So a good book, but lacking serious Biblical answers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Sturgis

    This book by Peter Hitchens is probably best understood as a mix of autobiography and a closing statement to the public debate he had with his brother, Christopher. Given his background in journalism, Peter is a very interesting writer to read/listen to, yet at times it feels like this book is going in several different directions, which can be confusing and perhaps weaken his overall argument. Some of the points he makes in this book are: Atheism and anti-theism are not the absence of belief or This book by Peter Hitchens is probably best understood as a mix of autobiography and a closing statement to the public debate he had with his brother, Christopher. Given his background in journalism, Peter is a very interesting writer to read/listen to, yet at times it feels like this book is going in several different directions, which can be confusing and perhaps weaken his overall argument. Some of the points he makes in this book are: Atheism and anti-theism are not the absence of belief or the absence of a religious type zeal; atheism and anti-theism may perhaps be just as much if not more emotionally appealing as they are rationally appealing; and on its part, Christianity has suffered greatly from its decision to formally link itself to various sides of the 20th century global conflicts.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    This book is so well-written, it practically reads itself! The fact that Hitchens is brother to the late, great atheist writer, Christopher Hitchens makes this book worth the read. What a fascinating public debate. But this book is a great read in its own right. Hitchens writes beautifully, and while his theistic arguments are excellent, I found the content of his reflections on England and Russia to be the real beauty of this work. The book begins with a discussion England's growing secularism. This book is so well-written, it practically reads itself! The fact that Hitchens is brother to the late, great atheist writer, Christopher Hitchens makes this book worth the read. What a fascinating public debate. But this book is a great read in its own right. Hitchens writes beautifully, and while his theistic arguments are excellent, I found the content of his reflections on England and Russia to be the real beauty of this work. The book begins with a discussion England's growing secularism. Hitchens argues this fall from grace followed--and was caused by--World Wars I and II. The details he uses to illustrate the point are poignant, though the pre-war England is a place that a post-war American like me can barely imagine. Hitchens supplies the imagery, however, and makes it easy to understand the loss. He argues that the loss of faith, the "fall," if you will, happened because England (like so many Western nations) always equated Christianity with dying for your country in some nasty war. While applauding the virtue of sacrifice, Hitchens argues that the Church is weakened when she allows herself to be dragged into the service of every war, no matter how right it may appear. He mentions the famous Christmas Eve truce, when soldiers on both sides joined to sing "Silent Night." If both pray to the same God, someone must be in the wrong--and the faith of both nations suffers. This is an interesting discussion, rooted in Hitchens' own journey away-from and back-to faith. It is an argument I have never before seen in a book on apologetics. Nor have many Christians in the West had the nerve (or the inclination?) to question wars fought in God's name. The recent invasion of Iraq, for example, seemed to have only the thinnest connection to the events of 9/11 and much more to do with a chance to force a regime change... yet Christians were expected to support it without question. Hitchens was not convinced. The second half of the book examines Soviet Russia as the fulfillment of every atheist's utopian dream. The dream was a nightmare, and Hitchens (who worked there for many years) draws excellent lessons from the failed experiment in Atheistic rule. This was a fresh work of apologetics, with unique insights into both England and Russia that only Hitchens could provide. (His outsiders' commentary on contemporary American politics and religion was also fascinating.) Great work.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Reising

    This was an eye-opening book. I "really liked it" for a couple of reasons. I have become aware of a recent surge in numbers of self-proclaimed (and angry and demanding) atheists, and concerned about the reasons behind it - this book gives logical and solid reasons for this political/philosophical shift. It is a candid look at religiosity in contemporary England, and therefore a vision of what could/will happen soon in America (political attempts to negate religious rights). It is a wonderfully c This was an eye-opening book. I "really liked it" for a couple of reasons. I have become aware of a recent surge in numbers of self-proclaimed (and angry and demanding) atheists, and concerned about the reasons behind it - this book gives logical and solid reasons for this political/philosophical shift. It is a candid look at religiosity in contemporary England, and therefore a vision of what could/will happen soon in America (political attempts to negate religious rights). It is a wonderfully concise history of attempts at communism/living without God. It exposes the flawed logic of throwing over a God-fearing society. I did not give it 5 stars because Part 3 of the book gets a little bogged down in communism's terminology and examples - and I probably need more background to understand it better. Here is a line that resonated with me: "In an age of power-worship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power." (p.113) And, "Without a belief in God and the soul, where is the oath? Without the oath, where is the obligation to fulfill it? Where is the law that even kings must obey? Where is the lifelong fidelity of husband and wife? Where is the safety of the innocent child growing in the womb? Where, in the end, is the safety of any of us from those currently bigger and stronger than we are?" (p. 147)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    One of the best books I've read in a long time. It made reading three whiny atheist books worth it. In a sentence, it is Christopher Hitchens style with the content of a C.S. Lewis. Peter Hitchens often has the same melancholy style of looking at the world's troubles, but he sees what those are with intense clarity and insight. I felt, after I read him, that I had not only heard arguments that hit the heart of atheism, but also like I now knew Britain's history since World War II. It makes me sa One of the best books I've read in a long time. It made reading three whiny atheist books worth it. In a sentence, it is Christopher Hitchens style with the content of a C.S. Lewis. Peter Hitchens often has the same melancholy style of looking at the world's troubles, but he sees what those are with intense clarity and insight. I felt, after I read him, that I had not only heard arguments that hit the heart of atheism, but also like I now knew Britain's history since World War II. It makes me sad, but glad that someone has a head to know what's going on. It should be required reading for any Christian who doesn't like how politics work in America. This book again shows the British can do things an American never could do. If an American said we need God for politics and not just morality or self-fulfillment (rubbish!), he would immediately be attacked as favoring theocracy. But a nation that turns from God cannot escape. "There is a living God who judges in the earth"

