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Hitchens Was Not Great
Townhall.com ^ | December 17, 2011 | John Ransom

Posted on 12/17/2011 5:32:02 AM PST by Kaslin

When Christopher Hitchens died this week, I trust that after he did so, something miraculous happened.

That’s what my faith tells me.

It’s not in good taste to speak ill of someone recently deceased. But in this case, I think Hitchens would approve, or at least shrug it off with indifference, many of the screeds written for or against him.

But, while reading the eulogies about Hitchens I get the feeling, more than anything else, of a life wasted on unbelief.

Everyone dies, and then…that’s it… or is it?

Is all that’s left behind for a writer like Hitchens a mass of manuscripts and his ability to endure- or not- over the generations?

Hitchens would argue so. But I would argue no.

Because I believe that the things you do in life to bolster faithfulness; the things you do in life to support belief in anything or even something are much more important, either way, than the things you stand against.

Faith is the most important part of life and probably the most neglected.

This is not merely a religious argument. It’s an argument against skepticism as an end rather than as a means to something. It’s an argument that understands that unbelief requires much more faith than faith does and provides us with little substance.

If Abraham Lincoln had merely been against the spread of slavery rather than also believing in the God-given equality of man, 45 million people could be in slavery today.

But let’s get back to Hitchens.

His view of the miraculous is a good example of how faith is the most extraordinary part of human existence.

He dismisses our existence as a mere accident of…well he doesn’t know what.

But if we are just an accident that happened, sentient beings with the ability to know right from wrong, of knowing the natural law from right here in our heart, of comprehending our own existence and even rejecting our existence, well that’s probably the greatest miracle of all.

Is more improbable that man with knowledge of natural law was created by a knowing and loving God or just on accident? It certainly would require a great deal of faith to believe that it was on accident.

I’m not a mathematician, but I’m guessing the odds of me being here, occupying this space and time, on accident, would be quite astronomical.

Reverse engineer the "Infinite Monkey" theory that says that if you have an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters that one monkey will accidentally bang out the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This is a much-used thought experiment that deals in big number probabilities.

In Hitchens' universe, William Shakespeare was that improbable, infinite monkey, as are you. In fact, in Hitchens universe, Shakespeare is even more improbable than our infinite monkey, because our infinite monkey only accounts for the odds of creating Shakespeare's works, rather than creation of Shakespeare himself.

What atheists would have you believe is the improbable multiplied by infinity by accident.

That's why I think increasingly advances in biology and physics suggest that an accidental creation is the most improbable faith of all.

For example, the theory in quantum mechanics called the Uncertainty Principle- which so far is consistent with what has been observed in physics- increasingly suggests that everything remains only a probability until it is actually observed. Without observation, nothing actually exists.

If that’s true- Einstein rejected the possibility of the Uncertainty Principle- none of us really exist nor does the universe exists without an all-seeing being. There is just no other explanation for the universe.

In Hitchens’ universe, a universe without an all-knowing being, freed from bonds of both time and space, would suggest that our existence is only a probability, not a reality.

The awareness of our own existence, our self-consciousness therefore makes belief in a sterile universe without a Creator, an unknowable act of faith.

But instead of faith all you are left with is the certainty of doubt.

The lesson you find has the moral authority of a South Park episode.

And none of the humor.

That’s not great.

That’s an episode of The View.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: atheists; christopherhitchens; faithandphilosophy; hitchens
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1 posted on 12/17/2011 5:32:03 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Sounds pretty Hindu ~ with "the sleeper awakening" and all that. Hmmm.

Hitchens took a different path or two in his time didn't he.

2 posted on 12/17/2011 5:34:45 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Kaslin

Why Judge? Particularly; ‘post mortem’. Hitchens walked in his shoes. . .as does each individual. Some things are still free; as in one’s own conscience and self-determination. Whether by our own short-sightedness or otherwise.


3 posted on 12/17/2011 5:38:05 AM PST by cricket (/get the 'Occupier' out of our White House!/ and Newt 'in'. . .and it is NOT just the economy!)
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To: Kaslin

Hey, he went to the smoking section for eternity. PC/


4 posted on 12/17/2011 5:40:25 AM PST by Tigen (I shall raise you one .)
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To: Kaslin

Hitchens used his time on earth to ask questions. He had every right to search for answers. By doing so - I am confident he provoked many to regain and strengthen their own belief in God and Christ.

