HITCH 22

Christopher Hitchens is not quite a household name but he may be the most well known and outspoken atheist of our time.  Hitchens really hates God, and has spent his entire adult life trying to convince people to do the same.  He has written several books on the subject including; God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non- Believer and most recently his memoir, Hitch 22. The title of course is a play on words from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 which in short is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.  He could not have picked a more apt title, which I will explain in a moment.

Christopher Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer just as his new book hit the store bookshelves.  This is an aggressive cancer that is almost always fatal.  Hitchens has resigned to the fact that he is probably not going to make it.  He has told people that want to pray for him; “Don’t, unless it makes YOU feel better!”  He has made it clear that under no circumstances is he going to change his mind about God.  He told CNN that if there are rumors of a deathbed conversion we are not to believe it as it is the drugs or delirium talking.  I don’t think he should flatter himself.  I’m not sure there are too many praying for Hitchens anyway.  Although he does have one committed prayer partner… his brother. Peter Hitchens, who also for years was himself an atheist, today is an ardent defender of the faith saying; “If you drive God out of the world then you create a harrowing wilderness.

More vindictive Christians are rejoicing in his ill health calling it the judgement of God. Hitchens, on the other hand, readily admits that it is a consequence of years of heavy smoking and drinking.  It is hard to like Mr. Hitchens.  He is one of the most mean-spirited and vitriolic people you will ever hear.  After the death of Rev. Jerry Falwell, he was asked if Falwell would now be in heaven.  This is what he said:

I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to. The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God’s punishment if they hadn’t got some kind of clerical qualification. People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup. The whole consideration of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth and for morality and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men, that we’re not told that people who believe like Falwell will be snatched up into heaven – I’m glad to see he skipped the rapture and was found on the floor of his office – while the rest of us go to hell. How dare they talk to children like this, how dare they raise money from credulous people on their huckster-like Elmer Gantry radio stations and fly around in private jets as he did, giggling and snickering all the time at what he was getting away with?…the fact is that the country suffers to a considerable extent from paying too much by way of compliment to anyone who can describe themselves as a person of faith – Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard: Chaucerian frauds, people who are simply pickpockets and frauds who prey on the gullible…He woke up every morning, as I say, pinching his chubby little flanks and thinking “I’ve got away with it again!”…I think he was a conscious charlatan and bully and fraud and I think if he read the Bible at all – and I would doubt whether he could actually read any long book at all – that he did so only in the most hucksterish, as we say, Bible-pounding way.  Lots of people are going to die and are already leading miserable lives because of the nonsense preached by this man.”

Needless to say he wasn’t asked to speak at the funeral.

His attacks on religious figures knew no bounds.  He was the only witness to intervene against Mother Teresa’s beatification and canonization hearings at the Vatican.  Speaking later on national TV he said, “The woman was a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud, and millions of people are much worse off because of her life, and it’s a shame there is no hell for your bitch to go to.” Yikes!  Well, at least he’s not bitter!

One has to wonder what fills a man with such hatred towards someone who gave her entire life to serving the poorest of poor.  One clue has to do with his own mother.  She had an affair with a psychotic defrocked Anglican priest that ended in a joint suicide pact in a hotel room in Athens.  That has got to mess with a young man’s head.

Last week Christopher Hitchens debated former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Toronto.  The question was; Is religion a force for peace or conflict in the modern world? Three years ago Blair made the surprising announcement that he had converted to Catholicism from a life long Anglican faith.  He has now become an outspoken proponent of the need for faith in the world.  I watched the debate and it was a good one. No one threw any knockout punch but the crowd voted 2 to 1 in favour of Hitchens.  But it wasn’t  really an even match up.  Hitchens is an intellectual with a million dollar vocabulary and a lifetime of perfecting his arguments while Blair was handicapped by the long-winded rambling style of a politician.  Nevertheless he spoke with passion and conviction and clearly held his own.

