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Teresa, Bright and Dark - Comments

sane1's Avatar Comment 1 by sane1

How frickin credulous do you need to be to consider this Teresa story as more evidence of the existence of jesus, etc???

I feel sory for the flock, and it looks like hitchens has discovered a tender spot for M Teresa too.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 14:29:00 UTC | #62899

AnthSynthasome's Avatar Comment 2 by AnthSynthasome

Dare I say, no one could have made a better Devil's Advocate for Mama Teresa than Hitch; his argument cuts like a knife.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 14:31:00 UTC | #62900

dazzjazz's Avatar Comment 3 by dazzjazz

Did I read this correctly - is Hitch anti-abortion?

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 14:41:00 UTC | #62902

pete's Avatar Comment 4 by pete

dazzjazz wrote: "Did I read this correctly - is Hitch anti-abortion?"

It's hard to tell conclusively from this article. Still, I would be inclined to think that Hitch is libertarian enough to think that, as horrible as abortion is, government involvement in womens' reproductive affairs is far worse.

Either way, I'd love to hear more of his thoughts on abortion.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 14:52:00 UTC | #62907

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 5 by robotaholic

Nice read except for one thing....being educated about the catholoc orthodoxy with priests, fathers, popes, orders, etc... makes me icky inside.

Also, about Theresa, I'd just let her and her controversy die down...who cares she was catholic, who cares she lost her faith or w/e, just let the old lady alone...everytime someone famous dies, it's like vulture time from all the talking heads...just let this one alone for goodness sake.

Oh and I declare myself a saint too...will someone in the universal life church confirm me? lol

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:09:00 UTC | #62910

LordSummerisle's Avatar Comment 6 by LordSummerisle

Hitch touches abortion shortly in "god Is Not Great", in which he essentially states that while he considers the termination of human life to be appalling, he is firmly pro-choice.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:18:00 UTC | #62912

The author's Avatar Comment 7 by The author

"regard abortion as an abomination (and, if it matters, I concur)"

Why, in the name of reason!? Hitchens was always entirely convincing for me (even, after reading his books and essays about it, concerning Iraq). But what secular, sensible reason could there possibly be against abortion?

I think it should be entirely legalized without any confinement. Let's face it: Embryos do not consciously feel any pain. In this state, they are just a bunch of cells, so it should be up to the mothers - who of course have an emotional connection even to their embryos - whether to abort them or not.

But I can tell you, who DO feels pain: Raped mothers who may not abort - or in fact any mother who didn't want to get pregnant. After all: Would you want do be an unwanted child?

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:28:00 UTC | #62913

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 8 by Bonzai

The author wrote:

"regard abortion as an abomination (and, if it matters, I concur)"

Why, in the name of reason!? Hitchens was always entirely convincing for me (even, after reading his books and essays about it, concerning Iraq). But what secular, sensible reason could there possibly be against abortion?


Well maybe it would make sense if you read the whole sentence, which is "Every Catholic is supposed to regard abortion as an abomination (and, if it matters, I concur)."

So he was saying that he concurred according to Catholic doctrines any self described Catholic should regard abortion as an abomination. I think he was making an offhand criticism to the inconsistency of "liberal Catholics" who on the one hand, claim they subscribe to Catholicism while at the same time pro choice and support other liberal social agendas.

Logically one cannot tell whether Hitchens himself is pro choice or not from this sentence alone, but he probably is judging from his other writings.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:36:00 UTC | #62917

Icculus's Avatar Comment 9 by Icculus

I think the most firm pro-choice supporter can still say that abortion is an abomination. While the language may seem strong, no one wants people to have abortions, as the desired outcome would be no unwanted pregnancies. Mistakes occur, and sometimes people need to make a choice. Even when the choice to abort is objectively the right one, it is never easy, and those involved are forever changed. So yes, abortion is an ugly thing, but so are many of the choices we make, and are entitled to make.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:44:00 UTC | #62918

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 10 by Bonzai

Re: abortion is an abomination

People, read Hitchens' sentence again and read the whole sentence , for Pete's sake.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:46:00 UTC | #62919

LeeLeeOne's Avatar Comment 11 by LeeLeeOne

Please, for the love of reasoned, educated, and insightful thoughts that are regularly (albeit not consistently) posted on this site, do not "pick an agenda", i.e., abortion. Yes, Hitchens may or may not agree that abortion is an "abomination." Yes, Hitchens may or many not agree with "pro-choice" or "pro-life" stance.

