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Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

From Reuters:

Hitchens died in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of cancer of the esophagus, Vanity Fair magazine said.

“Christopher Hitchens – the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant – died today at the age of 62,” Vanity Fair said.

Hitchens was not one to mince words. In his book on Bill Clinton “No one left to lie to”, he called the former U.S. president a “rapist” and a “con man.” He once referred to Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a “fanatical Albanian dwarf.”

The 2001 attacks on the United States by Islamic fundamentalists in hijacked passenger planes made Hitchens ever more critical of the role of religion in the world, and led him to appreciate the merits of American democracy.

“I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in the world is religion, and organized religion,” he wrote.

No question, he spoke to and for his age.

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11 Responses to Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

  1. And I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in this world is atheist rhetoric.

    Name-calling does not an intellectual make.

  2. His brother Peter could not have composed <a href=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255983/How-I-God-peace-atheist-brother-PETER-HITCHENS-traces-journey-Christianity.html#ixzz1gi0fRHEmHow I found God and peace with my atheist brother at the Daily Mail as a eulogy, since he wrote it before Christopher had even fallen ill. Nevertheless it will probably stand as the kindest of such, until that day when the Great Judge weighs in on us all.

  3. Rats, in talks and lectures I used to use Hitchens as an example of the ridiculous nonsense spewed by rabid atheists. Will still do so, but it hits closer to home if the individual is still alive. Ah, well.

    Actually, Hitchens wasn’t simply an atheist, he was anti-theist, actively fighting against theism and, frankly, anything else that lends meaning to life.

    For family it is never easy when someone passes, so I certainly wish his family peace and comfort in the knowledge that his life was in fact more meaningful than his doctrine claimed.

  4. More so that radical Islam?

  5. Actually, Hitchens wasn’t simply an atheist, he was anti-theist, actively fighting against theism and, frankly, anything else that lends meaning to life.

    According to Eric Anderson, Christopher Hitchens actively fought against anything that lent meaning to life.

    Either Mr.Anderson’s conception of what things in life are meaningful is comically limited to ‘theism’ or he is guilty of a gross calumny.

  6. Yeah, sorry, I should have been more explicit. He didn’t believe in any ultimate meaning. Oh, sure, there might be some temporary meaning, but when we die that’s it for us, and when humanity’s gone, that’s it for humanity — all of us, all our works, thoughts, hopes, dreams, strugglings and wishes, just turn back into the particles from whence they came, a mindless collection of matter and energy throbbing and jostling and pulsing in the vast cosmos. “No rhyme or reason” in it, as our friend Dawkins might say. An evolutionary accident, temporarily aware and momentarily catching a glimpse of meaning, but ultimately it slips away into the great nothingness.

    If we follow the materialist doctrine to its logical conclusion, we must join with Will Provine in proclaiming: “There . . . is no life after death . . . There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans.”

    It is true, that many who do not believe in any consciousness separate from our body or any life after death or any ultimate meaning, do find joy and satisfaction and meaning in their lives. I don’t mean to suggest otherwise. What I might suggest is that either (i) they must acknowledge that this joy/purpose/meaning is a temporary accidental state of affairs that will ultimately fade to nothingness and meaningless, or (ii) what they are experiencing should give them pause to consider that perhaps there is real meaning and it doesn’t just drift into nothingness and meaninglessness (IOW, their doctrine may be wrong).

    Death is a serious and sobering business under any circumstances. I don’t think Hitchens’ life was without meaning. That is why I feel, and why I hope his family feels, that he was better than his doctrine.

  7. Yes. Radical Islam (or radical anything, for that matter) led to the deaths of over 2,000 humans. Atheist rhetoric led to the deaths of millions under Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot.

  8. If those leaders are the baggage of atheists, then Nazi Germany is yours baggage. It was not secular no matter how you put it. Of course, it is unfair and ludicrous to claim that any of those people – Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hussein, etc. killed people BECAUSE of their atheist beliefs. There have been plenty of terrible leaders throughout history with all sorts of religious backgrounds. You cannot pin the worst parts of humanity to one specific group.

  9. Personally, I disagreed with Hitchens when he stated that religion is the cause of all evil in the world. I find peoples’ comments here about atheism being the root of all evil to be just as disgusting. No matter what anyone believes, you cannot change human nature. Whether everyone were religious or whether everyone were atheist, there would still be a lot of evil in this world. That is just the way people are.

  10. Ironically, the scriptures state that the devil was the original source of evil in the world, and that through Adam it spread to all of mankind. Neither were atheists.

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