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Message to American Atheists

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posted on May, 13 2011 @ 08:59 AM
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Christopher Hitchens has lost is voice in his battle with cancer but his passionate voice can still be concieved in this (tear-jerking) letter:-


Dear fellow-unbelievers,

Nothing would have kept me from joining you except the loss of my voice (at least my speaking voice) which in turn is due to a long argument I am currently having with the specter of death. Nobody ever wins this argument, though there are some solid points to be made while the discussion goes on. I have found, as the enemy becomes more familiar, that all the special pleading for salvation, redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before. I hope to help defend and pass on the lessons of this for many years to come, but for now I have found my trust better placed in two things: the skill and principle of advanced medical science, and the comradeship of innumerable friends and family, all of them immune to the false consolations of religion. It is these forces among others which will speed the day when humanity emancipates itself from the mind-forged manacles of servility and superstitition. It is our innate solidarity, and not some despotism of the sky, which is the source of our morality and our sense of decency.

That essential sense of decency is outraged every day. Our theocratic enemy is in plain view. Protean in form, it extends from the overt menace of nuclear-armed mullahs to the insidious campaigns to have stultifying pseudo-science taught in American schools. But in the past few years, there have been heartening signs of a genuine and spontaneous resistance to this sinister nonsense: a resistance which repudiates the right of bullies and tyrants to make the absurd claim that they have god on their side. To have had a small part in this resistance has been the greatest honor of my lifetime: the pattern and original of all dictatorship is the surrender of reason to absolutism and the abandonment of critical, objective inquiry. The cheap name for this lethal delusion is religion, and we must learn new ways of combating it in the public sphere, just as we have learned to free ourselves of it in private.

Our weapons are the ironic mind against the literal: the open mind against the credulous; the courageous pursuit of truth against the fearful and abject forces who would set limits to investigation (and who stupidly claim that we already have all the truth we need). Perhaps above all, we affirm life over the cults of death and human sacrifice and are afraid, not of inevitable death, but rather of a human life that is cramped and distorted by the pathetic need to offer mindless adulation, or the dismal belief that the laws of nature respond to wailings and incantations.

As the heirs of a secular revolution, American atheists have a special responsibility to defend and uphold the Constitution that patrols the boundary between Church and State. This, too, is an honor and a privilege. Believe me when I say that I am present with you, even if not corporeally (and only metaphorically in spirit...) Resolve to build up Mr Jefferson's wall of separation. And don't keep the faith.

Sincerely

Christopher Hitchens


Get well soon, Hitchens!

You've inspired many!
edit on 13/5/11 by awake_and_aware because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 13 2011 @ 09:19 AM
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Here's some of Hitchens best bits to give context to the letter:-




posted on May, 13 2011 @ 09:44 AM
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Thanks for posting. I have heard him speak, but I'm not a huge fan. I don't mean I dislike him, it's just that I don't 'follow' any particular speaker on atheism. So, I wasn't even aware that he had cancer.

This is sad. It sounds like he's facing death and I know from experience, that's a very scary thing to do. But it's freeing in a way, too. I wish him well.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



that's a very scary thing to do.


Not as a Christian, in fact it's looked forward to. During the Inquisitions of the Catholic church Christians went singing to be burned at the stake.

But I can empathize with you, for an atheist it must be terribly scary to fact death.

(Praying for Mr. Hitchens to fully recover)



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
Not as a Christian, in fact it's looked forward to.


That must by why Christians pray so hard for people to be healed. If what you say is true, then Christians should be praying to GET a disease and when their friends get sick, they should pray for them to die and celebrate when they do! And yet, I see them praying for cures and trying desperately to avoid death... and crying at funerals... They should be rejoicing (if what you say is true).

And you are praying for Hitches to fully recover. If he were a Christian, would you pray for him to die?



But I can empathize with you, for an atheist it must be terribly scary to fact death.