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

    A great addition to the current debate between Christianity and atheism, written by the brother of the most notorious atheist of our times. The first chapter of THE RAGE AGAINST GOD is excellent, but then Peter Hitchens seemingly meanders about for 100 pages before finally returning to the meat of the topic. The last 100 pages are an intellectual gold mine that lay to waste some of Christopher Hitchens' better-known attempts at discrediting the Christian faith. Many of this book's detractors wil A great addition to the current debate between Christianity and atheism, written by the brother of the most notorious atheist of our times. The first chapter of THE RAGE AGAINST GOD is excellent, but then Peter Hitchens seemingly meanders about for 100 pages before finally returning to the meat of the topic. The last 100 pages are an intellectual gold mine that lay to waste some of Christopher Hitchens' better-known attempts at discrediting the Christian faith. Many of this book's detractors will no doubt decry the lack of "scientific" arguments to be found here, as Peter Hitchens' focuses instead on the question of whether or not Christianity is good for the world. Peter Hitchens is an excellent writer, and I like that he presents his ideas in a respectful, non-antagonistic kind of way--a far cry from the shrill, intolerant screeds of writers like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ciera

    With beautiful and eloquent pieces of memoir intertwined with biting historical truths all tied up with a bow of linguistic talent, Peter Hitchens drew me in at every turn. I felt the weight of his words and the nostalgia in his voice, as well as the indignation at other portions of the text. I found his arguments against atheism very well-structured and convincing. Approximately 60% of the book was anecdotal and about totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and how these regimes were inherentl With beautiful and eloquent pieces of memoir intertwined with biting historical truths all tied up with a bow of linguistic talent, Peter Hitchens drew me in at every turn. I felt the weight of his words and the nostalgia in his voice, as well as the indignation at other portions of the text. I found his arguments against atheism very well-structured and convincing. Approximately 60% of the book was anecdotal and about totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and how these regimes were inherently anti-religion. This may be my favorite book I have read this year.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Part biography, part musings on the place of Christianity in twentieth-century government and western culture. He has serious criticisms of atheism's mix with socialism and communism in the past century. But in regards to his own turn to religion, or the most common apologetic arguments for Christianity, he talks around the subject. This is not a thorough account of his own conversion experience, or an unbiased exploration of why Christianity is better than atheism. It's one man's reflections on Part biography, part musings on the place of Christianity in twentieth-century government and western culture. He has serious criticisms of atheism's mix with socialism and communism in the past century. But in regards to his own turn to religion, or the most common apologetic arguments for Christianity, he talks around the subject. This is not a thorough account of his own conversion experience, or an unbiased exploration of why Christianity is better than atheism. It's one man's reflections on the state of religion in his country. Because he is well spoken, well studied, and has a unique contrast to his brother Christopher Hitchens, this book is still worth the read (I would not say that if it weren't so short). He also briefly touches on Dawkins's writings, like The God Delusion. I am interested in reading The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashlee Kirschner