It is not His methods or messengers we should question, but wonder at His results.

Thank you Christopher - may you RIP and in His embrace.


5 posted on 12/17/2011 5:42:34 AM PST by sodpoodle ( Newt - God has tested him for a reason..)
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To: Kaslin
Without observation, nothing actually exists. ...a universe without an all-knowing being, freed from bonds of both time and space, would suggest that our existence is only a probability, not a reality.

Mr. Ransom does not discuss the possibility of the actor being his own observer.

6 posted on 12/17/2011 5:47:52 AM PST by ez ("Abashed the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is." - Milton, "Paradise Lost")
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To: Kaslin

Hitchens was obsessed by God. He didn’t have to be. One can lead a perfectly irreligious life these days in New York, London, Paris and even Rome... It’s not like he was living in Saudi Arabia. Secularism is pretty domaninat.

Yet he spent more time thinking about Him than most religious people. Great Christians such as C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton started out as atheists, probably reasoning along the same lines as Hitchens.

It’s against my religion to condemn people to heaven and hell, but I like to imagine a longer-living Hitchens publicly coming to reality or at least in his last minutes suddenly thanking the Lord. Mercy on his soul.

At least he didn’t spend his days ignoring God, but putting up a fight. Like lots of saints and evangelizers.


7 posted on 12/17/2011 5:51:25 AM PST by Youaskedforit
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To: Kaslin

If I’m going to spend any time reading the work of an atheist or agnostic, it’ll be written by Ann Rand.


8 posted on 12/17/2011 5:51:25 AM PST by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: Kaslin
Soooo, John Ransom was too cowardly to write about Hitchens when he was alive, well and able to defend himself.

I personally did not agree with Hitchens style of Atheism (he called it Anti-theism)...nor his backing of Obama for _resident. but he definitely was in favor of kicking the crap out of the Islamofascists that caused 9/11.

and he was interesting to listen to.

RIP Chris

9 posted on 12/17/2011 5:52:55 AM PST by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Kaslin

“If Abraham Lincoln had merely been against the spread of slavery rather than also believing in the God-given equality of man, 45 million people could be in slavery today.”

Okay, now that was just stupid. Lincoln was a “classicalist” dedicated not to “equality”, but the preservation of the union. He seriously considered that the best resolution of things would be to ship the slaves back to Africa, but was informed that it would be logistically impossible.

Unfortunately, it ended there, because he was otherwise occupied. But had circumstances been more favorable, he would have ordered a repatriation program, as he feared that emancipated blacks would become “perpetual public charges”. Rather foresighted, that.

In truth, for the next 60 years, even many blacks thought that a voluntary return to Africa was a grand idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-to-Africa_movement

Prior to Emancipation, which was done during the war as an effort to undermine the South, and until the tail end of the war, slaves “liberated” by Union forces were done so not to become free men, but as “contrabands”, who could be used pretty much as chattels, to do things like improving Union fortifications.


10 posted on 12/17/2011 5:57:41 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Kaslin

Most Christians see the world as divided into “Christians and others”. The belief systems of Hindus, Buddhists, Jainists, Sikhs, and others don’t really count, even though those faiths likewise hold that the universe is created, not random.

I’ve been an atheist all my life. Yet I have been intrigued by Judaism, and by the Baha’i faith, to the point where I once looked at the conversion rituals of both. I wonder if you or the author of this article would rejoice if I were to have so converted??


11 posted on 12/17/2011 5:57:55 AM PST by Notary Sojac (Liberalism: Ideas so good, they have to be mandatory!!)
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To: Tigen

We don’t know that.


12 posted on 12/17/2011 5:58:12 AM PST by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: cricket

I don’t think Ransom’s mention of Hitchens is central to the piece at all.

The point of the article is these sentences:

“What atheists would have you believe is the improbable multiplied by infinity by accident.

That’s why I think increasingly advances in biology and physics suggest that an accidental creation is the most improbable faith of all.