What Hitchens is TEACHING all of us is to think FOR OURSELVES in this entire article! Can anyone else see this?!

BTW: Pro-choice does NOT mean pro-abortion! There is a HUGE difference! Does ANYONE understand?!

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 15:53:00 UTC | #62922

BlaiddDrwg's Avatar Comment 12 by BlaiddDrwg

I agree with LeeLeeOne. I thought this article was a much more sensitive assessment of Mother Teresa's crisis of faith than I had expected from Christopher Hitchens, yet everyone has grabbed on to a single statement and turned it into the sole focus of the discussion. Personally, I don't care if anyone approves or disapproves of abortion as long as they don't try to legislate their opinions on others. Let's try to stay on topic and discuss the article.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 16:39:00 UTC | #62940

The author's Avatar Comment 13 by The author

@Bonzai: "Well maybe it would make sense if you read the whole sentence"

Sorry, you seem to be wrong here, because, as
LordSummerisle notes:
"Hitch touches abortion shortly in "god Is Not Great", in which he essentially states that while he considers the termination of human life to be appalling, he is firmly pro-choice."

Which means that Hitchens considers embryos as "human life" which I do not. Embroys are a bunch of cells.

@Icculus:
"it is never easy, and those involved are forever changed. So yes, abortion is an ugly thing"

In that sense, yes. But it is not an ugly thing because of the embryo.

@LeeLeeOne:
"What Hitchens is TEACHING all of us is to think FOR OURSELVES in this entire article!"

I'm clearly in favor of Hitchens. Everyone can be wrong on an issue, I constantly detect misstakes and inconsistencies in my own views, that's quite ok if one is willing to change wrong views as soon as identified. I'm certainly not planning any agenda against Hitchens, I'm quite a fan actually. But he's wrong there, as far as I can tell.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 16:41:00 UTC | #62941

dancingthemantaray's Avatar Comment 14 by dancingthemantaray

"as horrible as abortion is"

abortion is not horrible, it is a fundamental tennent of equality. If a woman doesn't have control over what happens to her own body (and, of course, what she does for the entire rest of her life) what rights does she have?

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 16:44:00 UTC | #62943

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 15 by BigJohn

Of course Hitch is against abortion. Any logical, thinking person must be against abortion. It requires a strong dose of liberal dogma to find abortion acceptable. There are few legitimate reasons to kill a human being. Most are decided by society as a whole. Abortion is not. I can agree with abortion as a reason to kill a human only after long discussion and debate in reasonable, non-dogmatic terms.

I wish I knew Hitchens' reasoning behind his anti-abortion stance.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 16:52:00 UTC | #62945

dancingthemantaray's Avatar Comment 16 by dancingthemantaray

"Any logical, thinking person must be against abortion"

who, then, is the victim of abortion? Who gets hurt?

Leaving aside the more controversial ends of abortion (late term partial births etc) how is removing an unfeeling cluster of cells better than forcing a woman to undergo massive physical hardship and pain for 9 months and then (potentially) having to serve a life sentence for a child she didn't want. How is having unwanted life better?

