Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another View of Christopher Hitchens

Good points, but perhaps Hitch is too "freshly dead" himself for this kind of critique.  De mortuis nil nisi bonum.  For a more charitable view, see Fr. Barron's commentary on his Word on Fire site and below.

Fine wit in the service of plain hatred
by Fr. Raymond J. de Souza
Christopher Hitchens is dead. By his own lights, he is utterly defunct, decomposing more rapidly than yesterday’s newspaper. I take a different view, and do sincerely pray for a merciful judgment. In the mean time, I trust that his soul, even now, is chagrined with the extravagant evasions that marked his death. My colleagues were enthusiastic contributors. Our editorial board praised his “courage” as a journalist and deemed him the “greatest columnist and essayist in the English-speaking world.” The estimable David Frum wrote that, “If moral clarity means hating cruelty and oppression, then Christopher Hitchens was above all things a man of moral clarity.”

Clarity he had. But hating cruelty? He was himself both hateful and cruel. Upon Bob Hope’s death, Hitchens wrote that he was a “fool, and nearly a clown.” When Ronald Reagan died, Hitchens called him a “stupid lizard,” “dumb as a stump” and “an obvious phony and loon.” On Mother Teresa: “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.”

The sadness is that there is a hell for Hitch to go to. He was granted a long farewell, with the opportunity for reconsiderations and reconciliations with those he hated and those he hurt. He declined to take advantage of it. Mother Teresa is fine, and no doubt prays for her enemies, including that Hitchens would be delivered both from hell and the nihilistic oblivion, which he thought awaited him.

“He was a virtuoso hater and his hatreds were redeemed, when they had to be, by the sheer relish with which they were expressed,” wrote Michael Ignatieff upon his death.
For many of Hitchens’ fellow journalists, the virtuosity of his brilliant writing and bracing conversation earned him a pass on the hatred. But hatred it remained. His commercial genius was to harbour hatreds sufficiently vast and varied that a lucrative constituency could be found to relish all of them.
In the first of his elegant essays about the ravages of his terminal cancer, he wrote about the consequences of his abbreviated future: “Will I really not live to see my children married? To read — if not indeed write — the obituaries of elderly villains like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger?” The Scriptures in which Hitchens did not believe say that love is stronger than death. Maybe he thought hatred was, too.
He desired to live that he might trash the freshly dead.



  1. “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
    ― Christopher Hitchens
    onto the next blog looking for facts

    1. What a sad case! He was clueless about God, Christianity, and theology. A sad commentary on the decline of religious literacy that he could make a fortune exposing his ignorance and hatred. How atheism has declined since its early years, to attacking a straw man version of God that no-one over the age of 5 in any major faith tradition actually holds. His call for evidence already implies a primitive, childish view of God as a being within nature like a supposed Yeti or Loch Ness Monster, not the ground of all being, the reason nature exists in the first place. Who believes in Hitchens's version of God in any developed religion?

      For a serious and informed discussion of the issues, as opposed to Hitchens's supercilious one-liners, see David Bentley Hart's new book, The Experience of God (http://www.amazon.com/Experience-God-David-Bentley-Hart-ebook/dp/B00E64EH0K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384439278&sr=8-1&keywords=david+bentley+hart+experience+of+god).