For example, the theory in quantum mechanics called the Uncertainty Principle- which so far is consistent with what has been observed in physics- increasingly suggests that everything remains only a probability until it is actually observed. Without observation, nothing actually exists.

If that’s true- Einstein rejected the possibility of the Uncertainty Principle- none of us really exist nor does the universe exists without an all-seeing being. There is just no other explanation for the universe.”

Ransom sums up the question (and gives the opposite answer) that Hitchens struggled with in his controversial book.


13 posted on 12/17/2011 6:02:40 AM PST by ngat
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To: Vaquero
Soooo, John Ransom was too cowardly to write about Hitchens when he was alive, well and able to defend himself.

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance. He’s also a regular contributor to Townhall Magazine. Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Prior to joining Townhall, he worked as a political activist and consultant in the Western states. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation.

Now tell me why should he have written columns before about Hitchens

14 posted on 12/17/2011 6:04:27 AM PST by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Kaslin
Everyone dies, and then…that’s it… or is it?

Certainly not. Depending on your beliefs, you either go to heaven, where you spend the rest of eternity eating grilled hamburgers from frozen patties, Sam's Club potato salad, cole slaw and potato chips with a never-ending supply of Bud Lite, or you go to hell, where the devil sticks a pitchfork up your ass. The choice is yours.

15 posted on 12/17/2011 6:08:04 AM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Kaslin

Did Hitchens sin against the Holy Ghost ? You can shake your hand at God and Christ and say what you may. However, when you sin against the Holy Ghost there is no redemption?


16 posted on 12/17/2011 6:10:38 AM PST by buck61
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To: Kaslin
The real question is....Where will you spend eternity?

Hitchens died fairly young....but all of us will die...eventually.

Where do some of you (here on FR) think Christopher Hitchens.... who profanes God.....attacks God....reviles God....and His son, Jesus Christ.....goes after death?

The Hitchens we know wanted no part of Jesus Christ, the Savior.

And unless....and I hope he did....repented even on his deathbed.....he is facing eternity without Christ...and not in Heaven.

Think of it this way.....If you had a friend or even a relative who hated you.....told lies about you....wrote untruths about you and tried to distort your name and good reputation....

..would you let him into your home, knowing full well he despised and rejected you as friend or brother?

I have a sister-in-law of many years (& who I love) who has a deep enmity against Christ....

..when my mother died, she would not even enter the church for the funeral..

..she sat outside in the parking lot

..she will not attend her beloved niece Christmas programs held in a church..

..she wouldn't even stand in the supermarket parking lot to listen to our choir's Christmas carols.....

..a deep enmity.

She is very ill now.....the next virus or pneumonia could take her, and she's only a couple years older than Hitchens...

..but still she rejects him.

Ask yourself the hard questions.....

Where do you say eternity is?....and are you ready to go there?

17 posted on 12/17/2011 6:17:45 AM PST by Guenevere (....We press on.....)
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To: Notary Sojac

>>>Most Christians see the world as divided into “Christians and others”<<<

You don’t know that.

What we do know is that Sojac sees the world as divided into “Others and Christians.”

And you are not alone in that, are you?


18 posted on 12/17/2011 6:18:08 AM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: Kaslin

Just two days after Reagan’s death Hitchens felt the need to badmouth him. Not only is liberalism a mental disorder, it robs you of your self-respect.


19 posted on 12/17/2011 6:18:24 AM PST by ILS21R (Never give up.)
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To: Notary Sojac

A commentor here posted this, yesterday:

“Now comes the march of those who absolutely cannot stand anyone who can’t be bullied into kow-towing to their Imaginary Friend. How dare the man have the dignity to ignore all those threats of Hell — the spiritual equivalent of “pass on this chain letter or you’ll have bad luck.”

But some people just can’t be intimidated by the myths of any culture, and it really galls those who are.”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2821161/posts?page=10#10


20 posted on 12/17/2011 6:19:15 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: Notary Sojac

Atheism, Baha’i and Judaism all leave you in the same place...without explanation for universal, invariant, abstract entities (which are necessary for reason) and without explanation for unity and diversity in existence. Only the triune God of Christianity provides the conditions for the existence of both in creastion. Yet, reason alone won’t get you to belief in Christianity. However, reason alone should be enough to get you to disregard the others.


