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#1 Edited by McGhee (6094 posts) -

I was just shocked and incredibly saddened to learn that Christopher Hitchens has died today.

The Hitch was a personally hero of mine. I grew up a Preacher's Kid in the south U.S. My father was one of the good and honest pastors, but eventually (to make a very long story short) the ministry destroyed his life and mine as well. I graduated from a seminary just in time to realize that I didn't want anything to do with it. I was tired of the political back stabbing and self righteous bullshit. My life was one of constant confusion. Am I hearing the voice of God right now? What about now? Is he listening to my prayers, because it doesn't look that way. Etc. Etc.

It took many years even after leaving church to begin the process of leaving Christianity. Christopher Hitchens' book "God Is Not Great" was like a cleansing blast of cold water in the face. It set me down the path. There was much that I learned from this book, but the single biggest idea was that not believing in God was even possible. The thought hadn't even occurred to me in all my years of struggling with the questions of my faith. I finally realized that maybe the problem wasn't me, but maybe the problem was the belief system I was trying to follow. I'm not a bad person because I can't prophecy and heal people with prayer. I'm just human being. No one can do these things.

I can clearly remember the moment when it happened. At the same time I had been listening to "God Is Not Great" in my car, I had also been reading Dan Barker's book "Godless". I was laying the couch reading Dan Barker's book when everything hit me at once. I sat up and thought, "I don't believe anymore." The feeling of relief, the feeling of stress leaving me was palpable, like a rock being taken off of my shoulders. It changed my life. My mind was finally my own.

I know I am not the only one that has been similarly helped with Hitchens' work. His writing was smart but worded so that anyone could understand it. This is a mark of a true teacher, taking the complicated and making it simple. He was an incredible speaker and his humor and wit was razor sharp, making him the greatest debater I've ever seen.

I can't stress enough how much I will miss this great man. Here he is from a debate already suffering from the cancer and treatment that eventually killed him:

Edit: Mods, I did a search for "Christopher Hitchens" in the forums and got nothing before I posted this. I've long suspected that the search function in the forums is busted. I have just seen a thread posted before mine on this topic. But hey, lock that dudes thread. Mine is much better. ;)

#2 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

We come to a truth and we meet it head on. That's how you deal with real.

#3 Posted by TheHT (11689 posts) -

Well, I wasn't expecting that from the YouTube clip. Figured I'd get something more akin to 'god sucks' with much cleverer delivery. Sounds like he was a pretty stand up duder.

#4 Posted by Enigma777 (6084 posts) -

God 1, Hitchens 0

#5 Posted by MoonlightMoth (476 posts) -

I think that clip sums up the great man very well...he will be missed.

#6 Posted by Seastalk (123 posts) -

I honestly thought he was going to beat it.

The man was brilliant, it is a shame he was mortal like the rest of us.

#7 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7099 posts) -

R.I.P.

#8 Posted by washingmachine (103 posts) -

Very sad indeed. He has changed the way I approach a lot of subjects too--he was easily one of the most astute minds of our generation.

#9 Posted by mlarrabee (3031 posts) -

A true pity. I've never agreed with his beliefs and ideologies, but it's sobering for us all when a fellow human being passes. He will be missed.

#10 Posted by diz (936 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

God 1, Hitchens 0

Of course: religious people never die...

#11 Posted by Sticky_Pennies (2019 posts) -

God dammit.

See what I did there? Yeah, that was terrible.

In all seriousness, I was really sad to hear about this. He's an important figure, and absolutely changed how I view things.

#12 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

God 1, Hitchens 0

Of course: religious people never die...

Don't pay him any mind. I know Enigma and he's like me. He can't pass up a good joke.

#13 Posted by diz (936 posts) -

@McGhee said:

@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

God 1, Hitchens 0

Of course: religious people never die...

Don't pay him any mind. I know Enigma and he's like me. He can't pass up a good joke.

Was that a good ... ... "joke"? By the same token, you shouldn't have minded me.

#14 Posted by Enigma777 (6084 posts) -
@McGhee said:

@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

God 1, Hitchens 0

Of course: religious people never die...

Don't pay him any mind. I know Enigma and he's like me. He can't pass up a good joke.

It's nice to poke fun at yourself once in a while. 
#15 Posted by diz (936 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

@McGhee said:

@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

God 1, Hitchens 0

Of course: religious people never die...

Don't pay him any mind. I know Enigma and he's like me. He can't pass up a good joke.

It's nice to poke fun at yourself once in a while.

Better to poke fun at others though, especially once they're dead, eh?

