Christopher Hitchens Faces Cancer

I just lost a young friend to cancer, I watched my own stepfather die of the type of cancer that is now afflicting Christopher Hitchens, I am only concerned here with two things- his conversion and his bodily healing.

I never “hated” Hitchens, I didn’t always disagree with his politics, but his extreme views against Faith/Belief in God were indicative of something missing on the inside for him.  In this interview he speaks a little about the trauma of suicide in his family- particularly his mother. It seems to me that the little child within all of us eventually wins out- if that child longs for love and innocence then faith will come more easily. If that little child is damaged by traumatic events very much outside of his control- well he may well give over to a sort of hopelessness and despair.

I really and truly hope that this probable last road of Hitchens does not turn into a circus where the believers line up on blogs to smirk “I told you so” to a dying man. I believe our role is to be good Samaritans, like the Mother Teresa that Hitchens claimed to hate, she didn’t give a litmus test on the dying before offering compassion, prayer and some comfort.  The best witness for Christ we can give right now is not to begin a new debate on whether God gave Hitchens cancer, or take bets on when or if the pain of chemotherapy will finally bring this prideful man to his knees- the kind of pain whereupon God speaks to Christopher through a megaphone (CS Lewis).

In watching the debates between D’Souza and Hitchens, I always felt that the missing ingredient for the pro-God side was an expression of authentic concern and compassion for the atheist who was up there attempting to trash Our Loving Creator and His Son, Our Lord. It may not have fit in well with the format of a formal debate, but in something so important as deciding to be for God or against Him, you really have to live and think outside the box much of the time.

So, I offer a humble prayer for Christopher Hitchens, and I see his humanity in his expression of regret for the sake of his children- that is a very intense point of personal contact for me.  I will not make any artificial judgments on the state of his immortal soul- the man is obviously damaged, and just like when I have known someone who has committed a bodily suicide, I make the assumption that something was just not healthy or right in that person- there is a good probability that something got into the mix of that person that robbed them of some of their free will. I could be wrong- but it is Christ’s call ultimately not mine. I would only propose to Christopher Hitchens to consider that God is Love, he is a man who has love for his children- so that may be his ultimate pathway to God- somehow. I would urge him not to keep the straw man Christian in his mind when contemplating Faith in Christ. Not all Christians are mean-spirited, ignorant, superstitious or hypocritical.  There are saints among us- consider their witness as the better imitators of Christ.

So, I pray thee well Christopher Hitchens, well in body and in the spirit you do not claim to believe exists. Lord have mercy on you and on us all.

11 Responses to Christopher Hitchens Faces Cancer

  1. T. Shaw says:

    Amen.

    “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of Hell; take all souls to Heaven; and help especially those most in need of thy mercy.”

    Amen.

    The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion. Desire the grace of final perseverence. Think of the love which filled Our Lord’s Sacred Heart (sinless, innocent, deserving of all our love) during his three hours of agony on His Holy Cross; and ask him to be with you at the hour of death.

    I think the ‘Godless’ don’t understand that Jesus is true God and true man. He is like us in all things except sin. He was totally obedient (he asked that the cup pass in the Garden of Gethsemene where he suffered bitter agony for our sins) to The will of God, the Father Almighty, and he loved us and had such courage (the bravest man that ever lived) that he forgave us for our most unjust and horrid sin – we crucified Our Savior.

    I am so utterly unworthy of Jesus’ love and mercy. I cannot imagine Mr. Hitchings is less worthy than I.

  2. Withheld says:

    I am horrified in my bones when I hear Christians mocking or crowing over Christopher Hitchens’ illness. I want to grab them and shake them and ask them whether they have ever heard any of our Lord’s words.

    If Christopher Hitchens is not to be prayed for, then he is more right than even he says about the emptiness of Christianity.

    Not to be dramatic, but: Christian men of good will, pray, pray, pray, and weep for poor Mr Hitchens as though your own lives depended on it. You will weep with Christ, who loves him more intensely than any of us can begin to comprehend!

  3. Jasper says:

    “I really and truly hope that this probable last road of Hitchens does not turn into a circus where the believers line up on blogs to smirk “I told you so” to a dying man.”

    I haven’t heard of Christian doing this to Hitchens, i don’t why it was brought 3 times in this post

  4. Tim Shipe says:

    Jasper- Hitchens makes this claim in the interview posted that some Christian web sites have been set up in the negative- I take him at his word, and wanted to at least post something positive for him to consider. I also called the mean-spirited, hypocritical Christian example a “straw man” for use in arguments or as a way to dodge the whole issue of whether God exists and Jesus is God- so I am not trying to say that most Christians are mocking Hitchens- though he may feel that way given his predilection to believe the worst of religious believers.

  5. Rad says:

    I have a simple question… Does it really make any sense that an Omnipotent and Omniscient God communicate his teachings and will through primitive, inefficient, and open to interpretation and failure mechanisms such as Books written in some Middle Eastern language? Why can this Almighty God “create us in his image” with all the knowledge we need to know inherently and sub-consciously just like anything else that has been built-in our genetics structure?

  6. Anonymous says:

    > I have a simple question…

    This doesn’t look simple to me, but never mind ..

    > Does it really make any sense that an Omnipotent and Omniscient God communicate his teachings and will through primitive, inefficient, and open to interpretation and failure mechanisms such as Books written in some Middle Eastern language?

    Sure — why not?

    Well, it works as long as God also provides people to interpret the book(s) — and wouldn’t you know it, He has. That system works extraordinarily well, but you have to listen to those people. But then, everything is like that.

    But why do you object to Middle Eastern languages? I assume you’re not one of those people who thinks that if English was good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for anybody.