21 posted on 12/17/2011 6:23:26 AM PST by crghill (Silly Mormons, God is triune.)
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To: Kaslin
Now tell me why should he have written columns before about Hitchens

not all you have described concerning Ransom's resume precluded his ability to write about Hitchens before or after Hitchens death....he obviously had a problem with Hitchens' beliefs....I do not know that he did NOT write about Hitchens before his death. but if he waited till after his death to criticize, then that is a cowardly act.

22 posted on 12/17/2011 6:42:18 AM PST by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: James C. Bennett; A_perfect_lady

ping


23 posted on 12/17/2011 6:42:46 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati)
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To: Kaslin

“Your arms are too short to fight with God.”


24 posted on 12/17/2011 6:44:14 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: ngat
I don’t think Ransom’s mention of Hitchens is central to the piece at all.

Then Ransom should have picked a different title other than "Hitchens is NOT Great". Beyond his intentions; that does make it a central thesis.

That said; we are all familiar with what atheists claim - and what should be the irreconcilable - 'random' universe.

If he wanted to talk about this world view or even Heisenberg; for that matter; then by all means; he had a story w/o Hitchens name on it. At least per title.

But, while reading the eulogies about Hitchens I get the feeling, more than anything else, of a life wasted on unbelief.

That is quite a negative judgment, and he uses this 'waste' to discuss; what otherwise; could be shared, w/o 'damning' Hitchens - again and worse; post mortem.

All to say and yes; just MHO. . .

25 posted on 12/17/2011 6:44:41 AM PST by cricket (/get the 'Occupier' out of our White House!/ and Newt 'in'. . .and it is NOT just the economy!)
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To: Kaslin
Wonder if Hitchens right now is reconsidering his view on the existence of God.

Heliday Greetings

26 posted on 12/17/2011 6:45:12 AM PST by Ahithophel (Communication is an art form susceptible to sudden technical failure)
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To: Tigen

There are two paths, but they are very different. One leads to death and one leads to life. For life, one must love the Lord that made you with all you heart and soul and mind and body and your neighbor as yoursefl.


27 posted on 12/17/2011 6:45:33 AM PST by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends)
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To: Kaslin
But, while reading the eulogies about Hitchens I get the feeling, more than anything else, of a life wasted on unbelief.

Great article. I think this expresses it. Hitchens was just the village atheist. What happens to him now is up to God, and the Lord is known for His mercy, so while we should pray for him I don´t think he necessarily condemned himself to Hell. He will, however, have to pay for anyone he misled.

But imagine knowing that your intellectual contribution is going to be defined by little more than being like the shabby crank in the small town who defined himself by being the village atheist. The village atheist, like Hitchens, didn´t even have any convincing or intellectually interesting ideas. He was just a crabby old man who felt things hadn´t gone the way he would have done them if he had been God.

Hitchens could write and it´s a pity that he was reduced to this...by himself. And he will disappear soon from human thought - but ironically enough, he will never disappear from the mind of God.

28 posted on 12/17/2011 6:45:42 AM PST by livius
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To: cricket

We judge things. That’s what we do. That’s what you’re doing, what prompted you to leave a comment. You “evaluated,” and felt the need to leave your opinion ...


29 posted on 12/17/2011 7:03:03 AM PST by Theo (May Rome decrease and Christ increase.)
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To: Kaslin
I believe that the things you do in life to bolster faithfulness; the things you do in life to support belief in anything or even something are much more important, either way, than the things you stand against.

A good description of FR and why I love it.

30 posted on 12/17/2011 7:09:33 AM PST by b9
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To: Kaslin
With apologies to Nietzsche.

God is not great: Hitchens

Hitchens is not great: God

31 posted on 12/17/2011 7:13:52 AM PST by mc5cents
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To: ez
If you've ever known anyone with an inability to examine their own behavior, or someone who is not at all conscious of how their selfish behavior affects others, you understand this statement instantly.

If you haven't I wonder if you can understand it at all.