#16 Posted by Enigma777 (6084 posts) -
@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

@McGhee said:

@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

God 1, Hitchens 0

Of course: religious people never die...

Don't pay him any mind. I know Enigma and he's like me. He can't pass up a good joke.

It's nice to poke fun at yourself once in a while.

Better to poke fun at others though, especially once they're dead, eh?

Poking dead people is not a hobby. It's a lifestyle. 
#17 Posted by diz (936 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

Poking dead people is not a hobby. It's a lifestyle.

With jokes like that one, you should start talking to Vanity Fair about their editorial vacancy.

#18 Posted by jonano (366 posts) -

oh man I really loved listening to this guy talk everything he said made sense to me,he was entertaining yet he made think and question i never thought about before. you'll be missed man

#19 Posted by geirr (2680 posts) -

RIP Hitch.

#20 Posted by GetEveryone (4458 posts) -

That's supremely sad news. I'd read an interview with him recently, where he suggested that he may not live very much longer, but that he was undergoing progressive treatment.

The man was a great speaker. Journalism and rhetoric has lost a giant today.

#21 Posted by dudeglove (8165 posts) -

@TheHT said:

Well, I wasn't expecting that from the YouTube clip. Figured I'd get something more akin to 'god sucks' with much cleverer delivery. Sounds like he was a pretty stand up duder.

Not everyone out there is a dickhead like Dawkins.

#22 Posted by N7 (3658 posts) -

Cancer is pure goddamn evil. It takes away all of the good people way too soon.
 
Makes me wonder what the world would be like if everyone lived until their bodies gave out, instead of having cancer take them away.

#23 Edited by TheSlip (47 posts) -

@N7 said:

Cancer is pure goddamn evil. It takes away all of the good people way too soon. Makes me wonder what the world would be like if everyone lived until their bodies gave out, instead of having cancer take them away.

I lost my father recently to cancer. It's fucking tough, and I always try to find some kind of solace in it, or at least come to terms and be at peace with it. Right now, the best thing I can say about all of it is that it makes those who were close to him stronger. I hated every minute of it, and yet I feel like I became a better person with a deeper understanding of what death really means because of it.

So while we may have lost another great man today, in a way, all those who were close to him suddenly have a deeper appreciation for his work. His death at an early age will get people to think on the subject more. He could have panicked and renounced his beliefs, choosing instead to suddenly believe in God, but he still stuck with his guns to the very end. And everyone else should at least pay attention to that.

#24 Posted by Matfei90 (1288 posts) -

One of the few people I can honestly say has had a significant impact on me.

Going to miss him greatly :(

#25 Posted by Brackynews (4094 posts) -

@N7: If you're saying "goddamn evil" in this context, then I'll say "amen" to that. ;)

To your point of bodies giving out, it's my understanding that type 2 diabetes is something everyone can/will contract if they live sufficiently long enough. Maybe that's 120+ years for some, but we'll probably see those ages happen in our lifetimes.

#26 Posted by Wonloong (370 posts) -

Good man, had an awesome life. Nice to have had the chance to hear his thoughts. He will forever be one of my favourite person.

#27 Posted by hidys (1029 posts) -

@dudeglove: God is not Great is a far more brutal book on religion than the god delusion is.

#28 Posted by N7 (3658 posts) -
@TheSlip: I lost my dad to cancer too. it's fucked up. He was never sick in all of his 56 years. Then one day he goes in to see why the fuck his side is hurting so bad, and walks out a couple of days later with brain, liver, lung, kidney, lymph node, and adrenal gland cancer. He's been dead almost a year and it's so fucked up, you know? Like, I'll be sitting here like "Yep, my dad is dead." and then all of the sudden it'll hit me like a bus. Like, oh, fucking hell. My dad is dead. It's really hard to really look at life the same without him because he was always there, and now he isn't. It's something that, for a while, I thought I did manage to get over. Mostly because I wasn't constantly crying after a certain point or going completely emo. But I don't think this is something I can ever get over.
 
How can you get over the death of someone who meant so much to you? He wasn't some random person who's words inspired an infinite number of people. He was just dad. And it's like a knife to the heart to know I'll never be able to talk to him again. It fucking sucks. It's almost like WE are the survivors of the fight against cancer. It's the people we love the most who are being taken away from us, and it's on us to carry on after all of the shit we go through.
 
@Brackynews: I'm sure having a disastrous lust for sweets n sodapop doesn't help at all. :D
#29 Posted by Joey2683 (371 posts) -

It's sad when any person dies, especially an intelligent and interesting man. As a Christian I don't agree with most of Christopher's views, but I always enjoyed watching him debate and hear his viewpoints on everything from religion to war and morality. Some of my favorite debates were between Chris and his brother Peter (An Atheists who later became Christian) at several universities around the U.S. and U.K. Both of them incredibly intelligent and well spoken had fascinating points on both ends. No matter what you believe, cancer is a terrible thing. A sad loss indeed.