    A crucial read for anyone dabbling with church or doubting belief. Peter Hitchens, brother to renown atheist Christopher Hitchens, brilliantly brings to light the outcome of making a society godless. A former atheist himself, Peter doesn’t debate on the pillars of why Christianity is right and atheism is wrong (although many apologetic books can be found on this by other authors (my favourite being “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller). Peter rather highlights communism, particularly in Russia A crucial read for anyone dabbling with church or doubting belief. Peter Hitchens, brother to renown atheist Christopher Hitchens, brilliantly brings to light the outcome of making a society godless. A former atheist himself, Peter doesn’t debate on the pillars of why Christianity is right and atheism is wrong (although many apologetic books can be found on this by other authors (my favourite being “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller). Peter rather highlights communism, particularly in Russia where he worked as a journalist for many years. Communism - the replacing of an all powerful Creator Deity with “reason” and “science.” But what really happens to society when man is all knowing and there is nothing besides him? Peter brilliantly shows the destruction, chaos and atrocities that follow in a society that embraced this. And with society in North America and Europe the way it is, we all may be quick to follow in Communist Russia’s footsteps regardless of the terrifying witness of history. One sentence Peter wrote etched itself on me. The wording will not be perfect, but he said (referring to his many years as an atheist), “Look at all the phenomenal damages that happened to the church during these past thirty years. Where was I during so many of those years?” What would have been different had he/we committed to God long ago and lived out our purpose daily?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Really enjoyed reading this although it was different than I’d assumed it would be. Less of a memoir, more of a look at political ideologies and various cultural movements and how they shaped not only Hitchens’s faith but the faith of his generation. It was written in 2010 and is even more applicable for the USA than it must have been then. Highly recommend.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aeisele

    This is a strange book. I liked it in some ways, but in other ways it's not very good. First, the good things: he puts the secularization of Europe in a very good context. He basically argues that the melding of religion and the state in Britain, the cult of leaders like Churchill, and the disillusionment of Europeans after the two world wars are the reasons why Christianity has been in such decline. The fact that numerous church leaders pushed England, France, and Germany into WWI, and the horro This is a strange book. I liked it in some ways, but in other ways it's not very good. First, the good things: he puts the secularization of Europe in a very good context. He basically argues that the melding of religion and the state in Britain, the cult of leaders like Churchill, and the disillusionment of Europeans after the two world wars are the reasons why Christianity has been in such decline. The fact that numerous church leaders pushed England, France, and Germany into WWI, and the horrors experienced there, did tremendous damage. Then, of course, the fact that the allies perpetrated mass murder themselves (of course, the Axis were much more culpable) altered the possibility of people's trust in authorities. Since "religion" and the "establishment" seemed to go hand in hand, it was inevitable that religion would decline so much. But I'm not as convinced about the axes Hitchens has to grind. His arguments with his brother Christopher hinged mostly on the socialism that the young (atheist) Peter held, seemed to end up being his laments about the descent into barbarism of the Sovient Union, and his laments over the fact that a similar thing could happen to Europe without the restraint of religion. And of course it is true that religion is a restraining force. But that doesn't mean it's good. Nor has Christendom's restraints always been good (in fact, they've often been downright evil). But Hitchens is right there is a difference between asking for God on your side, and acting like you are God (as Stalin, Mao, and Kim-Jong Il have) - not as much as he thinks, but a difference nonetheless. His main attack seems to be that atheism in its political forms has been utopianism, and utopianism, in his view, leads to the belief that you are absolutely right, because your vision is so good. The logic of this is not quite ironclad. I mean, the great exponent of utopia in the 20th century, Ernst Bloch, specifically cast it in terms of an unreachable goal that can criticize the present. And of course the Book of Revelation has serious utopian elements. He is right though that the idea that we can BRING about utopia on earth is a problem, because it leads self-deification. In any case, this is a rambling review, but I think Hitchens' book looses some serious steam, especially when he starts talking about the Soviet Union. These are really not arguments for religion, but against self-glorification. You can be an atheist who does not self-glorify.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Kanas

