The Army of Atheist Fundamentalism has lost one of its able generals in its crusade against Religions. But the writings and legacy of Christopher Hitchens will continue to inspire millions in the years to come.
Hitchens’ righteous indignation against the evils of bigotry was always eloquently and forcefully expressed. Sometimes he seemed to carry this beyond the reason he often extolled, as when he disparaged Mother Teresa and gave his ardent support for the Iraq War.
Like the garbage collector who imagined from what he saw week after week that households generate nothing but garbage, he concluded from what he saw of their ugly aspects that religions give rise to only superstitions, stupidity, and fanaticism.
Hitchens was no Bertrand Russell in the polished dignity of language contra religion, but then he belongs to an age where civil discourse is no longer in vogue, where mutual contempt in exchanges is the norm.
If, as he was convinced, he was no more than a brilliant blob of mindless matter with molecules, it is sad to see such a premature termination of its vigor and virtues.
If, however, the less probable side of Pascal’s Wager turns out to be true, then some might wish his transformed state eternal peace. But such hope and wish would be regarded as absurd and offensive by his followers. So I will be silent on this.
Whatever the case, Christopher Hitchens was undoubtedly among the prestigious array of thinkers who, all through the ages, understood fully whatever is terrible in the mindless and heartless niches of religions.
I salute him for the integrity, forthrightness, and courage with which he spoke out against the pernicious potential of religion: a matter that needs to be periodically brought to everybody’s attention.
It would serve humanity no less if keen thinkers like Christopher Hitchens also recognized the positive contributions of religions to human culture and to the human condition.
December 19, 2011