Posts Tagged ‘chris hitchens’

I am really going to regret when Christopher Hitchens is gone, and I confess it will be for my own loss of a person who’s writing gives me pleasure and his almost Cryanoistic honesty to his own beliefs (even when they are horribly wrong i.e Christianity) rather than for pity as he has lived a pretty interesting life and everybody has to die eventually.

The latest interview of him in the London Observer conveys all of the joy of reading Hitchens that I have but there is one line that is so important and so true and so totally ignored that it should be screamed from the mountaintops to everyone particularly to Thomas Freedman and the left:

As an aside on Mugabe, he makes one of those observations that are so precisely to the point that you wonder why so few other commentators ever get round to coming to it emphasis mine. “Darfur, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea, anywhere that the concept of human rights doesn’t exist, it’s always the Chinese at backstop. And always for reasons that you could write down in three words: blood for oil.”

This is the most vital part of the piece for two reasons. the first being that he cuts to the truth of the current world situation in two sentences, but the second is due to the interviewer Andrew Anthony unintentional indictment of the entire intelligentsia of the world who have not been willing or able to speak that basic truth.

Red China (and yes I use Red deliberately) has long supplanted Russia as the main focus of human rights abuse and supporter of same around the world. The rest of the world fearing their military and coveting their potential economic power ignore this truth but the reality is there. Hitchens is willing to say it. Nobody else dares because they see no personal profit in it, much easier to make a living hitting the United States.

As I said I’ll miss Hitchens when he is gone, and so will millions who stand up for freedom of speech around the world.

but Chris Hitchens has only so many columns left in him so they should be promoted while there is still time:

Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything “offensive” to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …

As for the gorgeous mosaic of religious pluralism, it’s easy enough to find mosque Web sites and DVDs that peddle the most disgusting attacks on Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and other Muslims—to say nothing of insane diatribes about women and homosexuals. This is why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous: It insinuates that any reservations about Islam must ipso facto be “phobic.” A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. Islamic preaching very often manifests precisely this feature, which is why suspicion of it is by no means irrational.

Read the whole things and as you do remember this is from a supporter of the Mosque.

I’m going to miss Hitchens when he’s gone

memeorandum thread here

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you will see that on occasion I will describe a person who choose the world or rejects the faith and write something like this…

You can do XYZ for the rest of your life…

After that you’re on your own.

I readily admit that it is a bit of snark and it is in fact intended to make a person pause at their own mortality. I am going to die, you are going to die, my wife, my children and any grandchildren I have are all going to die and not a single one of us know when.

Each one of us has a finite amount of time to become one of the few who are chosen instead of the many who are called. The nature of God rejects compulsion. We must choose to follow him and remain faithful of our own free will. As the parable of the wages teaches us it is not when we make that choice that matters but That we make the choice.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. (And) he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day? They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’

When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’

He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? (or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matt 20:1-16

During life many chances are given by God to do right, to follow him, to choose the narrow path, but as one gets closer to death and damnation the urgency of eternal truth becomes greater. We are creatures of both flesh and spirit, as we near the end of our amphibious life that spirit or soul within us becomes more acute as it’s final fate is being decided. That is the opportunity that God gives, that final push that last peek that anguished cry of a father trying to convince their rebellious child to make the right choice. It is the point when the enemy deploys pride, fear and distraction to keep us from accepting it.

This is why to the Athiest a sickness like cancer is a dangerous thing and why Damon Linker’s column reeks of fear. Not of Chris Hitchens impending death, but of his possible redemption:

Any such conversion, if it happened, would be the product of a brain consumed by cancer and a body wracked by pain. It should not be taken seriously, in other words, as a genuine expression of the beliefs and desires of the man known as Christopher Hitchens. It should instead be dismissed as the deluded ramblings of someone driven out of his right mind by suffering and disease. And the statements of a man in such a state tell us nothing worth knowing, either about him or about God.

Ah the comfort of denial, the attempt to explain away the actual nature of death, the fear that if Hitchens actually choose the narrow path than one might have to abandon the accolades of the world one sees for a reward one cannot.

C. S. Lewis pegged this perfectly in ScrewTape 5:

Consider too what undesirable deaths occur in wartime. Men are killed in places where they knew they might be killed and to which they go, if they are at all of the Enemy’s party, prepared. How much better for us if all humans died in costly nursing homes amid doctors who lie, nurses who lie, friends who lie, as we have trained them, promising life to the dying, encouraging the belief that sickness excuses every indulgence, and even, if our workers know their job, withholding all suggestion of a priest lest it should betray to the sick man his true condition! And how disastrous for us is the continual remembrance of death which war enforces. One of our best weapons, contented worldliness, is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever.

Alas for poor Linker, Hitchens is too honest to discount the likelihood of his own death and even worse, too brave to deny a truth once he believes it. The question is: Will he believe it in time?

That is the greatest contradiction here. Those friends like Linker need Hitchens to remain firm in his unbelief for the sake of their own. It is their shaky faith and comfortable worldview that is in danger. Meanwhile those who pray for his conversion have nothing to gain but Hitchens salvation, and that if achieved belongs to him, not to them. It will not place any believer one step closer to the gates of St. Peter. In point of fact if they trumpet it with pride, it might actually retard their progress. On the other hand, his conversion could divert many others off the road of disbelief. The enemy knows this and will fight with all possible strength against that eventuality.

Who will win? I don’t know. I’m hoping and praying for the best.

Today this tweet came from the Shrine of St. Jude:

Today is the Day of Prayer for Cancer at the National Shrine of St. Jude. Today we pray in a special way for all those affected by cancer.

On the same day one of the worlds most famous atheists pens an article called Topic of Cancer where he talks about the effects of radiation therapy:

Myself, I love the imagery of struggle. I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient. Allow me to inform you, though, that when you sit in a room with a set of other finalists, and kindly people bring a huge transparent bag of poison and plug it into your arm, and you either read or don’t read a book while the venom sack gradually empties itself into your system, the image of the ardent soldier or revolutionary is the very last one that will occur to you. You feel swamped with passivity and impotence: dissolving in powerlessness like a sugar lump in water.

Even as we regret the sad ending to an exciting story and empathize with certain battles that are lost; “If Penélope Cruz were one of my nurses, I wouldn’t even notice.”“, it is apparent that he struggles with cancer he hasn’t ended his struggle against redemption to wit:

Instead, I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I’d worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? To read—if not indeed write—the obituaries of elderly villains like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger emphasis mine?

Ah yes the villainy of the pope, that arch meddler who still leads a church that insists on praying for him and doing its all to grab him from the abyss he cannot see and refuses to acknowledge. Some things never change.

I’ve often said that people have the rest of their lives to ridicule, abandon or live without the grace of God for their satisfaction and the approval of the world, after that they’re on their own. For Mr. Hitchens that reality is closing in, but in fact it closes in on all of us every day. The difference is that Chris Hitchens is aware of it. May the rest of us not forget.

Via Robert Stacy’s post titled Just another Deadline:

Memeorandum thread here.

Update: The Anchoress response reminds me of the nuns at the convent at the end of Cyrano de Bergerac