Instead of feeling disgust for Hitchens I find myself feeling very sorry for him.  Many believe this will be his last debate and that he is not likely to survive 2011.  The apostle Paul said, “If there is no resurrection… we are the most pitiable of all men.” Christopher Hitchens is certainly in a Catch 22 scenario.  If he recants and repents, he turns his back on everything he ever espoused.  If he doesn’t, he is assured of eternal damnation.  He’s damned if he does, and DAMNED if he don’t.  He’s all dressed up with no place to go.

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20 Responses to HITCH 22

  1. Jusuf Adibrata says:

    I quoted: “One has to wonder what fills a man with such hatred towards someone….”. There’re always reasons behind ‘hatred’ towards someone or group or nation. I used to live and work in different cultural setting in a country with much hatred toward minorities, and I found the reason behind the ‘hatred’ was ‘past experience’. Regardless whether they’re an atheist or a religious, the reasons are still the same. Jesus said: “if a person cannot forgive other person, then God the Father cannot forgive that person”. I choose like the apostle Paul said to forgive and forget to run toward the future.
    Great post pastor Mark.

  2. Victoria says:

    I am trying to think of something really smart…but I am at a loss for words.

    I don’t even know who this guy is……..at least YOU are doing your homework, Pastor Mark!

    To ANSWER the great debate,however…

    Has religion become a force for peace or conflict?

    Other religions in Quebec have fought for the right to omit the lords prayer, AND “Oh Canada”from the morning school schedules and won!

    I remember standing at attention every morning,out of respect for my country,and reciting the lords prayer at the beginning of every day.I went to a public school!

    Other religions want to hide their faces with shrouds and wear turbans with dangerous traditional pins and daggers,in OUR schools that function within the laws of the holy catholic church.Church and State.

    All in the name of their religion!

    Why do we allow this kind of compromise, as a government, if we are scanning and implementing full body searches at the airport looking for terrorists!!

    It obviously starts in the classroom,where others do not respect OUR differences in our Canadian culture.

    OPINIONS about Religion, is ALWAYS a force for conflict, but focusing on keeping our freedoms intact,and our common love for God, and Gods word, ALIVE! remains forever important in creating PEACE in our world.

  3. Christopher says:

    While I don’t think we should rejoice at the fact that this offensive little man is going to die a painful death nor should we mourn or pray for him. He has been nothing but viscious to anyone who believes in any faith for his entire adult life and he is now reaping what he has sowed. He is a vile, despicable arrogant man who figures that he has all the answers and consequently he feels justified in belittling and insulting those who do not feel the same way he does. I have no doubt that he will go to Hell, where he truly deserves to be and there can be no sympathy for him since he has no one to blame for this but himself. Goodbye to an offensive and disgusting man and good riddance.

    • Kendra says:

      No one can know if Hitchens will go to hell or not. No one should claim to know the mind of a God right?

      Hitchens is a talented writer who incites discussion and debate. I don’t necessarily agree with all he says but at least he is standing up for what he believes in. His anger comes from all the hypocritical Christians who are messing up this world!

  4. Victoria says:

    I think his anger comes from the fact that his mother chose her religion over raising him.(the above mentioned suicide)

    BUT WHO REALLY CARES?

    Don’t we all have our own destiny and shouldn’t we be concerned about our own personal journey?

    CHRISTMAS is 20 days away!!

    We choose God,he didn’t.There really isn’t much more to say on the issue, we could “flog a dead horse”for the next 10 days or beg Pastor Mark to please write a new blog about someone or something that directly affects our lives globally now!

    Like Santa.

    My kids understand that Saint Nicholas was a real saint….so there are no lies in this family…

    Christmas Christmas Christmas walking in a winter wonderland!

    I hear you guys in Winnipeg have your snow…lucky ducks! We have about 1 cm of powder on our frozen ground. Although NOW, as I look out my window I see more falling…Yeaaaa!

