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Dec 13 2011

Heads we win, tails we win

Another vulture licks his filthy chops and suggests that Hitchens may be about to convert to Christianity.

Perhaps Hitchens’s admission that Nietzsche might have been wrong, even about  something small, will lead him to a healthy curiosity about Christianity. Up  until now, Hitchens has had nothing but bile for Christianity and all religion — including the religion of Marxism, which Hitchens, a former leftist, eventually  admitted could not survive “the onslaught of reality.” But Hitchens’s attacks on  religion were always propelled by the kind of fury that one usually finds in  zealots and former believers; it’s always the ex-Catholics (Maureen Dowd, etc.)  who are the hardest on the Church.

Not a bit of it. There are plenty of us never-Catholics who loathe and detest the church and say so loudly and often. Remember the no pope rally last year? Lashings of never-Catholics there.

I wouldn’t tell Christopher Hitchens that now is the time to get right with the  Lord, or to pray or read the Bible. I wouldn’t try and convince him of the  resurrection. I would only ask him to entertain the notion that love — the love  he has for his life, his wife and his children, the love his readers have for  him and the love that the doctors and nurses are showing him — is a real thing  whose origins are worth exploring without glibness (sorry, saying “love for your  fellow mammals” doesn’t require religion, as Hitchens did once, doesn’t cut it).  It also can be done without Christophobia.

But it can also be done without any reference to god or Jesus at all – and in fact saying that love doesn’t require religion does cut it, not least because it’s true, and obviously true.

Ironically, there is a kind of symmetry between Hitchens and his declared enemy,  Mother Teresa, whom Hitchens wrote a nasty book about and called a fanatic and a  fraud (yawn).

That “yawn” is simply disgusting – disgusting in the typically callous and frivolous way of religious believers. M Teresa refused to give pain medication to the people in her hospices. “Yawn” is not the right response to that.

In her 2009 book “Come Be My Light,” published posthumously (Mother Teresa died  in 1997), Mother Teresa writes of long periods, indeed years, of “darkness” and  suffering, during which she felt that God wasn’t there. After the book was  published, Hitchens went on TV to gloat. Even Mother Teresa didn’t believe it!  In fact, Mother Teresa was going through what many saints do, a dark night of  the soul. Such things can make us doubt God, and that is anything but an unholy  thing. As Chesterton noted, Christianity is the only religion that allows God to  be an atheist (“Why have you forsaken me?”). Perhaps Hitchens is going through  something similar. And as Mother Teresa’s pain made her doubt her God, in  second-guessing Nietzsche, Hitchens may be doubting his.

What smug, all-too-typical, everything-works-for-us nonsense. M Teresa had doubts, therefore god. Some other M had admirable devoted faith, therefore god. Doubt is a point for god, immovable certainty is a point for god, atheism is a point for god, cancer is a point for god, love is a point for god – all your base are belong to us! Christianity allows god to be an atheist – talk about “yawn”…And then, in the end, maybe pain is after all making Hitchens knuckle under; gloat gloat.

Disgusting, I tell you.

 

33 comments

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  1. 1
    geoffwhelan

    This is vile stuff indeed. Hitchens is on record as saying that in the very unlikely event he has a deathbed conversion we should assume that he has lost control of his faculties. The irony of course is that after death everyone is a de facto atheist.

  2. 2
    Tim Martin

    …Mother Teresa writes of long periods, indeed years, of “darkness” and suffering, during which she felt that God wasn’t there.

    The honest years?

    In fact, Mother Teresa was going through what many saints do, a dark night of the soul.

    By why the darkness? Why the metaphor of a night, that must inevitably lead to a day? The day is represented in this analogy by the period when you have stopped doubting. Why would you ever stop doubting? Why would doubt be a bad thing, a darkness thing? It can only be a good thing, if you’re interested in not fooling yourself! And it could only be a bad thing if you want to believe in something regardless of its truthhood. Surely this confusion of truth and preference is obvious!

    But more importantly, I find it necessary to mention that it is “all your base are belong to us.” We will have no noun/verb agreement here!

  3. 3
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    As Chesterton noted, Christianity is the only religion that allows God to be an atheist (“Why have you forsaken me?”).

    I hadn’t heard that one before, but I’m fascinated by it; are we supposed to consider it profound and/or compelling? Because, in my mind, all it does is serve as a reminder of just how incoherent Christianity (particularly the bits about Jesus and his alleged relationship with God) is.

  4. 4
    a miasma of incandescent plasma

    “lead him to a healthy curiosity about Christianity”

    Yeah… cause… you know… all of those debates, and books, and articles he’s written can be ignored, he must’ve never really had to learn about Christianity and be exposed to it in modern culture. I can believe this because I am stupid.

    “Christianity is the only religion that allows God to be an atheist (“Why have you forsaken me?”).”