How very condescending of you. Have you had cancer? Have you faced death?

edit on 5/13/2011 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:21 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic


That must by why Christians pray so hard for people to be healed. If what you say is true, then Christians should be praying to GET a disease and when their friends get sick, they should pray for them to die and celebrate when they do! And yet, I see them praying for cures and trying desperately to avoid death... and crying at funerals... They should be rejoicing (if what you say is true).

And you are praying for Hitches to fully recover. If he were a Christian, would you pray for him to die?


If someone asks for prayer I'll oblige, I'm sure other Christians would oblige the request also.

I've already prayed for Mr. Hitchens to fully recover.




How very condescending of you. Have you had cancer? Have you faced death?


Huh, condescending? You claimed you were 'scared' to face death.

I agreed that it must be scary considering you think this life is all a person has then they cease to exist. It'd be very terrified too if I thought there was no afterlife.

But as someone who is secure in Christ I have no fear of death, it would be similar to a parole.


edit on 13-5-2011 by NOTurTypical because: "I'd"



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:33 AM
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reply to post by NOTurTypical
 



If someone asks for prayer I'll oblige, I'm sure other Christians would oblige the request also.

I've already prayed for Mr. Hitchens to fully recover.



...I have found, as the enemy becomes more familiar, that all the special pleading for salvation, redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before.


You didn't read the OP. You don't care about the Op. You just wanted to be troll.

Have the common decency to respect a dying man's wish to not be prayed for.

Your arrogance does nothing to promote your religion.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:41 AM
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reply to post by awake_and_aware
 



You didn't read the OP. You don't care about the Op. You just wanted to be troll.


Why would I read his letter? It's clearly addressed to 'fellow un-believers'.

I'm not an unbeliever.


Have the common decency to respect a dying man's wish to not be prayed for.


Too late.


Your arrogance does nothing to promote your religion.


Explain how I'm "arrogant" and you or Mr. Hitchens is not..

good luck with that.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:44 AM
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I can't imagine the sadness and fear Mr. Hitchens is experiencing considering his atheism. How terrible it must be for him to think this existence is all there is, that there is no life after death.

To think, 60-70 years and that's it?? How sad.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:50 AM
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reply to post by NOTurTypical
 



Explain how I'm "arrogant" and you or Mr. Hitchens is not..


Hitchens and I don't imply we know more than anyone else about what happens after death. Moreover, we don't teach lies to children, and we don't claim to know what the cause of reality is. We wouldn't be smug and intellectually dishonest about something as unknown and as unprovable.


for an atheist it must be terribly scary to fact death.


You're smug, and arrogant. Deal with it. It's arrogant to assume that because you preach a faith, you're going to be rewarded in some special sky kingdom. Especially when you're such a cunning person when it comes to discussion of religion.
edit on 13/5/11 by awake_and_aware because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by awake_and_aware
 



You're smug, and arrogant. Deal with it.


Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

Be mad fanboy.

Doesn't matter at all to me, Mr. Hitchens is being prayed for regardless of whether he or you like it.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 11:01 AM
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It's arrogant to assume that because you preach a faith, you're going to be rewarded in some special sky kingdom.


Straw man. I've never assumed or stated that I'll be 'rewarded' a place in 'some special sky kingdom' for 'preaching a faith'.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
I agreed that it must be scary considering you think this life is all a person has then they cease to exist. It'd be very terrified too if I thought there was no afterlife.


The reason it's condescending is that you have NO CLUE about my beliefs. In fact, I do believe in an afterlife and have said so many times here on ATS. However, facing death by cancer is something I found a bit scary.

So, I ask again, have you had cancer or faced death?


Originally posted by NOTurTypical
Explain how I'm "arrogant"


You are being arrogant and smug. If you haven't read the article or the OP, why are you posting in this thread? Just to cause trouble as you ALWAYS do. Your condescension, assumptive thinking and arrogance pour out in your posts and are disgusting and sinful, IMO. You and people like you are the reason some people HATE religion and its pious and righteous proselytizing followers.

