Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christopher Hitchens: I Will Miss You.


I haven't posted anything in over a year. With the death of Christopher Hitchens, I have been inspired to again watch all the videos I can find of him on youtube and other sites. It is powerfully clear to me that the world is now, without him, greatly diminished. Luckily, his writings and spoken words remain, and many people can still benefit from them. He has played an important role in my life, and I will miss him immensely.

I thought I would include a transcript of his closing remarks in a debate he had with William Dembski in 2010, as I think his words here are especially poignant.

"The discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble, what is pure, and what is true could always go on. Why is that important, why would I like to do that? Because that's the only conversation worth having. And whether it goes on or not after I die, I don't know.  But I do know that it's the conversation I want to have while I'm still alive. Which means that to me, the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can't give way, is an offer of something not worth having.
I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don't know anything like enough yet. That I haven't understood enough, that I can't know enough, that I'm always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom - I wouldn't have it any other way. And I'd urge you to look at those of you who tell you - those people who tell you, at your age, that you're dead till you believe as they do - what a terrible thing to be telling to children.  And that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority.  Don't think of that as a gift - think of it of a poisoned chalice, push it aside however tempting it is, take the risk of thinking for yourself.  Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way.  Thank you."
If you want to watch this bit, click here.
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4 comments:

Kevin said...

I've viewed so many of youtube's offerings of Hitchens, these past few weeks, they've blurred together a bit in my mind. Can someone point out the specific clip in which Hitch cites a quote similar to, "Which is the more likely: the whole virgin birth account, or that an unwed Jewish tart told a fib?" Thanks.

Eric Burton said...

Likely he has said it a few times, but the time I remember is while debating Al Sharpton.

Link

Kevin said...

In that debate, Hitch attributes it to David Hume. Thanks!
"Which is the more likely: that the whole natural order should be suspended, or that a Jewish minx should tell a lie?"

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, sub/dude said...

Because you’re truly ignorant on how to rise above the whorizontal world and one-outta-one shall croak sometime, somewhere soon, God has set-up this magnificent feature on the Way either Upstairs or downtown: the Warning. Everyone (me, too) living on this planet will see and feel the Warning lasting about 20ish minutes, showing U.S. a gorgeous picture of Heaven, Purgatory (depending whether our sins demand a greater punishment before being allowed into the Great Beyond), and dagnasty Hell. Remember, God doesn’t condemn; we condemn ourselves by our sinful lifestyles of unbelief. The Warning’s just a wake-up call. Don’t believe me? Guhroovy. You will soon. God bless you with discernment: atheism is cool, isn't it, till you croak...

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