    > Why can this Almighty God “create us in his image” with all the knowledge we need to know inherently and sub-consciously just like anything else that has been built-in our genetics structure?

    I think you meant to write “why *can’t* this Almighty God ..”

    That’s definitely not a simple question. I’ll take a stab at it anyway.

    It seems to me that if a thing is somehow built in to a human’s physical structure, by means of genetics or some other means, then you can say two things about it:

    * It ceases to be a matter of free will, because it is something the body is doing.

    * It occupies only one part of man, who is both body and spirit.

    Since man is both spirit and body, he must apply at least his spirit to the act of believing in something or understanding something — and in fact it is not clear to me that the body can participate in that act in any way.

    Even without that, it seems clear that for God to make some kind of belief inherent and automatic would render the belief impotent, if it were possible to do at all. You cannot truly believe something without freely using your own will, and so God never cancels your free will — just as it is inherently impossible to force a human being to love someone. Even God cannot do that, just as even He cannot make a four-sided triangle.

    To conclude: sorry, but you really do have to do some work yourself. But God will help you in every possible way, if you ask Him.

  7. Joe Hargrave says:

    Rad,

    So Greek is Middle Eastern now?

    I think Christianity’s establishment in Rome, capital of the world, and the fact that the apostles and many others were able to speak and be understood in many different languages – miraculously – pretty much blows the assumption behind your post away.

  8. Rad says:

    Anonymous:
    Thanks for your articulated response. I have also heard the joke/statement by a pious Christian that if English was good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for anybody. I guess I failed to convey my point when I used the “Middle Eastern language” reference although I was not thinking only about Bible but ALL religions to include Judaism, Islam, Baha’i, etc. My point was really to the fact that, with all powers contributed to him, God could have communicated his message in a universal and language/culture/ethnic agnostic manner. I think like most Christianity’s belief, “Free Will” is a creation of the church to provide a reason for a major contradiction in its belief system. Free Will concept is a flawed one. All religions believe that nothing happens in this universe without this Omniscient God’s will, so how a Free Will concept plays into this understanding? On the other hand, if we are given the free will to chose, why then this loving and merciful God will punish those of us who may choose a different path? That is how your God “cancels” one’s free will by enforcing the fear of not achieving the eternal salvation.
    I am surprised at your assessment that interpretation of God’s message “works extraordinarily”. Well first, how can we claim we have the total understanding of what the creator of the universe has in mind and thus we have the power to rightfully interpret his will? Second, has not this righteous attitude led to separation of people even within the same religion? I guess genocides committed throughout the history over differences of opinion about what God meant and said is part of that successful and extraordinary end result…I guess that is the basis for your own personal belief that “it seems clear that for God to make some kind of belief inherent and automatic would render the belief impotent”. I am sorry but your argument here is extremely weak and baseless.

  9. Joe Hargrave says:

    “My point was really to the fact that, with all powers contributed to him, God could have communicated his message in a universal and language/culture/ethnic agnostic manner.”

    And deprive us of the joy and the privilege of missionary work? Christianity is built through people interacting with other people, getting to know them and to love them. That’s how God wants it. If we all knew everything there was to know from the beginning, life would be pointless.

    “Free Will concept is a flawed one. All religions believe that nothing happens in this universe without this Omniscient God’s will, so how a Free Will concept plays into this understanding?”

    The understanding is flawed. We are created with free will so that we can love God – love is impossible without freedom. Nothing in Christianity makes sense without love. And I mean true love, not “tolerance” and servility dressed up as love as it is among many modern liberals.

    “On the other hand, if we are given the free will to chose, why then this loving and merciful God will punish those of us who may choose a different path?”

    To choose anything other than God, who is all good, is to choose evil. Evil people ought to go to an evil place.

    “That is how your God “cancels” one’s free will by enforcing the fear of not achieving the eternal salvation.”

    You put “cancels” in scare quotes because you know it isn’t really canceled. You are indeed free to jump into the lake of fire. But I hope you don’t 🙂

  10. Linus says:

    His name means “Christ-bearer.” We should all pray for him, and I truly wish him many more years of keeping us on our toes, only slightly less than I wish him to see the light of Christian truth before he leaves this world.

  11. Rad says:

    Joe Hargrave:

    It is interesting that when it serves the purpose, you limit the powers of your God who created the entire universe in six days (and surprisingly has to take a break on the seventh), parted a sea for Moses, committed multiple genocides (including killing all the first born in Egypt), impregnated a virgin with his son, waited until he became an adult, had him walk on water, turn water to wine, raise dead from grave, have him crucified and then resurrected, and then send him back on judgment day. So you claim you know exactly what this almighty God wants?? Even a two year old can see the fallacy in his method and would recommend a more powerful approach such as showing up in the skies all around the globe (assuming we still think like Iron age people that we are the center of his universe) at one instance and broadcast his message to the entire world. Imagine the impact on human race….But that is just nonsense fairy tale and childish, immature thinking nothing like the factual concepts of Trinity, Son of God, his resurrection, devil, hell, heaven, angels, daemons, Armageddon and other religious myth and magic of the 2000 years ago!!!!!

    You say “And deprive us of the joy and the privilege of missionary work? Christianity is built through people interacting with other people, getting to know them and to love them.” Do genocides committed under spreading the word of god throughout the history and even in our current time are parts of your joyful loving Missionary work? How about millions of people who were murdered by your church and other religions under blasphemy, anti Christ, witchcraft, etc. labels? Were all these atrocities were part of God’s love for humanity and his great plans to use humans to spread his word? One argument is that those atrocities are committed by fallible human beings not God. In that case, one wonders why this Omniscient God did not foresee how his creation will manipulate his words to their advantage and will commit these crimes???

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