Sunday, August 15, 2010

What If Christopher Hitchens Converts?

I was reading a piece in today's (8/15/10) New York Times about Christopher Hitchens. As most of you  know he has esophageal cancer and it has spread to the lymph nodes. Hitchens reports, "I would be a very lucky person to live another five years."  Regardless, I hope that he makes a full recovery and if not that then he completes his days without undo suffering.

 A quick Youtube search brought me to this Anderson Cooper interview with Hitchens (click here for link). The two talk about his father who died of esophageal cancer and his mom who had committed suicide as well as Christopher's cancer. This is the second recent interview I've seen of Hitchens (the other is on the Atlantic site). In both pieces he states that any statement concerning his conversion to Christianity would be either a rumor spread by the religious or that he was not in a mental state where he could be responsible for his own actions (the cancer spreading to his brain). I thought of a quote from the Times article made by a Christian,
Your conversion could do for modern-day Christianity much what Paul’s did in the early days of Christianity.
 Hmmmm... how to make this sound like I'm not a raging a**hole?

Christopher Hitchens conversion would have zero relevance to my personal ideas concerning the existence of a deity. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens could announce tomorrow that they have converted to Zoroastrianism and started to worship Ahura Mazda. Me? I would just assume it's another interesting development in Purgatory. Of course I would go on red alert and make sure the God Squad wouldn't place their mind control chip into my cranium. Luckily for me my years of nonstop training for mediocrity has left me far down on the list of Atheists worthy of being mind controlled (take that overachievers!).

The issue, for me at least, is that Truth is not a popularity contest where I have to one of the cool kids. Nope.  I have been unpopular for loooong periods of time.  During the run up to the Great Recession I was one of the jerks saying things like, "The business cycle is eternally linked to human stupidity. The reason why people think that the economy will grow forever is that there are more idiots flailing around." However, I would be interested in Christopher Hitchens' logic and reasons for this hypothetical conversion. The guy is a lot smarter, talented, successful etc, etc, etc... than me, but just because he is all of those things does not necessarily mean he's right about any one point. His argument for or against God would be weighed out in the same manner as anyone else's.

And this brings up the problem with the religious. The basis of their system is all about who you are as against to the validity of your arguments. Moses says you have to be stoned to death because you are picking up sticks on the Sabbath? Sorry Charlie, Moses is always right because he is Moses. Who cares if you speak the crazy? If you are one of God's elect then you have a privileged knowledge that no one else has. Everybody else has to suck it up and follow.  Logically speaking, the religious spend their lives living in a house of cards.

That's par for the course...

this is Purgatory.

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