Friday, December 16, 2011

RIP Christopher Hitchens

The average world IQ has dropped a few points. Our bard, hero, and champion of rationality, Christopher Hitchens, is dead. I repeat, Superman is dead. This was a sentiment echoed across the rationalist, intellectual communities, last night and this morning. And it is with a heavy heart that I write this. While I understood the survival rate of esophageal cancer, and this may be a remnant of my believer upbringing, I never gave up hope. While being a real human being requires one to be acquainted with death, who I know far better than I ever wanted, there is no preparing for such things — regardless that we "knew" this day was coming for quite some time.

As I glance at my book shelf, I see God is not Great, No One Left to Lie To, and Is Christianity GOOD for the World?. Memories of the fear that yellow book instilled, in religious people, flood into my mind: E.g., my father in law putting it down because it made "too much sense."

It wasn't more than a few weeks ago that I was lamenting, on the sad fact, that most of my heroes are dead. But Hitchens's arguments will never die. For his body of work is a treasure trove of quotes and great writing, which are always the first weapon of choice, in my arsenal, against antirationalist fundamentalism and extremism. Speaking of which ...

The simple minded vultures have been circling him for awhile. Please try and avoid Internet comments. It's not that I'm against defending a man's legacy. It's just not worth interacting with them. They have absolutely no desire to read your defense of a man they vehemently and ignorantly hate. Honestly, I think it's tantamount to the impact of his work, on religion. And these are people who you don't want to be friends with, anyways. Do you really want to make good with someone who's an apologetic for stoning women to death or treating homosexuals like sex offenders? I know I don't.

Truthfully, I thought I would be far more furious with that stuff. But it was so predictable that "it was boring." I'm sure there are publishers and writers, out there, who're licking their chops at the anti-Hitchens rhetoric they can now publish without facing his, mightier than the sword, pen. But you're not out of the woods. Although the giant's shadow is no longer cast upon your fantasy, an army of his inspired still marches onward, toward your golden calves.

Editor's note: There is a bit of controversy when using the term RIP as an atheist. Many already know what the acronym stands for and the basic meaning of the idiom. I, however, use it colloquially, which is very common, as a way to announce a death while expressing both solace and a fondness for the individual — without being wordy in the title. Some hardcore atheists see this as a sort of intellectual "sin." Likewise, some Christians think the term is being appropriated and shouldn't be used by a nonbeliever. I disagree.

No comments:

Post a Comment