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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Is Christopher Hitchens Happy?

Is Christopher Hitchens Happy?

Or not?

I suppose not if he lost Pascal's wager. Then he is feeling the torments of a wrathful, tyrant god for all eternity.

I do admire Hitchens, his writing, his enjoyment of la belle vie, his courage to be public with his faults (even his arrogance which I did not much care for). I disagreed with him on his support of the Iraq war. I attribute that in line with his disgust with the religions of "God is Great" that would murder and enslave or sacralize it under some just or holy war doctrine.

He was a man of faith--certainly not that of the popes or ayatollahs. But that of philosophers and scientists and humanists.

Stanley Fish wrote recently that the scientist made as much of an act of faith as the religionist. I somewhat agree. But I dont consider faith an act, but a virtue, an habitual stance or approach to the world, the result of many acts and choices. Faith (along with the other two cardinal virtues) is an openness to reality wherever it might lead. It is the habit of curiosity, of discovery, of continual learning, of dialogue and argument in search of being found wrong and therefore coming closer to truth.

An ”act of faith” which closes matters, that achieves righteousness, that limits or denies the need to question is no faith at all. This is why ”God is not Great”! A born-again experience, an acceptance of Jesus in my heart, an absolute commitment to the Prophet is not faith at all. It is Belief which is the obstacle, even the enemy, of faith, hope, and love.

I remember learning in my catechism that when we go to heaven, we will no longer have faith ”for we will be seeing God face to face.”

If Hitchens is in heaven, then I know he is not happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I disagree on several points Rollie. Although I do adhere to the Christian faith, that is in belief, i don't always adhere to it in practice as well as I would wish. For many reasons, most selfishness, although I never see it that way at the time. In any case may failures are not the fault of "religion", or my "faith", they are mine and I accept them as mine. Blaming a religion for the acts of any of it's "confessed adherents"; makes no more sense than blaming culture for Hitler, or more pointedly, you for the racism of America (past, or present, I don't look to argue that point here); or America, an idea or concept of Republican Government for the abuses of United States, one, or a group of citizens. If you believe that you should be able to define "faith", or hearkening forward to your ethics/morality blogs, ethics, or morality then you have to allow for everyone to define their own. That might not work out so well. Then those that believe the strong should rule could exercise their morality and ethics...it's a slippery slope when you accept that "we" homo sapiens sapiens should be allowed to self-define right and wrong...or are you simply suggesting that you, or someone else should be allowed to define it in a way that you find acceptable...and an appeal to an internal "higher conciousness", would be a weak argument. I believe many mass murderers including Charlie Manson did just that. Right and Wrong are not universally self-evident, in fact many cultures exist now that don't share many of our "enlightened" value of a life, or private property, ethics and morals. Not to mention cultures past, such as the Mayans, Assyrians, etc.

I know some purists would dismiss my comment regarding the ethics of private property as purely Capitalist, until someone took theirs. My point is, there needs to be an external absolute definition of some things and I am glad that fact is clear in my mind and that I have no problem being open-minded and a reasoning, critical thinking scientist of "faith"; it should be a conundrum for you that you relegate my faith as not faith by simply defining it as an unthinking adherence to mythical belief. It seems to me to be in conflict with much of the rest of your values in terms of individual freedom and an attempt at a community that rises above the barriers of disparate beliefs.

Again I apologize for my own lack of writing skills when compared to your prose.