12.17.2011

Chistopher Hitchens, RIP


I 'spect y'all read Christopher Hitchens died a day ago. RIP.

Of course, Hitch an Aunty disagreed on most matters of "reality"--mine girded by faith in God, Hitchens a vituperative anti-God figure, one of the world's most vocal atheists. Lots of faithful folks read Hitchens--made us'uns think deeply about how a better explanation of all things God-centered might be presented to a tone deaf, secularized world. I always wish't we could have lunch--'cept he wuz prone to vulgarisms, an' y'all know of mah tender ears.

Near his end Hitchens vowed he would not suddenly convert--I always wondered how he could know that unless he counted on stubborn pride to fend off all actions of grace. He'd warned his many readers "If I profess a deathbed conversion, it is the medication speaking, not me." (paraphrased).


In the end, Aunty suspects Hitch DID know that God was there waiting for him. The fella was jes' too God obsessed. Everything took as its reference the non-God position. Some say he had made a bidness outa the God stuff, so he kept up the chatter-- an' mebbe so.

But seems to me he had more passion than jes the bidness of it all. Rather like a 10 year ole kid that says, "Naw I doan wanna shiny red bike fer Christmas, thas' jes' fer babies" when inside they are simply steelin' theyselves against the expected disappointment in case the bike doan show up under the tree.

The give away, to mah mind, wuz Hitch's lack of joy--wherever thar's an absence of joy --over even the wee thangs of miraculous beauty--thar's a soul fearin' goodness, fearin' that goodness can, an' should, be walkin' abreast us in this world. Instead they cultivate cynicism as armor against the human condition: made fer good, but too often doin' evil thangs.

But good thangs DO happen--an' thas' the wonderment that precedes joy.

As announced heah months ago, I planned to do a post on atheism. An' I will git to it --but not durin'Advent an' Christmas. I'll let Hitchens' stand in as my token comment on atheism 'til then.


Lemme close wif' a clip from another blog that also noted Christopher Hitchens' death:


" Now that his death has come, I am a bit surprised at how moved I am at his passing. As my friend Nathan said this morning: "Let us not, in the wake of the passing of such a virulent atheist, mockingly question the post-mortem fate he has met, but hope that, as we do for all souls, he has been surprised by the magnanimity of the Father, by Divine Justice, the true nature of which is known not to us, but only to HIM." Requiescat in pace, Christopher. "

To which Aunty replies, AMEN! I reckon Hitchens is whoopin' wif' joy, ridin' that shiny red bike from cloud to cloud.

17 comments:

LaDivaCucina said...

Maybe you'll get that luncheon one day with him anyway? I DO hope so! xo

Chris Hitchens erudite but humbled Ghost said...

OOOOOPS! I was WRONG!

moi said...

I admired his writings and his wit, even if it was mostly acerbic. I hope, wherever he is, he's eating GOOD lobster and drinking GOOD champagne.

As for atheism, I once said to my father, who, in his early forties and after a lifetime of atheism, became born again: "I'm not sure I believe in God." He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Doesn't matter. He believes in you."

Aunty Belle said...

La Diva--yes!
An' ya must come along as restaurant critic. Ha!!

Erudite but Humbled,
Thas' OK, God already knew that.

Moi, Cherie,
Yore daddy be a wise man. An' witty.

Reckon it's unnecessary to point out that not sure ya believe is a far reach from real sure ya doan believe. The former bein' the more reasonable an' intelligent position to hold.

Aunty Belle said...

What jes' slays me about Hitchens is how much he loved Jeeves! I mean, fer real? Ya' admire and read Wodehouse all yore life, an' have it read to ya' near death...who reads Wodehouse an' doan git it??

Impossible--Hitch knew in his heart, he jes' couldn't find a face savin' way of sayin': "Well, think of that?"

czar said...

I hope that Hitchens is ultimately known for his body of work and insight, not simply defined by his atheism. And as virulent as his atheism was, I think much of what you've said could be said for anyone who brings a positive view of religion into the public fray as much -- politicians, football players, the checkout girl at the Food Lion: methinks such doth evangelize too much, and it makes me wonder what makes them a little scared. Many things to choose from there. Are these folks exhibiting joy or fear or a score of other things? Fear is a wonderful motivator at times.

And I'd hope that for religious or religion-affiliated writers who are identified as such upon their deaths, their RIPs comprise celebrations of their works or lives, instead of suggestions that, well, "Too bad, your idea of an afterlife isn't really there. Sucks for you. You're dead, but nyah, nyah, nyah, I got my way in the end." Boy, there's some grace.

I've had friends who gave me some Hitchens books to read, which reach their inevitable unread fate in my hands. From what I've read by him in magazine articles and read about him for years, he seems to have been an urbane, witty, and literate man who, in a breath of fresh air these days, did not define himself by one part of the political spectrum. If for nothing else, we should celebrate him for that.

czar said...