#30 Posted by Zaxex (593 posts) -

A terrible shame. His influence on my life is significant; since I started reading his books I look at the world differently. It wasn't necessarily the religion angle either; I've never been particularly religious. If anything it's critical thinking and plain lucidity I have Hitchens to thank for.

As unfortunate it is for him to have succumbed to his cancer, he spent a good deal of his life making people think and confronting established convention. I can't unlearn what I've learned from his work and neither will many others; his influence continues, and I'd have to have lived an exceptional life to achieve the same.

#31 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

@N7 said:

@TheSlip: I lost my dad to cancer too. it's fucked up. He was never sick in all of his 56 years. Then one day he goes in to see why the fuck his side is hurting so bad, and walks out a couple of days later with brain, liver, lung, kidney, lymph node, and adrenal gland cancer. He's been dead almost a year and it's so fucked up, you know? Like, I'll be sitting here like "Yep, my dad is dead." and then all of the sudden it'll hit me like a bus. Like, oh, fucking hell. My dad is dead. It's really hard to really look at life the same without him because he was always there, and now he isn't. It's something that, for a while, I thought I did manage to get over. Mostly because I wasn't constantly crying after a certain point or going completely emo. But I don't think this is something I can ever get over.

How can you get over the death of someone who meant so much to you? He wasn't some random person who's words inspired an infinite number of people. He was just dad. And it's like a knife to the heart to know I'll never be able to talk to him again. It fucking sucks. It's almost like WE are the survivors of the fight against cancer. It's the people we love the most who are being taken away from us, and it's on us to carry on after all of the shit we go through.

@Brackynews: I'm sure having a disastrous lust for sweets n sodapop doesn't help at all. :D

I'm sorry to hear about this. You never get over it, but it does get better. My dad died four and a half years ago at the age of 50, not from cancer but from a heart attack. He was my best friend. The first two years were very difficult for me. It pretty much put my life on hold.

But with more time the unreal, what the fuck?, feeling goes away, and it is easier to think about it without having that particular kind of dread.

#32 Posted by N7 (3658 posts) -
@McGhee: Ugh. That's just the worst. It must have been a nightmare to have lost him so suddenly. I can't stand the thought of him being dead, but I often wonder how much worse it would have been had we lost him so suddenly. We at least had time to prepare and cushion the blow, but man I don't know how much worse we would have been had he just up and died.
 
It's things like that that make me sad, you know? It's not bad enough that we have to lose a parent, or anyone for that matter. No, the absolute shit of it all is when we lose them so unexpectedly. I call him my dad, always have and always will, but he was actually my grandpa. I was adopted from birth by my grandparents because my real mom wasn't in too good of shape to take care of me, and no one has seen my dad in about 19 years. So I grew up calling these people mom and dad. Especially since my birth mother ended up dying with my unborn sister before I was old enough to know who she was. It was the best experience for me, really. They spoiled me to the bone. And it was that reason that I took everything for granted. And ever since January of last year when we lost him, I keep thinking crazy shit. Like, what if I can make a deal with Satan to trade my life for his? Just absolutely batshit insane things of that nature.
 
It's weird how the mind works. You'll think of anything to give you some sort of hope. He's gone and I'll probably never see him again, given how dodgy this whole "God" thing seems to be. But I think that's one of the greatest things about Christopher Hitches. He did keep his mind straight during all of this. He never once said "Welp, time to believe in God now." No. He stayed true to his convictions down to the wire. And while I didn't actually know anything about him until recently, it's a very rare trait to see someone so honest and talented in this world.
 
I believe in God, and it's people like Mr. Hitchens that makes me wish even more that it's all true, that there is a heaven, so someone of his greatness can live in the ultimate paradise.
 
Regardless on what you do or do not believe, this man has created a legacy that some would probably kill to have. He has inspired so very many, and definitely won't be forgotten. And for that, I say Word Up.
#33 Posted by Joey2683 (371 posts) -

It's interesting hearing your stories and the loss or lack of a father in your lives. My father is still alive as N7's, but was never involved in my life. I was lucky enough to not go down a path so destructive I ruined my life, but more so a path that did change my life in many ways; good and bad. A great book that helped me understand I wasn't alone in my pain growing up father-less is from the author Donald Miller called Father Fiction. If you feel lost, alone(even around others) at times, or all the time, give this book a read. I don't read that much and this book was no exception as I had to read it in small chunks. The author's feelings connected so well with my own it brought out the pain I burried long ago and it hurt, but in a good way. Change is never easy because we naturally try to take the easy path. When traumatic events happen in our life, if not dealt with often leave parts of us stuck in that age. That is why if you lost a father, did not have one, or were abused by one, it's important to reflect on your life and the memories that hurt you and resolve them. Whether it's forgiving, or apologizing, coming to a peace when thinking about that "event" or "person" does not make you angry or sad will benefit you much more than you may believe.