Abortion benefits society and is neccessary for equality

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 16:56:00 UTC | #62947

Duff's Avatar Comment 17 by Duff

Big John,
You...how shall I say this...you, moron! It is not your right to tell any woman what she should do with her body. Your childish concept of a woman "killing a human being" inside her body is a moronic attempt to retain control over women. Give it up, genius. It's not your decision. More and more, these kinds of decisions are not going to be made by politicians and red-necks like you.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 17:25:00 UTC | #62958

Fire1974's Avatar Comment 18 by Fire1974

Hitchens is not alone among the "Four Horsemen of the Counter-apocalypse" to be disenchanted with the idea of a woman in a situation where she feels it necessary to destroy her fetus. Sam Harris finds it an "ugly reality" and so do I.
However, if you are Pro-Choice, you think that the government (much less the church) should never have authority in her decision, and so do I. But I think we can all agree having an abortion is never a pleasant experience emotionally or physically for her and, says Harris, "we should all hope for [scientific] advances in contraception that will make it unnecessary."
They also write that whatever sympathy for or understanding of the fetus we may gain, it will be by the light of science and reason (not faith) that makes that possible, as it has already with sonar imaging.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 17:37:00 UTC | #62962

BAEOZ's Avatar Comment 19 by BAEOZ

BigJohn:

Any logical, thinking person must be against abortion. It requires a strong dose of liberal dogma to find abortion acceptable. There are few legitimate reasons to kill a human being.

And that in a nutshell is why the abortion debate gets derailed. Equivocation, a human embryo and early stage fetus in now way can be termed a child or human being. It may be said to be a human becoming if you want to be cute. It can't feel pain, think or do anything a human being can be said to do. And if you wish to compare it to a disabled or brain damaged person, because they may not think or feel pain, then that won't wash either, because a disabled person can and does survive outside of his/her mothers womb. A 3 month fetus can't. They generally turn the machine off when an unfortunate person can't think (brain dead) and can't survive without a respirator for good reason.
You need reason to debate ethics, not equivocation of comparing a glump of cells with potential to be a child with a real child.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 17:52:00 UTC | #62966

yoyo's Avatar Comment 20 by yoyo

Having, or being, an unwanted child is the abomination. Unless the meaning attributed by Bonzai is correct, this has to be one of the stupidist things Hitchens has said since anything he's written about Iraq

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 18:11:00 UTC | #62969

eoinc's Avatar Comment 21 by eoinc

"Every Catholic is supposed to regard abortion as an abomination (and, if it matters, I concur)."

Does that mean:

(a) I concur that abortion is an abomination

or

(b) I concur that Catholics are supposed to regard abortion as an abomination.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 18:35:00 UTC | #62975

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 22 by Bonzai

Actually I checked it out, Hitchens is against abortion though he apparently has a different reason than the usual fetus = baby argument. He also agrees that ultimately the woman should decide.

But I still maintain that one couldn't have known by that sentence alone, he wasn't very clear in what he "concurred with", that "abortion is an abomination" or that "Catholics should agree that abortion is an abomination"

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 18:37:00 UTC | #62977

Shuggy's Avatar Comment 23 by Shuggy

There ought to be a better term than "topic drift". As usual, here we have a topic stampede, or a topic deviation, or a topic loss, or a topic escape.

It occurs to me that the very word "abortion" is too ambiguous because pregnancy includes everything from zygote to crowning. Most reasonable people would have no trouble with "aborting" a non-implanted zygote (or even, conveniently, define pregnancy to begin at implantation). And most reasonable people would object to "aborting" after labour had started. (Me, I think Roe vs Wade got it about right, and I'm with Hillary Clinton that "abortion should be safe, legal and rare", to which I would add, EARLY)

Now, back to Mother T. What a pity she never confided her doubts to someone brave enough to say, "You're perfectly right, Jesus is not present in the Eucharist, nor anywhere else, and God is not answering your prayers because he isn't there. Welcome to reality, now how are you going to get funding for your good works?, because they're still good." (insofar as they were, which CH casts considerable doubt on.)

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 18:39:00 UTC | #62978

Veronique's Avatar Comment 24 by Veronique

I wasn't going to either read the article or comment on this. It seemed so ho hum. But I clicked and read the Hitch. My eye was caught by this:

that it is the inevitable result of a dogma that asks people to believe impossible things and then makes them feel abject and guilty when their innate reason rebels

Beautifully put!!

