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Topic: Christopher Hitchens has died

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Subject: Christopher Hitchens has died
Date Posted: 12/16/2011 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/18/2005
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Thursday December 15, 2011 from esophageal cancer. Sad that his voice has been silenced, but he has an amazing catalogue of work.

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/christopher-hitchens/graydon-201112 

Date Posted: 12/21/2011 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
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Reposting my thoughts from the Hitchens thread in CMT:

I have really mixed feelings about Hitchens. As a confirmed agnostic I certainly support his takedown of Mother Theresa and her ilk. As Barb said, her order praying for him is good PR; it also costs them nothing whatsoever. OTOH he has always struck me as one of those "militant" atheists that religious people are always complaining about; in his case I think they had a point. Many on the left, including yours truly felt he had gone over to the dark side with his enthusiastic support for the disastrous and ridiculous Iraq war; OTOH as far as I know he was the only prominent Iraq war supporter to voluntarily undergo "enhanced interrogation" aka torture, in his case waterboarding. Although he was not the only one to say what's the big deal he was the only one to put his money where his mouth was on that issue. [BTW he was given a way to signal that he couldn't continue, unlike every other waterboardee; and he reported that he had thought he would be able to take it for at least 30 seconds but as it turned out he only lasted six.] RIP Christopher Hitchens, some people will miss you and sometimes I will be one of them.

Date Posted: 1/15/2012 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
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I always found his brand of in-your-face athiesm a bit of a turn-off, but I still respected this thoughts,. It is sad that he is gone, but his legacy and work will live on long after him.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/16/2012 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Hitchens was absolutely my favorite nonfiction writer.  I don't think there was anyone in the world who was better read than he was, and I loved all his writing style, even though it made me feel positively stupid sometimes.  I personally had a rough time coming out of my fundamentalist Baptist background, and that probably sent me to the other extreme, so I really appreciated the confrontational and contrarian style of Hitchens.  I've read eight of his books, as well as numerous essays and book reviews.  

I was never clear on how far his support for the war in Iraq went.  Most of his writing on the topic seemed to refer to the Saddam Hussein regime...this I can understand, as made graphically clear by his description the exhumation of a mass grave he witnessed in Iraq.  He knew better than most what a dictator exploiting religion was capable of.  Obviously this hardly applies once Hussein was executed.

Date Posted: 1/16/2012 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
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Here is Hitchens explaining his Iraq war position as of the fifth anniversary of "Shock and Awe." He was still unrepentant at that point. Sad to say Hitchens lent liberal cover to this both hare-brained and murderous scheme.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/17/2012 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Interesting.  

Date Posted: 7/1/2012 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
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I'm not sure why Christopher Hitchens had this reputation as a 'militant atheist' - was he more so than Sam Harris, Michael Parenti, and Richard Dawkins, for instance? Does this mean he was supposed to decline all those invitations/challenges to defend his ideas in public debate, and that atheists are somehow supposed to shut up about what they think, while religious persons of various persuasions are free to go around making nuisances of themselves in public and private? At the end of Chapter One (Putting It Mildly) of God Is Not Great,  Hitchens makes clear that he will respect other people's religious practices: "And as it happens, I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition --- which is that they in turn leave me alone. But this, religion is ultimately incapable of doing." So apparently religious pesons are allowed to nag at the rest of us, as if we were too dim to have thought about all this already, while atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists are supposed to be quiet, even when asked what we think. Sigh!

Date Posted: 7/2/2012 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Oh,  Margaret......you KNOW what happens when you (the dissenter) does reply when asked about what he or she thinks-----

Personally, I have gotten so weary of the onslaught that then ensues from the religious orthodox _(name of your questioner's "faith" affiliation) who asked me my views, that I just say I won't discuss it with him/her.   And, refuse to say anything further, when the inevitable "Why?" is put to me.



Last Edited on: 7/2/12 5:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/3/2012 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
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I guess this means that what their god gave them was a License to Nag. (And the heathen are only allowed to practice Christian tolerance?)

Date Posted: 7/4/2012 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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I hear you, Margaret.    But rather than compliment myself on being 'tolerant' in one of those unpleasant situations such as you described, I think I'd rather call it my "choice" to remain silent, thereby precluding the antagonistic exchange that (almost inevitably) follows......okay?   (Besides, that tactic tends to drive your "missionary-minded" conversant nuts!  heh heh heh)

Date Posted: 7/6/2012 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
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True indeed - sort of the religious-discussion (or not) version of 'Smile - it makes them wonder what you've been up to.'?

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 7/7/2012 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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To me one of the huge differences between religion and atheism (and one of the arguments against atheism being a religion) is that all religions that I know of are required to testify to other people and try to spread their message. Their tenets tell them they have to, and a lot of people take that seriously, Of course not all bother but it is in the scriptures that they are to do it. Atheists couldn't give a damn whether anyone else ever becomes an atheist. I would love to see people throw off the shackles of organized religion that is only out for it's self and is a business rather than anything 'holy' but I have nothing against anyone believing in a god. 

Date Posted: 10/14/2012 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
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I was never clear on how far his support for the war in Iraq went.  Most of his writing on the topic seemed to refer to the Saddam Hussein regime...this I can understand, as made graphically clear by his description the exhumation of a mass grave he witnessed in Iraq.  He knew better than most what a dictator exploiting religion was capable of.  Obviously this hardly applies once Hussein was executed.

The thing is that Hussein, while he was indeed a nasty dictator, was thoroughly secular and did not exploit religion. In fact, far from colluding with al-Qaeda in the 9/11 plot as the propaganda-mongers of the W administration would have had us believe, he never trusted them and they in turn hated him.