    I think Pastor mark, we should all be invited to write our most favorite Christian tradition, that people practice this time of year, so as to educate, and share the Holy Spirit of Christmas with each other!

    Is that inappropriate? :)

    If I beg?………please please please with candy canes and sugar on it?!

    Sorry to rock the boat.

  5. Betty says:

    As Peter Y. has said many times,religion is alot of times,the traditions of that culture and the Gospel, is all about Jesus,and what Jesus ALREADY has done.
    “We are partners with Jesus”,in “building a Gospel Voice to the World”.
    I think,deep down in his heart, Mr. Hitchens believes, that there is a God,he just had some kind of experience in his life, that made him really angry and chose to be angry.
    In my experience,sometimes when people are jealous of the next person, they speak very negative about them.

  6. Jasmine says:

    I can understand his indignation in regards to this quote, “Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God’s punishment if they hadn’t got some kind of clerical qualification.” because none of us are in a position to judge others and make comments like this one, especially from a reverend who knows that God is the only one who can see what’s in our hearts.

    What I see here is a very traumatized little boy who didn’t get the guidance he needed when his mother committed suicide. In our hardships, we all are given the choice to either turn AWAY from God or turn TO Him. I’m sure that if someone had been there to show him God’s love for him and His faithfulness to him during that hardship, he would have turned out to be a very different man.

    Right now, he is very much a modern-day Saul; and I’d like to see what God has in store for him — perhaps a Damascus Road experience?

    We do not have the right to condemn him, only God does. And we are not being true to Jesus if we repay his vitreol with our own.

    Let us all pay him back with the God-given grace we have been blessed with. Ask God to bless this man, pray for him…pray that he will experience the almighty power of God in such a way that it will transform his heart and renew his mind, pray that God will heal all of his pain starting with the deepest ones that have festered since his childhood.

    And may we bring God glory and honour in everything we think, say and do.

    Amen.

  7. Victoria says:

    Oui, je suis d’accord avec exactement ce qu’elle a dit!
    Bonne Noel!

  8. Sally says:

    I, too, feel sorry for Hitchens. And I know it grieves the heart of God for every lost soul that goes to hell. God’s plan was that all humanity would live with Him eternally. My prayer is that Hitchens would humble himself and repent of his wicked ways and accept the extended hand of God that even now reaches down for his. As long as he has breathe, it is not too late.
    It is sad when education, various hurts and rejections in life have caused a root of bitterness so strong that it turns ones heart away from the very One who wants only to give you life and life abundantly.
    I too know of a young man, like Hitchens, who has turned away from what he once knew as truth and is going down this athiestic pathway, all because he went to University and starting listening to lies and deception of the enemy in the teachings of humanists like Stephen Hawking. There were of course underlying hurts, disappointments and unanswered questions that also played a role in this decision.
    It is very sad to watch a dyanamic young man who was sold out for Christ now become a “hater” of the things of God.
    As the Bible says, in the last days there will be those who fall away and be led astray by “doctrines of demons” perferring to have their ears tickled rather than to believe the truth. Let us purpose in our hearts not to become one of these. Let us remain faithful to the end!.

  9. Steve says:

    It should be Christians who reach out to him and show him mercy, or are we so pathetic that we can only forgive people who commit minor offences against God. Give me a break. Do we actually believe the gospel.
    I’m refering to those who extend no mercy to this man. He was made in God’s image and God loves him. God doesn’t want Christopher in hell and neither should we.

  10. Lorne says:

    He comes across as a big tough atheist but I believe he is a frightened man. He has obviously studied the beliefs of Christianity in order to better attack it. In doing so he has seen and heard the truth. It has to have planted some some small seeds of doubt in what he believes. His comment about a death bed conversion tells me that he has already thought about the possibility of that happening. He passes it off as a drug induced reaction but I think that is just a show to save face should it really happen! I don’t care what you believed in this life when when you were healthy and everything was going your way. When death comes calling you will start to think about what is next and if you lived a life without God you will be afraid, and so you should be.