PS to Moi: The only time that I can remember my father being visibly angry with me was when I was about 17 years old and stated in passing that I was an atheist. My father, who had never really shown any sign of religious interest, turned around to me in the car and said, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say."

Aunty Belle said...

Czar,
howdy--I reckon youse been swamped recently--missed ya'.

What ya' said about turned tables is a good point--that us religious folk not find our atheist friends declarin' us duped when we come to our end, an' judge us instead on the work, the relationships, the good thangs we done as we passed through this world.

still, wif' Hitchens he sorta made the atheism his project fer the last decade or so, an' mebbe thas' one reason fer folks to be takin' that focus as regards his life.

He were urbane, witty, an' not easily defined or pigeonholed. Very fresh air indeed.

We will miss him.

What about yore own readin'? Does ya never git to any good reads outside yore work related books? Does ya know Wodehouse's stuff that Hitchens loved so?

czar said...

@Aunty: All I know of Wodehouse is how to spell the name, and the initials that go along with it.

Away from the Internet, about the only thing I'll read is the New Yorker. I cannot remember the last full-length, new-to-me book that I've (willingly and not-for-pay) picked up and read from cover to cover. It's been years and years.

The closest I've come to reading a book off the clock in the last decade was earlier this year. A friend had given me Edie Parker's reminiscences of her days being hooked up with Jack Kerouac. I left it in the bathroom long enough to have read around in most of it.

If you saw my monthly reading list, you'd understand. I get a lot of variety thematically. Very little fiction (and what there is is self-published), but I'm OK with that.

It's much more a matter of time than interest.

On the other hand, our younger son, when asked what he wants for Christmas, said "Books." And he means the classics. At barely age 19, he's read far more essential literature than I have.

People think that because of what I do, I'm some writer wannabe or literature aficionado. Rather, I'm much more like the guy who comes and makes your lawn look nice. And he probably reads more than I do.

Doom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi Aunty

Probably the first time ever ( in 5 years since 2006) that I have come by here and not instantaneously railed at the tone or direction of your post!

Chris was, in a peripheral way, a role model for me. A contrarian. And if you are a contrarian, that will, naturally, bring you to question theism....and hence, given at least a modicum of intelligence.....to adopt atheism.

You'll recognise my barb!

But, frankly, I find myself slightly surprised by your apparent respect for his atheist views.
I got no such respect!!!! Remember my post about "brights"???? And the vitriol you heaped upon it??

Maybe you are a actually a bit of an ivy league intellectual snob? If the person berating your view went to Oxbridge then you'll listen, but if they didn't ( or you don't know anything about them) you'll shoot 'em down!!!

Maybe, just maybe, one day, I will reveal my "credentials" to you; explain why I started the dark times/doubting thomas blogs , and why I picked on you as my sounding board. And then wait for your applause!!!!!!

Your fanged friend

A

XX

Aunty Belle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aunty Belle said...

A ?

Mah gracious--whar in tarnation has ya been?

Do it take Hitchens demise to tempt ya to come callin'??

Well now, doan be surprised at Aunty's "apparent respect for his atheist views" cause it ain't respect fer his views, rather respect fer the man.

I doan respect Hitchen's views, but I do respect his right to have those views--the right to question an' see whar' it leads.

What I tried to communicate is that Hitchen's commentary (unlike Dawson) wuz of a calibre ( note UK spellin' jes fer A) that put us believers on point--made us think deeply about HOW to re-present our case in a tone/ vocabulary that could be "heard" by Hitchens--an' yoreownself.

I hope I ain't no intellekshull snob. If so call me on it--I'se believes wisdom is whar' ya find it--high or low, it can be hidden from the high an' mighty educated an' elude the stubborn slack-jawed rubes. Or not.

Philosophical sparrin' aside, how ya' be? Hope thar's glimmers in the dark.

I'll be heah when ya do wanna provoke mah applause--Show me why ya started dark times. I'se mighty curious, now.

Anonymous said...

And all best wishes to you for 2012 too.

Lest you get to scratchin' poor wee Chickory!!

A
Xx

Aunty Belle said...

A
And to yoreownself, Man of the Moor.

Curmudgeon said...

I remember 'falling away' for several years. Mostly it was fear, and anger at self-righteous hypocrites, but I wasn't all that vituperative. I just didn't think about God at all. I didn't attack him. I'm inclined to think he admitted his doubts about his doubts to God at the end.

Susan B said...

I never liked his views, even though he was very witty. I thought his book God Is Not Great was very mean and petty. I have read Dawkins and Harris' tomes on atheism and they never bothered me, but Hitchens just seemed to think that he was the higher power instead of not believing that there may be something besides proving the scientific method. Yet I really hope he found grace when he crossed over. We are more than what we say or what we write.