Friday, December 16, 2011

CONTEST: Why not ________?


Christopher Hitchens


April 13, 1949 – December 15, 2011


NOTE: While debating the existence of God, Christopher Hitchens often asked why someone would worship a supreme being who sends earthquakes and gives kids cancer. In mock bewilderment he wondered about the level of narcissism it would require to demand that you be prayed to on a daily basis.


Maybe if I was more cynical, a lot richer, a bit grumpier and a far more devoted hedonist who really, truly didn't give a shit what anybody thought, I would be just like Hitch. When I heard of his passing I felt a sadness that only happens when you lose someone who made an impact on you. I didn't know him. Never met him. I just thought he was cool.


His barnstorming There-Is-No-God campaign spurred outraged across the religious spectrum. His stuffy British accent and smug self assured inflection made even snotty comments seem classy. When he said something you completely disagreed with you felt annoyance because he was making so much sense. When I read what he wrote, after a sentence or two I was hooked. I had to read the whole thing. That's the hallmark of a truly great writer. He was and remains both a role model and a cautionary figure. May he rest in peace.

13 comments:

A Judgmental Mind said...

"Why not the obvious?

I saw a Body Worlds exhibits once, and to study the miracle of God's creation in the form of the human body, the result of millions of years of an evolutionary process, was for me a spiritual awakening. Not THE spiritual awakening, for we have many of them during our lives, but this one providing the reassurance that there is nothing more affirming of God's existence (and love) than the flesh and blood and body parts that allow us to be spiritual beings having physical experiences.

A prior spiritual awakening was at the birth of my children when it occurred to me that God gives us the gift of trust that none of us deserve--He trusts us with the care of each other including the precious gift of all--His children whom He gives to us as our children. That He apparently left us on a planet to take care of each other, and leaving us with the responsibility to protect each other from other people and the slings and arrows that life and death have to offer, is both a blessing and a curse, a Heaven and Hell and anything else you may want to call it.

It's the gift of judgment that best describes this duality, for it is something we need to survive but it also shows its judgmental side in the form of caustic criticism that can be found in every crevice of modern society now that we have found so many ways (and media) of expressing our disrespectful side.

It is the gift of judgment that allows us to judge whether we think there is or is not a God, or for those of us who are Christian, to realize that God let His creation judge the Creator, and He responded with the gift of Grace. Our judgmental minds can find every reason to prove God does or does not exist or why we think that the world He created is or is not to our liking, and raise unanswerable questions like how could He have let the Holocaust or other terrible things happen?

Logical minds may differ, but I'm still amazed that an embryo can evolve from a few cells into a fetus, a baby, a child, an adult, and an old man or woman who is destined to die and live on as a spiritual being in a spiritual world to which we are delivered someday. Evolution exists at microscopic as well as macroscopic levels, and it's not just our bodies and plants and animals and the earth's continents, but also our spirits, and that's why we live. To evolve and grow in a world of mystery with all kinds of unanswerable questions.

The proof that God is real is even in the hand you cut where cells mend themselves by magic before your very eyes and you take these miracles for granted.

We love our judgmental selves, we will never get enough of them, until we leave them behind and behold the kindness and love that survives and flourishes in a land that has a confounding dual nature that none of us can fully grasp. It's obvious to some of us that God exists. We see Him in His Creation.

The body, although an incredible work of internal and external art, is nothing so incredible as the spirit. It's our spirit that we can lift up, conveying respect, trust and love to others, or we can diminish it through their opposites, with our judgment tilting the balance either way. The body, the mind and the God who created them are full of wonder if we welcome it, or we can stifle the wonder by putting our attention on other things.

It's the gift of choice. Or a curse. It depends on which path we are on. Sometimes it feels like I'm on both, never leaving either one. Until the freedom to choose ends, when I die.

Why not the obvious?"

Dex said...

Well said, Al. Very well said. A time now for reflection and action.

Anonymous said...

Note to A Judgemental Mind: The "Contest" is aimed at finding a suitable replacement for Bil Keane. The "obvious" choose would be Jeffy Keane. Get a clue dude.

Grandma Sarah Lather said...

"I didn't know him. Never met him. I just thought he was cool."

Kind of like you, al.

Happy Holidays. Thanks for keeping this most-enjoyable contest alive.

Anonymous said...

Why not that ass hole who cut me off on the BQE today. RIP Hitch.

Shelly said...

"_Bernie Madoff?"

Tim H said...

It seems to me that the obvious answer would be comedian Dayton "Why Not?" Allen, except that he's been dead for seven years.

In view of that, I would suggest the newest and hottest guy on the global scene, Kim Jong-un, the 28-year-old heir apparent to the North Korean dictatorship.

Angus Podgorny said...

Why not Hank Williams, Jr.?

JohnnyB said...

Why not Jon Bon Jovi?

Anonymous said...

Why not the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

BK Broiler said...

... the Onion?

Glenn said...

Enrique Iglesias

jim said...

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