Christopher Hitchens Is Dying
Christopher Hitchens, a writer and outspoken advocate for atheism, has been diagnosed with cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy. He says that he is “realistic” about his chances for survival. The esophageal cancer has metastasized to his lymph nodes.
Now, obviously, I don’t happen to share Mr. Hitchens’ views on God and religion or a score of other issues. Even his own brother, Peter Hitchens, an English author of some fame who converted to Christianty, doesn’t espouse his views. Hitchens is pretty vocal about his disdain for the faith.
He even wrote an entire book that skewered Mother Theresa. You can find the Wikipedia article on the book here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missionary_Position. I’d venture to say that even the majority of atheists would think he took things too far there. He did make some potent arguments, though.
If you’d like to read a great example of Christopher Hitchens’ writing, I recommend reading his article on how he would change the Ten Commandments. It was written for Vanity Fair magazine in April 2010. The online version is here: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/04/hitchens-201004.
Also, there is his article on waterboarding from August 2008:
A YouTube video shows Hitchens undergoing his own waterboarding experience in the name of journalistic integrity. Now there’s commitment.
Finally, there is an essay that I should find offensive but, instead, highly recommend that you read because it makes some excellent points, called, “Why Women Aren’t Funny.”
Whether or not I agree with Mr. Hitchens’ opinions, he is an absolutely brilliant writer who deserves to be read and deserves to be remembered and appreciated for the person that he is. Christopher Hitchens recently sat down and gave an interview with Anderson Cooper in which he talked about his cancer and the prospect of his death and his views on God and religion. You can find it here: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/07/video-extended-interview-hitchens-on-cancer-and-atheism/.
Sadly, Mr. Hitchens mentions in the interview that there are people who are praying for his suffering and death. What does this say about Christians? That some of us who claim to be followers of Jesus aren’t behaving much like Jesus? How does that work anyway? Dear Baby Jesus, please kill that evil person who doesn’t acknowledge your Supremeness. And while you’re at it, please smite him with maximum pain and suffering. And then, for good measure, Baby Jesus, please see to it that he burns in hell for all eternity. No wonder some people have such contempt for Christianity.
In the same interview, Hitchens also mentions that there are many more people who are praying either for his recovery or his spiritual salvation. He says that he appreciates the prayers for his recovery. However, he states that there will be no deathbed redemption and that if we hear about one that we should discount it because the real Christopher Hitchens would do no such thing. He says that if that happens it would be because the cancer has spread to his brain or he has lost his mind to pain or drugs.
I am saddened by the news of Christopher Hitchens’ illness. I wish him well and hope he has a speedy recovery. I think of him as a man of compassion and conviction, a critical thinker, and a man who believes that man created God. I hope, for all our sakes, that he is wrong about that. And I hope that if he does experience a change of heart, that he is lucid when it happens. However, he has the right to die as he lived. It will be a great loss to the world.