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No, Don’t Pray for Hitchens

Just hope he gets well

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Christopher Hitchens.(Christian Witkins)

“Prayers are being said for Christopher Hitchens—despite his anti-religious beliefs—with the news that he has cancer of the esophagus,” reads Page Six. Since the item doesn’t actually say who is doing the praying, I can only assume that they are either snarking at a sick unbeliever, or that they are ignorant of their offensiveness. Hitchens (a Tablet Magazine contributor who late in his life discovered that his mother was Jewish) has devoted a good part of his intellectual life to ferociously battling the idea that God exists, culminating in his 2007 best-seller God Is Not Great. I find that suggesting prayer for a man who resents even the concept that there is Someone to pray to is pretty repugnant (and I say this as one who would not mind prayers if I found myself in Hitchens’s current position).

I think he would agree. Here is how he concludes his recently published memoir, Hitch-22, brilliantly merging his unbelief with his apparently parallel crusade against earthly dictatorship:

Over the course of the last decade, I have become vividly aware of a literally lethal challenge from the sort of people who deal in absolute certainty and believe themselves to be actuated and justified by a supreme authority. To have spent so long learning so relatively little, and then to be menaced in every aspect of my life by people who already know everything, and who have all the information they need …

After various past allegiances, I have come to believe that Karl Marx was rightest of all when he recommended continual doubt and self-criticism. Membership in the skeptical faction or tendency is not at all a soft option. The defense of science and reason is the great imperative of our time … To be be an unbeliever is not to be merely “open-minded.” It is, rather, a decisive admission of uncertainty that is dialectically connected to the repudiation of the totalitarian principle, in the mind as well as in politics.

Pray for Christopher Hitchens [Page Six]

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Daniel says:

I hope its not offensive to Hitch, and don’t see why it should be. It is us believers way of expressing that though we surely disagree with him in particular areas, we just as certainly wish him a healthy recovery.
When I had a sick family member, I was only touched when Christians told me they were praying for her – though I certainly did not beleive in the deity that they would be praying to. I would hope Hitch would take it in the same spirit. But if I hear from him that he is offended, I will lay off saying that I am praying for him (though in my heart I still will be).
-Daniel B

David K says:

I think it’s repugnant to ask someone who believes in a caring Creator not to pray for CH’s well being. Sounds like thought/prayer police to me.

MaxS says:

Hitch is one of the gang who is seeking to delegitimize Israel. No question that he writes well but his writing sometimes harms Israel.

gotrootdude says:

I think it’s repugnant to practice superstitious prayers instead of actually working towards a valid solution.
Prayer is proven not to work and if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. If you want to help, you can start by changing your behavior so that it doesn’t keep society in the dark ages.

Daniel says:

@gotrootdude – what wold you suggest is the “valid solution” to Mr. Hitchens’ cancer, that the lot of us should be working on in our spare few minutes each day, instead of praying?

Bad news: atheist Hitchens is dying.

You all know the low survival statistics, but the good news is that September 20, 2010, is officially designated as “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day.”

Mark your calendars, tell your friends, and please pray that Hitchens sees the light and turns his life around soon — before it’s too late!

Watch the “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day” video:

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

– Matthew 5:44


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No, Don’t Pray for Hitchens

Just hope he gets well

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