  11. Victoria says:

    I think Steve may have a point that I overlooked.

    Many Christians feel it is their right,
    to describe what may be his future,
    “in death”.

    But they are forgetting the very important act of practicing forgiveness.

    In the famous words of “Thumper”…..(Bambi’s rabbit friend)

    “If you can’t say anything nice-don’t say anything at all.”

    New Topic please.

  12. Sally says:

    As for death bed conversions I don’t think that there are too many of them. I work as a night nurse and have seen a lot of people die during the night. I have been with some who yes are alert and with it and have made a commitment to the Lord but most of the time it was because they already had made a commitment to the Lord a long time prior to this point in their lives. A lot of people I have seen pass on have been in a state of dementia, unable to talk or maybe even think sanely. So when the Bible says now is the appointed time to accept the Lord, it really means it. Because of Alzheimers and Dementia conditions which a lot of people are dying with these days, a conscious sane decision cannot be made. I still believe in speaking to the spirit within the person so only the Lord knows for sure what decision has been made but I certainly would not reccommend a death bed confession. Do it now before it is too late. And yes I do pray for Hitchens to come to his senses and escape the judgment to come.

  13. Gord says:

    I just had to check, it doesn’t say except Christopher Hitchens or anybody else. This is probably the hardest thing of all in Christian teachings, but this is God’s Law and there are no exceptions.

    “And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength. And to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” MARK12:33

  14. Jasmine says:

    Gord is right. How can we even claim to love God if we don’t love the ones He created? Loving someone is a choice you make, even if that person happens to be the meanest and most difficult person you’ve ever met.

    Another thing that should be mentioned here is that forgiveness works both horizontally and vertically. If you choose not to forgive others (horizontally), it will jeopardize the forgiveness you might expect to receive from God (vertically).

    So, forgive others as you yourself have been forgiven–your relationship with God depends on it.

  15. Peter Mosier says:

    From this blog post (regarding Mother Teresa:

    “One has to wonder what fills a man with such hatred towards someone who gave her entire life to serving the poorest of poor.”

    Actually, one does NOT have to wonder why Hitchens feels this way, since he wrote a book in 1995 on the subject: “The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa In Theory and Practice”.

    If one can read, one can learn the reasons why Hitchens said what he said at the time of her death. There is no need to “wonder why”.

    Peace.

  16. Patrick says:

    WOW! Great job Jasmine…..Well written! You’ve said what my heart feels and it’s this belief that makes me love our Lord so!

  17. Dave C says:

    To get attention some would use those that have given their lives for there fellow man.It may sell him a lot more copies using this approach, but ultimately he will encounter the AUTHOR OF LIFE ITSELF !!I pray that there is still time for our brother Chris to find the repentance and joy in THE LORD OF ALL JESUS. Blessings on us all.

    • Frank says:

      while the movie sounds interesting, I do not have the time to watch movies, I am usually too busy reading important books of the bible from cover to cover, like the book of exodus. It is a great book esp. the plauges and how they relate to us as God promised to give us as many as we want by messing with his word esp. with these new age bibles.
      one thing I cannot uderstand is why pastor Mark would keep the bible from us in that w2e are not allowed acess to older shows unless we pay, to me this is a typical trick of televangelist, and not the good ones. Don`t get me wrong, but it see ms greedy to me, this is Gods word and I don`t understand why I need to pay for them, is the church ailing, do you need a new car, what is it? I know people who gave money to your church for all the resources you provided. mabey not so much now.

  18. Jane says:

    The athiest have an escuse, they don’t believe in God. How about the ministers and pastors that recieve their wages and the publics love of who they are, that not onley do not believe in the Bible but they do not believe in God either. I was shocked the first minister who told me that. I needed comfort from the loss of a loved one. This man in his dog collar told me the Bible was just a collection of fairy tales and their was no God. I wonder who Jesus will condemn the most.

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