At the risk of upsetting those on this thread that think that abortion has hijacked the on- topic comments, this happens all the time. Commenting is an organic process that touches the nerves of people and comments become fractured. All very normal, I would have thought.

I can't, for the life of me, see this as a problem. Skim over the comments you don't want to read and post your own comment that may or may not have anything to do with other posters or the article being commented on.

I, like everyone here, have been caught up in commenting on comments. I also comment on the article that spawned the comments. I also spit the dummy at the religites who post here. I try to reason with them, then spit the dummy:-).

We are an eclectic group of people who like to have our own say. So be it. I enjoy this and obviously so do others. This site is terrific in that no moderator edits the comments. It's a free-for-all. Wonderful!!

Right – having got that out of the way, I want to comment on abortion (hahaha):-).

I want to know why these words and phrases have been used in relation to abortion:

Horrible as abortion is
Termination … to be appalling
Abortion as an abomination
Abortion is an ugly thing
Any logical thinking person must be against abortion
Ugly reality

They sound like words from a long buried mantra. At best it's the apologist's stance. What for, I would like to know.

It's called a surgical procedure. See, no loaded words there. Some women handle it well, others (and I would suspect they have feelings of inculcated guilt) not so well.

It's the words and phrases that are listed above, that keep this decision that women should be entirely free to make for themselves, clouded unnecessarily in more emotion than is needed.

Get over it, you lot. Shuggy, yoyo, BAEOZ, Duff, Mantaray, LeeLeeOne, The Author and others see the issue far more clearly. The rest of you (and Hitch) need to use Jiff on the windows of your minds.

Back to MT. Poor bloody woman. Hitch is more understanding in this article, less vituperative. I even find myself doing a bit more charitable thinking about her. I cannot imagine living a life wracked by such fundamental doubt while desperately trying to a beacon of internal light to sustain me.

Poor, deluded, unhappy woman. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. Her damned mentors and spiritual advisers aren't even ashamed of themselves. Then to foist sainthood on her memory so that others, in the same boat, will use her memory to try to convince themselves that they can sustain a belief in the unbelievable is worse than criminal.

RIP, MT.

V

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 20:01:00 UTC | #62989

82abhilash's Avatar Comment 25 by 82abhilash

Everyone seems to be taken up on by Hitchen's abortion stance. Well here is his argument against it, 'Hitchen's opposes abortion on materialistic grounds: human life has to begin at some point, and there is no non-arbitrary way to determine that it begins at a point after conception but before birth.' It seems pragmatic to me. It is very difficult to determine which point we are talking of a fetus and which point it becomes a baby. Is a viable fetus a baby?

By its very nature it is an unpleasant decision to make, at least. While I am sure no one here would advocate a blanket ban on abortion, some check and balance system would be a good idea to ensure that unwanted pregnancies are prevented rather than terminated.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 21:09:00 UTC | #62996

82abhilash's Avatar Comment 26 by 82abhilash

Hitchens is interpreting old data in light of new evidence, which makes sense. I think that perhaps now at least the ordinary people on both sides can lay the issue to rest.

She was not a cunning charlatan, nor was she a saint. She was just an ordinary woman who tried and failed to live and work sincerely by her catholic faith. Some of us where taken in by the charm and some where not. There is nothing more to that. It is time for us to let this one go. Unless of course the catholic church tries to bring it up again.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 21:27:00 UTC | #62998

Veronique's Avatar Comment 27 by Veronique

25. Comment #66383 by 82abhilash

By its very nature it is an unpleasant decision to make, at least. While I am sure no one here would advocate a blanket ban on abortion, some check and balance system would be a good idea to ensure that unwanted pregnancies are prevented rather than terminated


Unpleasant eh? Try telling that to a woman who, because of religious interference and being part of a male-dominated society, isn't able to insist on condom usage or, indeed on no sex. Her reaction is more likely: 'Oh no, not again!!' She has had to have 5,6,7 or more babies that she can't look after or who are going to die of AIDS/HIV or simply malnutrition. The ability to seek a safe abortion is a blessing. Unpleasant doesn't even enter into the equation.