    Except for Buddhism, Jain, Confucian, and Tao. But, you know, those religions aren’t Christianity, so they don’t count.

    “(Jesus is an) atheist (because he said to god) “Why have you forsaken me?””
    And obviously, this proves that all you angry-at-god atheists are really believers in god and are just angry at him, because an atheist would totally cry out to god.

    Checkmate atheists!

  5. 5
    julian

    Believers and accomos talk a big game about certain atheists not having ‘respect’ for people’s beliefs and personal philosophy. Shit like just serves to remind me it’s all projection.

  6. 6
    had3

    If Jesus is an atheist, and Jesus is god…qed i’m god! I keep telling my religious friends that i’m god, but they demand proof from me that they don’t demand from their preachers regarding their gods. Now i’ve got the proof. Woohoo; and god smiled.

  7. 7
    Sastra

    “I would only ask him to entertain the notion that love — the love he has for his life, his wife and his children, the love his readers have for him and the love that the doctors and nurses are showing him — is a real thing whose origins are worth exploring without glibness …”

    Without glibness? Really? I can’t think of anything more glib than explaining love by saying that it “came from God.”

    Let’s explore that, shall we? Love comes from a Love Source which is a Love Person made out of Love Essence and it gives us our love power by using its Love Force in an act of Love granting. And it’s always been like that: it didn’t get that way. And there are no parts, no process. Love comes from … Love.

    Yeah, I’m so glad that the origins of love (which is apparently a “real thing” — probably a kind of spiritual energy) have been examined so painstakingly and explored so deeply and we’ve all successfully managed to avoid being glib.

  8. 8
    Tim Martin

    +1 to Sastra.

  9. 9
    devdasdavids

    As I recall, Chesterton suggested that at that moment on the cross God himself seemed most like an atheist. A witty observation by Chesterton. Also quite stupid. Chesterton had a masterful way with words but his logic was poor. (C.S. Lewis is similar in this respect but Chesterton was even worse.)

    The idea that Hitchens not agreeing with Nietzsche on some particular might mean he is on his way to Christ is a bizarre non-sequitur. It also occurs to me this idea of “if not Nietzsche, then Christ” is indicative of a mind incapable of nuanced thinking. Or independent thinking for that matter (i.e. either one follows Nietzsche or one follows Christ, as though it were a matter of just being a follower.)

  10. 10
    Cliff Hendroval

    I won’t click on the DC – which moron wrote this drivel?

  11. 11
    Sunny

    and his book seems particularly illuminating:

    Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

  12. 12
    ambulocetacean

    What a vile, ghoulish piece of work. And utter garbage besides.

    Jebus saying “Why have you abandoned me” (assuming that the story is true and that Jebus actually existed in the first place) doesn’t make him an atheist; it makes him a theist who’s pissed off because his prayers aren’t being answered.

  13. 13
    Andrew B.

    Doubt is a point for god, immovable certainty is a point for god, atheism is a point for god, cancer is a point for god, love is a point for god.

    Oh jebus yes, it’s the same approach the faithful have to the “deepening of faith.” Tragedies deepen faith, good fortune deepens faith, I found a penny my faith was deepened I stubbed my toe-faith deepened yet again. All the evidence, even contradictory evidence attests to the truth of claim. It’s just a dishonest way of dealing with evidence.

  14. 14
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Considering that apologetics has been likened to the shell game/three-card monte, it’s somewhat amusing that Christianity can be summed up best by comparing it to various rigged games of chance.

  15. 15
    'Tis Himself

    Ironically, there is a kind of symmetry between Hitchens and his declared enemy, Mother Teresa, whom Hitchens wrote a nasty book about and called a fanatic and a fraud (yawn).

    Yeah, both of them are (or were) given good medical treatment. However there’s a major difference between the two. Hitchens doesn’t deny medical care to anyone, whereas Teresa made a point of doing just that.

  16. 16
    Daniel Fincke

    What a stupid piece of writing. Hitchens has long mistrusted Nietzsche. He didn’t even include him in the Portable Atheist!

    And the idea that atheists need to agree with everything Nietzsche said is ludicrous. I wrote my dissertation on Nietzsche and despite my general enthusiasm for his philosophy, I disagree with him a whole lot. I lay out six or seven major disagreements in the final chapter. I guess that means I’m now a Christian!

  17. 17
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Camels With Hammers @ #16: I actually got into philosophy partly out of my disagreement with Nietzsche. (The rest was my dislike of Kierkegaard and a desire to properly prove someone wrong.) Apparently I’m a Christian too. Glad this fundie dude told us!

  18. 18
    Ken Pidcock

    Quoting the man, What is the reflection of a mind discarded?

  19. 19
    Daniel Fincke

    Camels With Hammers @ #16: I actually got into philosophy partly out of my disagreement with Nietzsche. (The rest was my dislike of Kierkegaard and a desire to properly prove someone wrong.) Apparently I’m a Christian too. Glad this fundie dude told us!

