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Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

Cast a cold Eye / On Life, on Death. / Horseman, pass by.


Thu, 02 Sep 2010 17:44:47 UTC | #510028

Ode2Hitch's Avatar Comment 2 by Ode2Hitch

Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins :

Cast a cold Eye / On Life, on Death. / Horseman, pass by.


Very apt.

It was also encouraging to hear of Francis Collins spending personal time with CH and his family. One thing I think can be assured is that Hitch will have the cream of the medical profession assisting his current predicament. I think it also worth noting the number of his 'opponents' currently stating their admiration for his stoicism and indeed for the man himself, long may he continue.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:14:50 UTC | #510056

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 3 by AtheistEgbert

My neighbour smoked like a chimney for years and survived throat cancer. He's now in his 90s, and happily potters around the garden and is as independent as ever.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:18:34 UTC | #510058

Reginald's Avatar Comment 4 by Reginald

I wonder if at least some Christians feel empowered by the fact that they are going to pray for one's recovery, whether you like it or not; in other words, they are in control of your destiny, or at least that of your "soul". This makes them feel powerful. This is what Nietzsche said anyway.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:25:11 UTC | #510067

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 5 by SomersetJohn

Francis Collins, decent human first, theist second. Definite credit to the human race.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:29:05 UTC | #510071

helena!'s Avatar Comment 6 by helena!

Will this article be printed in the Oct issue of VF?

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:47:50 UTC | #510092

Disbelief's Avatar Comment 7 by Disbelief

What a brave man

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 19:30:28 UTC | #510129

Rob Schneider's Avatar Comment 8 by Rob Schneider

Un-Believable! Hitchens has always seemed to me to be the most articulate debater, terse writer and brilliant logician. To see him write so beautifully, clearly and compactly in the face of his own (potentially early) death, is awe inspiring.

This is some of the best writing I have ever seen. Every thought cascades from the previous, and the whole wraps up with a perfect rebuff to the prayerful.

What a class act. Here's to another 30 years of Hitchen's writing!!

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 19:33:55 UTC | #510134

The Plc's Avatar Comment 9 by The Plc

at Archbold, at the National Catholic Register, and Deacon Greg Kandra were among the Roman Catholics who thought me a worthy object of prayer. Rabbi David Wolpe, author of Why Faith Matters and the leader of a major congregation in Los Angeles, said the same. He has been a debating partner of mine, as have several Protestant evangelical conservatives like Pastor Douglas Wilson of the New St. Andrews College and Larry Taunton of the Fixed Point Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama.

Easily the most pathetic and fearful apologist for religion that Hitchens has debated. He really is an embarrassment of a grown man.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 19:35:55 UTC | #510136

robaylesbury's Avatar Comment 10 by robaylesbury

He just get's better and better. Has the light of reason ever burnt brighter?

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 19:50:13 UTC | #510144

Ai Deng's Avatar Comment 11 by Ai Deng

Damn can he write!

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 19:52:31 UTC | #510147

Delsolar16's Avatar Comment 12 by Delsolar16

How much longer is he expected to live? Have any doctors estimated on this?

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 20:29:17 UTC | #510176

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 13 by nancynancy

What a terrific article! I hope you will continue to write many, many more.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 20:33:37 UTC | #510178

Tiende Landeplage's Avatar Comment 14 by Tiende Landeplage

Hitch manages to top himself with each piece of writing. What a corker of a finish:

A different secular problem also occurs to me: what if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating.

Late in life, Luis Buñuel (”I’m an atheist, thank God”) gleefully told interviewers of a cruel prank he planned to pull on his friends: On his deathbed, he would shock them by pretending to be converted to Christianity and ”make his peace with God”! However, when the time came, I’m reasonably certain, he did nothing of the sort.

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 21:25:57 UTC | #510206

Nyarlat's Avatar Comment 15 by Nyarlat

  • And death shall have no dominion.
  • Dead men naked they shall be one
  • With the man in the wind and the west moon;
  • When their bones are picked clean and the clean bonesgone,
  • They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
  • Though they go mad they shall be sane,
  • Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again
  • Though lovers be lost love shall not;
  • And death shall have no dominion.
  • Dylan Thomas (This gives me the creeps every time I here or read it.)

    I would very much like Mr. Hitchens to be around for a little longer.

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 21:41:53 UTC | #510213

    Yvette1108's Avatar Comment 16 by Yvette1108

    The religious will most certainly gloat either way. If cancer kills him, they will say he deserved it and it was god's wrath. If he survives it, they will claim their prayers saved him.

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 21:42:40 UTC | #510215

    Stevehill's Avatar Comment 17 by Stevehill

    Hitch, I will never pray for you. Nor did I pray for my first wife who spent three months dying (quite horribly) from an "unknown primary" cancer - about as bad as it gets in terms of survivability. And she would have killed me if I did.

    Her mother, in her 70s, and a sort of born-again-Christian-lite, announced to me one day that her church had prayed for "intercession" with my wife. Events took their course, she died anyway, mother-in-law was distraught and did not attend church for a while. She met a fellow congregationalist in the street who asked how her daughter was getting on: the priest had not bothered to tell the congregation their prayers were useless, and that they might think about passing their condolences on to my mother-in-law. Better to leave them hoping their prayers worked, weeks after the funeral.

