Saturday, July 17, 2010

Christopher Hitchens and Cheap Grief

Abbey-Roads' Terry Nelson reads a two-day-old post of mine — No Prayer Requests for Christopher Hitchens Here — and says what I wanted to say better than could ever have hoped to — Wind beneath their wings... An excerpt:
    Of course there is nothing wrong with praying for him, but I wonder why it has to be a big public cause? If God brought the man to a fantastic and wonderful public conversion, would we all say it was our prayers or God's mercy that made it happen? Would the good guys congratulate themselves somehow? On the other hand, if Hitchens shows no sign of repentance or faith, does that mean the pray-ers lost and that Hitchens is lost too? Do people really care, I mean deeply and profoundly care? I know several people who hate the Catholic Church, who claim to be atheist - no one else knows them - do they get prayed for? Atheists are bashed all the time on blogs, along with apostate Catholics - do we suggest praying for them? Oh perhaps as a matter of course - after we trashed the hell out of them, then we add, "Of course we must pray for them".

    See, we'll bash other people to bits and pieces, just about condemning them to hell - and then when they get sick or in trouble, all the holier than thou people call out for prayer campaigns. I get it - but do the other folks in the world who think all religious people are a bunch of hypocrites anyway, get it? We end up looking pretty inconsistent. Pious platitudes today, condemning the reprobates tomorrow.
Rod Dreher posts an excerpt from an interview with the man himself "about people who have been praying for him" — The graceful Christopher Hitchens. Hitch:
    Well look, I mean, I think that prayer and holy water, and things like that are all fine. They don't do any good, but they don't necessarily do any harm. It's touching to be thought of in that way. It makes up for those who tell me that I've got my just desserts. It's, I'm afraid to say it's almost as well-founded an idea. I mean, I don't, they don't know whether prayer will work, and they don't know whether I've come by this because I'm a sinner.
"I have to say there's some extremely nice people, including people known to you, have said that I'm in their prayers, and I can only say that I'm touched by the thought," says the über-atheist. And then Mr. Dreher has to ruin it all by saying, "It makes me sad to think that we could lose Hitchens to this cancer." Just who is this "we [who] could lose Hitchens"? The blogosphere? The global community? C'mon. None of us have even met this guy. (Doesn't anybody remember the old song — Strangers Die Everyday -- Butthole Surfers?) That's the sentiment that bugs me. Cheap grief.

That duly noted, I harbor no ill will toward the man. Heck, I'd much rather sit down to a drink with Mr. Hitchens than with Mr. Dreher. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the neocon atheist. I thoroughly enjoyed his debate with his brother Peter — Brothers Debate. This is a man who said, "I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian" — Christopher Hitchens on Christian Orthodoxy. I once "salute[d] The Purest Neocon for 'submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantánamo and elsewhere'" and concluding that "if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture" — Christopher Hitchens Tortured. I've even had a prayer request for him before, not for his health but to help him further his cause — Pray for Hitch.

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Anonymous Tom Piatak said...

"Gracious" is the last word I'd think to apply to a man who said of Mother Teresa, "I wish there was a hell for the bitch to go to," and who has penned vicious obituaries of Mother Teresa, John Paul II, Jerry Falwell, Ronald Reagan, and even Bob Hope. But, then again, I'm probably underestimating the appeal Hitchens' anti-Catholicism has for Rod Dreher.

3:11 AM  

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