We lost Hitchens

Postby Idiot Glee » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:26 am

Christopher Hitchens is gone, forever.

He won't be, reborn, judged (except by history), rewarded or punished. He's dirt waiting to decompose now. And I can only hope that he faced death with the courage he hoped for in his writings. Reading an obituary I found that he hoped to die with his wits about him, awake and facing the end. He even had the good sense to request forgiveness from his survivors if, in the fevered heat of a dying man's last breath, he made a death bed confession of faith. He would have regarded any such gesture as hollow and merely wails of pain. I can only hope that he had the good death he wanted.

Death is part of life, the end. We all will have an end, and the only hope is for it to be free of suffering. It is very much worth exploring life extension, cryogenics, and other forms of perpetuation, but we have not known a person older than their 120's since the golden age of myth and bad record keeping. But we can only hope that all people face the end, death, with dignity and freedom from suffering.
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Re: We lost Hitchens

Postby draque » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:47 am

It seems like there's thankfully little on the 'net claiming that he had a last minute death bed conversion, which was something he was very concerned about (given that pretty much every prominent atheist supposedly has one, according to urban rumors that pop up immediately after their deaths). He would be glad of that, at least. It's sad that he had to spend the end of his life in such discomfort, though. Cancer is a hell of a way to leave things off, and at his age, he should have been able to expect another 20+ years.
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Re: We lost Hitchens

Postby Idiot Glee » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:19 am

I'll never understand how anyone takes near death turns to religion seriously. Nearing the moment of death, so many people become delusional. Steve Jobs refused multiple oxygen masks in hospital nearing death because he found them aesthetically unpleasing. That is simply not a rational decision. Should we take that as impetus to turn to Raymond Loewy in our hour of need?

This is not to belittle faith, but rather to question whether reports of fevered death bed conversions should lead to conversions of the healthy. It simply doesn't logically follow that a person making a choice to believe in God or an afterlife under significant strain is any reason for a healthy person to behave the same way. The argument is just nonsense.

-

Also, as much as twenty more years of Hitchens would have been appreciated, even without cancer he would have probably had less time among the living. The man drank like a fish, smoked like a chimney, and kept hours like an ritalin crazed college student. All that, and his affinity for war zones, would have shortened his life even if cancer never grew. The only condolence is that the hours he kept left a longer body of work than his years would normally have permitted.
Hello!

And, "One thing there's no getting by—
I've been a wicked girl," said I;
"But if I can't be sorry, why,
I might as well be glad!"

-Millay
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Re: We lost Hitchens

Postby draque » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:28 pm

It's the "no atheists in foxholes" argument. The crux of it is that a person will change their opinions under duress. Even assuming that it's the case universally (which it clearly isn't), it still proves nothing in regard to whether the changed opinions are or are not correct. As for why they're taken seriously though... I think that many people with faiths can find them comforting. For anyone compassionate, there's something very disquieting about the thought of someone who is sincere but wrong being sent to hell. The idea that all sincere people turn to <Salvation of form X> just before death can assuage that.
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Re: We lost Hitchens

Postby Mitsukara » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:59 pm

Another reason some religious people latch onto the idea, judging from things my parents once said, is because they feel like atheism is some sort of denial or error, and like every person "knows" underneath it that god/the bible/xenu/the flying spaghetti tentacle monster is real, and that it leaks through when they actually face the end and that they start begging for forgiveness (which, god being all-forgiving and all- just ask Lot's salty wife- is presumably granted).

Suffice it to say I do not hold with my parents' beliefs on these matters.

(Incidentally, I think a reasonable argument could be made that the old testament alone suggests he is none of those three things.)
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Re: We lost Hitchens

Postby Idiot Glee » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:22 pm

Two droll thoughts...

One, Lot and his daughters are hung over in the cave, and Lot comments that his wife "always had a salty tongue."

Two, Hopefully religious fundamentalism won't get off without the Hitch.
Hello!

And, "One thing there's no getting by—
I've been a wicked girl," said I;
"But if I can't be sorry, why,
I might as well be glad!"

-Millay
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