    My mother-in-law has not returned to church since. I'd call that a result.

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 22:02:19 UTC | #510225

    frax71's Avatar Comment 18 by frax71

    A wonderful eloquent article,knocks into "a cocked hat" the hateful ill educated crap from gods faithful does'nt it

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 22:04:02 UTC | #510226

    keithapm's Avatar Comment 19 by keithapm

    I've always hoped that someday I'll be as good a writer as Hitchens. Here I am, in what could be considered the prime of my life and I have thus far been unable to render a sentence comparable to any of his. Then he writes this piece, battling all the while a wretched and potentially fatal disease, and yet still manages to be more eloquent and insightful then ever before. Always an inspiration, Hitch.

    The words of a short poem have just occurred to me, one which I've long earmarked for my funeral. Partly for the kick I get out of imagining it being read at the service, and partly because if the smile I know it will bring to the lips of my friends and family.

    A Fragment of Seneca, Translated by John Wilmot

    After death nothing is, and nothing death, The utmost limit of a gasp of breath. Let the ambitious zealot lay aside His hope of heaven, whose faith is but his pride; Let slavish souls lay by their fear Nor be concerned which way nor where After this life they shall be hurled. Dead, we become the lumber of the world, And unto that mass of matter shall be swept Where things destroyed with things unborn are kept. Devouring time swallows us whole. Impartial death confounds body and soul. For Hell and the fiery fiend that rules God's everlasting fiery jails (Devised by rogues, dreaded by fools), With grim, grisly dog that keeps the door, Are senseless stories, idle tales, Dreams, whimsey's, and no more. 

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 22:20:07 UTC | #510239

    Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 20 by Rich Wiltshir

    @ Stevehill

    Both Hitch's and your tales' remind me of my wife. She died of cancer in 3 months ago, today, and was true to herself to the end; always caring about others, seeing herself as secondary - though she knew the battle was a losing one, she lost on her terms, in her way, leaving wonderful memories and no regrets (for most of us anyway; some are selfish with their grief, and that injures the rest of us)

    Her mother's church priest didn't visit, neither did the small audience from that rancid place. But we're closer in our grief and pride; Jan's mother and brother and family.

    I doubt that Christopher Hitchens thinks he's brave. His words show what's important; family! Al else seems to be in service of what's important; he'll not let go of the man that he is.

    Despite the waves assail me each time I read of Hitch, I'm feel better doing so. And hope you do too. His family have every reason to be proud of Christopher Hitchens!

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 22:59:37 UTC | #510264

    Alive's Avatar Comment 21 by Alive

    Good luck Christopher I really do hope you get better. Those people who say you deserve cancer are beneath contempt and are despicable. In fact there are no words that can fully describe what I feel about them.

    I do believe in God, however, and I wanted to write that I won't pray for you because you don't believe, but can't help it. How about I say a few just to back it both ways?

    Keep your chin up. x

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 23:12:28 UTC | #510271

    mordacious1's Avatar Comment 22 by mordacious1

    Comment 3 by AtheistEgbert

    My neighbour smoked like a chimney for years and survived throat cancer. He's now in his 90s, and happily potters around the garden and is as independent as ever.

    Not to burst your bubble, but stage 1 throat cancer has a 5 year survival rate of 90%, esophageal cancer (the one Hitch has) has a 5 ysr of less than 5%. It's a killer. His only chance is that he is getting the best care science can currently provide. I wish him luck.

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 23:12:39 UTC | #510272

    mordacious1's Avatar Comment 23 by mordacious1

    Comment 21 by Alive

    If you really want to help, why not donate to The American Cancer Society. Praying is useless, paying is helpful.

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 23:19:15 UTC | #510277

    Alive's Avatar Comment 24 by Alive

    Mordacious I do donate already to a cancer charity. I agree with you it is important to do so.

    Thu, 02 Sep 2010 23:32:18 UTC | #510285

    dochmbi1's Avatar Comment 25 by dochmbi1

    If causing pain is evil, then causing infinite pain is infinite evil, therefore if God puts even one person in Hell, then he is infinitely evil.

    Also, there can be no finite crime great enough to justify infinite punishment.

    Updated: Thu, 02 Sep 2010 23:50:51 UTC | #510291

    Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 26 by Ignorant Amos

    Reading that fine piece, I can't help but feel for CH's dilemma of multiple "Catch 22" scenarios...and to think we ourselves maybe adding to this discomfort is a bit disconcerting.

    Fri, 03 Sep 2010 00:49:48 UTC | #510315

    Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 27 by Ignorant Amos

    Comment Removed by Author

    Fri, 03 Sep 2010 00:50:18 UTC | #510316

    Mention's Avatar Comment 28 by Mention

    his name is not chrisophter

    Fri, 03 Sep 2010 02:35:59 UTC | #510357

    Josef79's Avatar Comment 29 by Josef79

    Christian love for human suffering is all there is to the maligners of Hitchen's plight

    Fri, 03 Sep 2010 03:25:53 UTC | #510367

    zengardener's Avatar Comment 30 by zengardener

    what if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating.

    No more irritating than the fact that they continue to exist. Besides, if you beat this you might make them irritated that they prayed for you at all.

    Fri, 03 Sep 2010 04:16:48 UTC | #510372