Trust me, I am a compassionate woman and am not blinded by any airy fairy fucking concepts of what other people think women go through. I am sick of this pretend pandering to PC mouthings. I have been through this BS myself and I am utterly unimpressed with the sycophantic PC ramblings of white dominant peoples. Sorry, you got it in the throat. I am not having a go at you per se, just at the way you use words without thinking of what they actually convey.

Last year, according to the UN, 67,000 women died as a result of having to seek back-yard abortions that induced septicaemia or being forced to have babies that they had no possibility of bringing to full term. This figure also includes women who desperately utilised age-old birth control measures (that include knitting needles and gin baths) that didn't work and ultimately contributed to their deaths.

Of course we would all like to see preventive measures available to ALL women, but that just doesn't happen. The Mother Grundys and religites see to that, god rot them!

In some of our Aboriginal communities (in the past), the men took it upon themselves to introduce a hole into their penises so that the sperm would flow out of the introduced hole rather than into the women's vaginas. They were hunters and gatherers and couldn't afford large populations while travelling in this very bare land. The women had other means to induce abortions. By and large these methods worked. They certainly didn't overburden this country with a burgeoning population. They contained themselves to the environment they had lived in for between 40,000 to 60,000 years (no one knows exactly when they arrived here over the land bridge).

Unlike us who commandeered this land and disenfranchised (ie killed) them and continue to do so despite the bleatings of our control freak politicians. Now we have whites seducing young aboriginal children with petrol sniffing and alcohol in order to sexually abuse these black CHILDREN – some under the age of 2. Are you not outraged? Of course you are.

Now they have been 'citified', they have lost a lot of their own cultural imperatives (and we whites have given them a terrific alternative culture to aspire to!! Not!!) to the detriment of their continued cultures. Their birth numbers are on the rise (as are their death numbers) and no one gives a damn.

So don't try to tell me that a decision to abort is being unpleasant. The decision is reached because it is necessary. That's it. Lock, stock and barrel. Women who bleat about how traumatised they were reaching such a decision have been sucked into the prevailing PC culture that dictates 'you must have been traumatised'. Answer: 'Oh yes, you will never know how much soul-searching I went through.' All bollocks!!

This one, you realise, grabs my passion:-).
Cheers
V

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 22:00:00 UTC | #63001

Canuck#1's Avatar Comment 28 by Canuck#1

Ican sympathize with MT, having been there....attending Bible school...praying in public...preaching...,doing it because it was expected...because all my friends were church friends....because my parents were so proud...and it was HELL....eventually, not having to worry about sainthood or a watching world, I walked away....but even for me that was difficult...the only remnant being a Christian wife who loves me in spite of my atheism...

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 22:31:00 UTC | #63009

Ben Jennings's Avatar Comment 29 by Ben Jennings

To my knowledge, Hitch is of the "abortion should be free, legal and extremely rare" persuasion.

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 22:47:00 UTC | #63015

Richard Morgan's Avatar Comment 30 by Richard Morgan

Every Catholic is supposed to regard abortion as an abomination (and, if it matters, I concur).
Mister Hitchens, if you really thought it didn't matter you wouldn't have bothered adding the two words "I concur" to your article. You can't make us believe that you are so naïve as to imagine that "I concur" is just a throw-away! Aw come on, Hitch!
...and then makes them feel abject and guilty when their innate reason rebels.
Whilst recent research seems to be acquiring evidence that some aspects of the "reasoning" faculty could well be "innate" (i.e. genetically transmitted) I feel that it this is an unfortunate choice of adjective. Not wishing to go back to the nature/nurture debate, it is still far from clear that "reason" is "innate".

Wed, 29 Aug 2007 23:03:00 UTC | #63019