Too Sick to Speak and Staring at Death, Christopher Hitchens Addresses His Friends

Dear fellow-unbelievers,

Nothing would have kept me from joining you except the loss of my voice (at least my speaking voice) which in turn is due to a long argument I am currently having with the specter of death. Nobody ever wins this argument, though there are some solid points to be made while the discussion goes on. I have found, as the enemy becomes more familiar, that all the special pleading for salvation, redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before. I hope to help defend and pass on the lessons of this for many years to come, but for now I have found my trust better placed in two things: the skill and principle of advanced medical science, and the comradeship of innumerable friends and family, all of them immune to the false consolations of religion. It is these forces among others which will speed the day when humanity emancipates itself from the mind-forged manacles of servility and superstition. It is our innate solidarity, and not some despotism of the sky, which is the source of our morality and our sense of decency.

That essential sense of decency is outraged every day. Our theocratic enemy is in plain view. Protean in form, it extends from the overt menace of nuclear-armed mullahs to the insidious campaigns to have stultifying pseudo-science taught in American schools. But in the past few years, there have been heartening signs of a genuine and spontaneous resistance to this sinister nonsense: a resistance which repudiates the right of bullies and tyrants to make the absurd claim that they have god on their side. To have had a small part in this resistance has been the greatest honor of my lifetime: the pattern and original of all dictatorship is the surrender of reason to absolutism and the abandonment of critical, objective inquiry. The cheap name for this lethal delusion is religion, and we must learn new ways of combating it in the public sphere, just as we have learned to free ourselves of it in private.

Our weapons are the ironic mind against the literal: the open mind against the credulous; the courageous pursuit of truth against the fearful and abject forces who would set limits to investigation (and who stupidly claim that we already have all the truth we need). Perhaps above all, we affirm life over the cults of death and human sacrifice and are afraid, not of inevitable death, but rather of a human life that is cramped and distorted by the pathetic need to offer mindless adulation, or the dismal belief that the laws of nature respond to wailings and incantations.

As the heirs of a secular revolution, American atheists have a special responsibility to defend and uphold the Constitution that patrols the boundary between Church and State. This, too, is an honor and a privilege. Believe me when I say that I am present with you, even if not corporeally (and only metaphorically in spirit…) Resolve to build up Mr Jefferson’s wall of separation. And don’t keep the faith.

Sincerely

Christopher Hitchens

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Posted on April 25, 2011, in Humanism, Politics, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’m tearing up

  2. supposedly the Thiests are correct, I wonder how Hitchens will cop the shafting in his after life…. if unsure, It’s better not to insite enmity with the “Guy” whose owns the green grass on the other side of the fence…

  3. But how do we know a) if “that guy” exists in the first place, and b) if he does, assuming that there is an afterlife, what the criteria are for getting the good end? Or even if there is a good end? It seems possible that the “Guy who owns the green grass on the other side of the fence” gets angry whenever anyone crosses over, or loves having additional guests in for tea, to extend the metaphor.

  4. Hitchens….talk about a guy pissing into the wind. Who is he trying to convince here? He is full of fine sounding arguments but at the end of the day just because he doesn’t like religion doesn’t make it empirically not good.

  5. JollyNarcissist

    gorden, just because you are incapable of understanding and incorporating this line of thought does by no means take a toll on the worthiness of this opinion. Stop badmouthing someone who spent the end of his life trying to make your life better. Ingrate bigots drive me nuts. Understand what people have to offer, then offer your opinion. Regardless of the truth of this address, your lack of respect is repulsive.

    Now here you go: someone with fine sounding arguments still alive to rebut your analysis. lay it on me.

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  1. Pingback: My Video Tribute to Christopher Hitchens « Inspirational Freethought

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