How dare you assume what I believe and then tell me why I felt afraid to face death??? It makes me sick!



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 11:13 AM
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Mr. Hitchens is being prayed for regardless of whether he or you like it.


Then feel free to waste your time. As if there is some universal "wish-system" in place that puts the wishes of the fortunate before those of the starving and sick.

That's the arrogance of some believers, to think they will be put first.

In relation, here's one of Hitchens quotes:-




What about Fräulein Fritzl in Austria? Whose father, unwilling to get out of the way, kept her in a dungeon where she didn’t see daylight for 24 years…and came down most nights to rape and sodomize her, often in front of the children who were the (product) of the previous attacks and offenses. And it’s only purely by accident that Herr Fritzl is now in custody. And it’s a shame that he’s 76 because his life imprisonment isn’t going to feel enough like that to him. I want you to take a moment, since we’re so interested in the downtrodden and the helpless…imagine how she must have begged. Imagine how she must have pleaded. Imagine for how long. Imagine how she must have prayed every day, how she must have beseeched heaven. Imagine for 24 years, and no answer at all, nothing. Nothing! Imagine how those children must have felt. Now, you say it’s alright that she went through that because she’ll get a better deal in another life? I have to ask you if you can be morally or ethically serious and postulate such a question…no that had to happen and heaven did watch it with indifference because it knows that score will later on be settled so it was well worth her going through it, she’ll have a better time next time. I don’t see how you can look anyone, anyone, in the face or live with yourself and say anything so hideously, wickedly immoral as that, or even imply it.

edit on 13/5/11 by awake_and_aware because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by awake_and_aware
 


We lost a great voice. I've always liked his journalism, and I've loved how he actually participates in debates. I felt a bit of a pang when I saw his debate with Dembski and he had to pause because of problems his cancer was causing with his voice...and now it's finally silenced.

But he will continue to type till his last breath. And hey, being mute means that we can't have the possibility of a faux deathbed confession, though I'm sure he'll do what Dawkins has planned with a voice recorder to prevent fraud.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 11:24 AM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
I can't imagine the sadness and fear Mr. Hitchens is experiencing considering his atheism. How terrible it must be for him to think this existence is all there is, that there is no life after death.

To think, 60-70 years and that's it?? How sad.


That is why you are arrogant my friend. The OP clearly states that he isn't feeling sadness or fear regarding his Atheism.

I disagree with Hitchens' views, but a post on him having cancer isn't the time to debate them. Saying you are praying for him does nothing but feed your ego my friend.

That's awesome that you are secure in your faith, but don't assume people who aren't Christians aren't secure in knowing where they go when they die. He'll be cremated or buried and beyond that you nor I nor anyone else knows.
edit on 13-5-2011 by Buddha1098 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 03:33 PM
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posted on May, 13 2011 @ 05:11 PM
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reply to post by The GUT
 


Flew became a deist...I'm talking about stories that come out about people like Einstein (whose last words were in German and the nurse in attendance didn't speak a word of it) or Darwin that are patently false.

We aren't going to play tit for tat, I'm just saying that this way nobody can fabricate a story about him.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:11 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



You are being arrogant and smug.


No, you made the comment that facing death is a"very scary" thing to do. And I said not for a Christian it isn't. Death is a joy, it's a "parole" from this world.

Martyred Christians went to the stake to be burned SINGING praises. Maybe you're jealous some of us have zero fear for death and look forward to it?



posted on May, 14 2011 @ 01:26 AM
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reply to post by awake_and_aware
 


Soon ole Chris is going to find out if it was a good idea to make God his enemy in life.

He sounds rather desparate in this screed. I wonder if he really wrote it because it is not in his style as I have known his writings. His usual clever banter is not apparent. But that could be the pressure he is under in the process of dying. It is a long and difficult process of death he is going through. I hope he is not and does not suffer.



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