    Tell me when your irrational hatred of gay people starts to kick in. I don’t feel it yet myself. I want to know when to expect it.

  20. 20
    Christine

    That “my God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me” passage only occurs in Mark and Matthew, whose authors did not think Jesus was actually God but rather the Messiah with supernatural powers.

    Those two also did not think Jesus was born to redeem the sinners of the world, but rather that Jesus was going to return in his supernatural resurrected body and kick some Roman butt.

    As pointed out, even if Jesus had been God, he would only have been complaining about the (existing) God’s behavior (his own behavior, I guess), and not expressing atheism.

    It fits in with the bad logic–love exists, love confuses me, therefore love implies God made love, therefore God exists. It’s the old argument that deep down inside we must all be theists because we all know about love and we all secretly know that there’s no better explanation for love than God.

  21. 21
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    It’s going to be rather difficult, with the queerness myself. I think we’ll have to ask this helpful fundie when it’s supposed to kick in.

  22. 22
    petzl20

    “Heads we win, Tails we win”
    PZ, don’t you get it?
    That’s the glorious mystery that is Christianity.
    You just haven’t immersed yourself sufficiently in it to appreciate it.
    Which, I should also note, additionally gives you no right to criticize it.

  23. 23
    Emrysmyrddin

    Fundie liars-for-Jebus can’t even navigate to the correct blog before spraying their mindless, sticky comments over everything, it seems…

  24. 24
    Hamilton Jacobi

    Up until now, Hitchens has had nothing but bile for Christianity and all religion — including the religion of Marxism, which Hitchens, a former leftist, eventually admitted could not survive “the onslaught of reality.”

    No no, this won’t do at all. If we call Marxism a religion, how can we blame the millions killed by Stalin and Mao on atheism? Mark Judge sounds almost like Sam Harris here.

  25. 25
    geocatherder

    Wake me when Hitchens has his deathbed conversion. I expect a looong nap.

    Seriously, as an atheist, I have struggled with the death of my parents in the last few years, knowing there is no heaven in which we might be reunited. Mama and Daddy are gone. When Hitchens goes, he will be similarly gone. No heaven where the (scotch? bourbon?) flows freely and nobody gets drunk. Nothing.

    I am grateful (to whom? to what? perhaps to the universe) that I was raised by such loving parents, and I am grateful to read every new missive that comes from the fingers of Christopher Hitchens. But they will end someday.

    So will I.

  26. 26
    amc

    The love that he has for his life, his wife and his children will die when he dies. But his readers’ love for him will live on (and on, until said readers die, upon which new readers’ love will grow and blossom…).

    What a simplistic clown Mark Judge is.

  27. 27
    Bertram Cabot

    Hitchens is a war mongering drunk who supported the Bush Wars to the hilt.

    He is getting what he deserves.

    If only hell existed it would be even better.

  28. 28
    dirigible

    Theists love Nietzsche. He’s the angry adolescent of God-shaped-hole philosophy.

  29. 29
    jamessweet

    What a stupid piece of writing. Hitchens has long mistrusted Nietzsche

    Yeah, I noticed that too — especially because IIRC Hitchens even says so in the piece in question!

    Reading comprehension fail.

  30. 30
    Ben

    ” As Chesterton noted, Christianity is the only religion that allows God to be an atheist (“Why have you forsaken me?”). ”

    Uh, whaT? How is that in any way atheism? If Jesus really was an atheist at that point, why would he TALK TO GOD AND ASK HIM A QUESTION?

    If I say to my dog, “Hey pooch, why did you shit on the carpet? It’s brand new!!” I guess I don’t believe my dog exists by his definition!

  31. 31
    Ophelia Benson

    “PZ” (@ 22)?

    PZ doesn’t write all the FTB blogs you know!

    Bertram Cabot – no one “deserves” torture, especially not of the eternal variety.

  32. 32
    Jeremy Shaffer

    That reminds me of the episode of House titled House v God or something like that. The whole episode was supposed to be a contest between the afore mentioned but it was set up in such a way that could only result in God winning or a tie. House could never win and thus it is here. Like any good conspiracy theory, that which proves god proves god and that which disproves god proves god.

  33. 33
    BenSix

    I love the idea that rejecting something Nietzsche said is a sign of an impending conversion. It would make as much sense to say that a Christian’s on the verge of losing their faith because they’re not into Cliff Richard.

  1. 34
    Ferocious atheist Hitchens is dead

    [...] Judge, subsequently described here by Ophelia Benson as “a vulture licking its filthy chops”, said: It’s a possibility that [...]

  2. 35
    The Hitch is Dead « Cubik's Rube

    [...] remembering him appropriately, don’t let’s spare the scorn and contempt for the inevitable religious reactions to this sad news. Some fanatics are smugly rejoicing in whatever fate they imagine he’s now [...]

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