#34 Posted by Jothel (935 posts) -

Sad news.

#35 Posted by Eurobum (247 posts) -

Check out his documentary: "Trials of Henry Kissinger"

Certainly this man pursued many causes. He wasn't just a nay-sayer he was a contrarian with interesting arguments and ideas to share. He was the real mythbuster, who learned to use TV appearances, even though they cheapened and dirtied him and his cause.

Public Debates on matter of fact issues are used to pit a person who is right and one who is wrong on equal terms, which is false and a complete misrepresentation. So a clever speaker rather than paying undue respect to his (idiot) opponent, uses this opportunity to share ideas and make a point instead of trying to "win" a debate.

Sadly most people watching don't have the ability, time or tools to scrutinize the arguments. It's easy to be fooled and distracted by rhetoric and sophistry and so most end up thinking that "both are right 50% of the time" or that "both are worth listening to", "opinions are relative", "I don't like this person" fucking terrible conclusions all around. Only the organizers of such debates and the format of TV shows are to be blamed for the confusion. Confusion and controversy the TV bosses want, not truth or due diligence.

#36 Posted by Xeiphyer (5608 posts) -
@Enigma777 said:
@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

@McGhee said:

@diz said:

@Enigma777 said:

God 1, Hitchens 0

Of course: religious people never die...

Don't pay him any mind. I know Enigma and he's like me. He can't pass up a good joke.

It's nice to poke fun at yourself once in a while.

Better to poke fun at others though, especially once they're dead, eh?

Poking dead people is not a hobby. It's a lifestyle. 
That's call necrophilia, and it's illegal. REPORTED.
#37 Posted by BrainSpecialist (554 posts) -

RIP Hitchens, you wonderful drunk bastard.

#38 Posted by Bwast (1342 posts) -

I never really understood people who actively campaigned that religion was a destructive force. While I'm not religious I think it has a place in the world. It can change people for the better and worse but so can money, fame, love, etc. Live and let live.

#39 Edited by BrainSpecialist (554 posts) -

@Bwast: Not to turn this into a religion-bashing thread, which it could very easily become, but if you seriously think that religion deserves a place in the world you should really watch this video.

#40 Posted by Bwast (1342 posts) -

@BrainSpecialist: Like I said, it can change people for better and worse. If Religion never existed, do you think our past would be entirely clean? People are the problem with Religion, not Religion itself.

#41 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

Guess he got to find out who was right.

#42 Posted by SuperMeatToy (35 posts) -

All I really know of the man is what I read in God Is Not Great, but I was nonetheless deeply saddened by the news. I'll always be a fan of him and his legacy though

#43 Posted by spazmaster666 (1978 posts) -

RIP. I can't say I agree with his views though (i.e. my journey into religion was mainly one born out of intellectual curiosity and reason, not blind faith.)

#44 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I've been looking at the God Is Not Great tag on Twitter, some of the responses from crazy Christians are hilarious.

#45 Posted by countinhallways (632 posts) -

Sad news. A man I had a lot of admiration for.

#46 Posted by amir90 (2178 posts) -

Right before Christmas too :(

#47 Posted by Dread612 (167 posts) -

RIP Mr. Hitchens.

The world needs more men of his intellect and eloquence.

#48 Posted by Mageman (351 posts) -

A militant atheist neocon warmonger died ? And nothing of value was lost.

j/k ofc

Sad news indeed, I remember Hitchens stated that there is a slim chance of surviving this cancer and for some reason I thought he would muster through. I never read any of his books but I enjoyed watching his debates which were always entertaining (though William Lane Craig kinda trashed him in one of them)

#49 Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1732 posts) -
@BrainSpecialist: Saying that religion has no place in the world is a completely idiotic statement. Completely.  
#50 Posted by Benny (1955 posts) -

I love the quote that i'll probably poorly paraphrase here

Asked if god were real and was a guiding hand throughout your life, he responded

"I think it would be like living in North Korea."

Interviewer responds:

"Well I'm not sure that god is kim jong il"

hitchens:"well ask kim jong il, he has a different opinion."

A tragic loss.