    "Even unbelievers have to recognize that God, whether He exists or not, predates earthly dictators and tends to survive them. God's laws and Christian morals do the same, survive. If God is not dethroned and his laws revoked, he represents and important rival to the despot's authority, living in millions of hearts. If he cannot be driven out of hearts, total control by the state is impossible." -Peter Hitchens Very fascinating book. Peter, as a foreign correspondent who has lived all over the glob "Even unbelievers have to recognize that God, whether He exists or not, predates earthly dictators and tends to survive them. God's laws and Christian morals do the same, survive. If God is not dethroned and his laws revoked, he represents and important rival to the despot's authority, living in millions of hearts. If he cannot be driven out of hearts, total control by the state is impossible." -Peter Hitchens Very fascinating book. Peter, as a foreign correspondent who has lived all over the globe, evaluates the cultures of various countries who have decidedly chosen to live without a Christian religious structure. He describes the failures of societies and the path towards, in some cases, ultimate destruction as dictators seek to replace God with their own utopian fantasies that place them as the "God-like" figure. He also critiques current western societies and how the language and focus of the New Atheists are eerily similar to the same words echoed by Josef Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin, who sought to eradicate religion in the 1920's. If you are looking for an autobiography of his own coming to faith from atheism, it's very limited. Nor does he choose to take a lot of personal shots at his famous atheist brother Christopher Hitchens. He does question Christopher's beliefs and speaks where he and him differ in opinion. But there is no dueling of sharp words and he is content at focusing the direction of the book towards society evaluation rather than romanticizing over the public's interest to see him go toe to toe with Christopher. He also is not an apologist for the Christian faith that is seeking to define what Christians believe in or his own set of defined beliefs. More or less, what his points are, are often to the readers discernment as his arguments come from more from the self-evidence of failed socialistic systems that have rendered God mute. Highly recommend for those interested in history, sociology, and Christianity through the lens of a global perspective.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Yoder

    Overshadowing Peter Hitchen's defense of Christianity is the fact that his older brother was the late Christopher Hitchens, one of the chief advocates of New Atheism. While the Rage Against God begins as a spiritual autobiography through Hitchens' journey through atheism in post-war Britain, the book is also a rebuttal against Christopher's harsh and over-the-top critique against Christian faith. This dynamic shapes the book in a way that detracts from it – Peter Hitchens' spiritual journey is m Overshadowing Peter Hitchen's defense of Christianity is the fact that his older brother was the late Christopher Hitchens, one of the chief advocates of New Atheism. While the Rage Against God begins as a spiritual autobiography through Hitchens' journey through atheism in post-war Britain, the book is also a rebuttal against Christopher's harsh and over-the-top critique against Christian faith. This dynamic shapes the book in a way that detracts from it – Peter Hitchens' spiritual journey is more compelling than his critique of the Soviet Union, but the desire to prove his brother wrong hangs over almost every page. While Hitchens masterfully describes a “counterfeit” Christianity tied to a dying English monoculture, he's less successful at describing authentic Christian faith. For a book with the subtitle “How Atheism Led Me to Faith,” Hitchens spends remarkably little space on his conversion. His acceptance of Christianity appears to have been something about art, architecture and the fear of damnation. Rather than describing an encounter with Jesus Christ, Hitchens instead defends the King James Bible and the Common Book of Prayer from what he views as inferior innovations of the Anglican Church. Therefore, when Hitchens attacks liberal secularism and multiculturalism, he leaves the impression that he now defends the very “counterfeit” Christian monoculture that he once rejected (and apparently still disagrees with). Ultimately, the Rage Against God ends up as a polemic against modern secularism rather than a meditation on atheism and faith. I don't agree with Hitchens' argument that the growth of secularism and the end of Christendom will inevitably lead to either the repression of the Soviet Union or the anarchy of Somalia. Yet as the Western Christian Church continues to discern what it means to follow Christ in a culture that is either hostile or indifferent, we do also need conservative voices like Hitchens.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

    I recommend Peter's book, along with his brother's "god is not Great" to generate more personal thought than the general psycho-social that Christopher seems focused on. Personally, I liked both men's styles. Basically, I liked Christopher's over Peter's but not because of flaws in his style. All this comes down to is personal preferences. By not whole heartedly agreeing with either, I am revealing my take on both works. Peter puts forward, not as precisely as I would like, how convoluted Christ I recommend Peter's book, along with his brother's "god is not Great" to generate more personal thought than the general psycho-social that Christopher seems focused on. Personally, I liked both men's styles. Basically, I liked Christopher's over Peter's but not because of flaws in his style. All this comes down to is personal preferences. By not whole heartedly agreeing with either, I am revealing my take on both works. Peter puts forward, not as precisely as I would like, how convoluted Christopher's accusations that the religious are exclusively with the history of violence. Christians along with all the other groups are as well. We, believers, were responsibly engaged in wars that should not have happened. However, events like the Crusades were not exclusively foisted upon humanity out of just "religious" motivations. Christopher, however, powerfully points out how Christians, without excluding any of the other groups, have in the Name of their God, have committed great atrocities. We have, across our history, been power hungry on both global and local levels. I applaud Christopher on such points! I want all of us positively repenting . My desire is for Christians to actively own how violent we, like everyone else, get over our fashions of power struggles. It is over the power struggling that I am disappointed in Peter's work. I caught strong hints of he and I being basically in the same camp. What I didn't read were well laid out calls for the believers to question their motives for any level of violence.

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