32 posted on 12/17/2011 7:14:43 AM PST by grame (May you know more of the love of God Almighty this day!)
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To: Notary Sojac

On what data do you base these assertions?


33 posted on 12/17/2011 7:15:09 AM PST by steve8714 (A-B-O-E-R-&G)
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To: cricket

“That is quite a negative judgment, and he uses this ‘waste’ to discuss; what otherwise; could be shared, w/o ‘damning’ Hitchens - again and worse; post mortem.”

I think your attack on Ransom is unfounded and over the top. Your accusation that Ransom is ‘damning’ Hitchens is imaginary and hyperbolic. Ransom in his article deals with the post-mortem aspects of this “eulogy”, and contrary to this being a “quite negative” judgement, what milder “judgement” than this article and what more appropriate time could there be to deal with someone whose claim to fame is a book of blasphemy?


34 posted on 12/17/2011 7:20:11 AM PST by ngat
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To: cricket

And he is talking to G-d now.


35 posted on 12/17/2011 7:25:12 AM PST by richardtavor
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To: sodpoodle

Good response. Hitchens didn’t pretend to have all the answers, but he asked the right questions, honestly.


36 posted on 12/17/2011 7:29:19 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Ceterum autem censeo, Obama delenda est.)
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To: Notary Sojac

Go to your local Chabad House. Be enlightened, it will change your life...Just advice, not judgement..


37 posted on 12/17/2011 7:35:22 AM PST by richardtavor
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To: cricket

I always love the “Why Judge?” or the “Who are you to Judge” type statements. We make judgements all the time about people. We could not make it through one day without this ability. Hitchens judged and did so with a LOUD often times harsh, hateful voice. Who indeed was Hitchens to JUDGE??


38 posted on 12/17/2011 7:43:44 AM PST by therut
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To: Kaslin
   Christopher Hitchens gave a very patriotic speech at our 'Treason is the Reason' rally during the summer of 1999. He was outraged at the behavior of the Clinton administration. He was also funny. He gave a dinner speech later and spoke of us (Freepers) as being friendly and spirited. He expressed an appreciation for our hospitality. He seemed like a nice guy.
39 posted on 12/17/2011 7:47:00 AM PST by Maurice Tift (You can't stop the signal, Mal. You can never stop the signal.)
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To: livius

Hitchens wrote on many different topics for at least 30 years. He was, for the most part, a war reporter, not a religion writer. I should know, I have most of his books and frequently peek into them for a bit of intellectual enjoyment. So, I for one, will remember him.


40 posted on 12/17/2011 8:00:10 AM PST by miss marmelstein (Still heartless after all these years...)
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To: Notary Sojac

I find it interesting on many of these recent hitchens posts that people like you extoll hitchens staunch disbelief and his unwavering posture.

However when christians do the exact same thing it is condemend as bigotry and intolerance.


41 posted on 12/17/2011 8:04:30 AM PST by SpringtoLiberty (Liberty is on the marxh!)
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To: Dixie Yooper

I think you meant Ayn Rand (wonder what she, Hitchens and Mother Theresa are talking about today?)


42 posted on 12/17/2011 8:07:39 AM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: Fightin Whitey
No, I see the world as divided into believers and unbelievers. I count Christians along with Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Wiccans, and so on in the former category.

I disbelieve in a hundred concepts of God while you disbelieve in ninety-nine, so we are closer than you might think.

43 posted on 12/17/2011 8:10:00 AM PST by Notary Sojac (Liberalism: Ideas so good, they have to be mandatory!!)
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To: Kaslin

Hitchens was a man of intellect who many say took a few wrong roads in life. I found him eminently readable and thought provoking whether I believed in what he was saying or bot.

I pray the he personally found whatever peace he was seeking.


44 posted on 12/17/2011 8:10:56 AM PST by Mike Darancette (Either Obama can beat any GOP candidate or no GOP candidate.)
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To: Vaquero
Soooo, John Ransom was too cowardly to write about Hitchens when he was alive, well and able to defend himself.

Yes. Nothing brings out the Kick 'Em When They're Dead contingent of Christianity like an atheist's funeral.

45 posted on 12/17/2011 8:12:24 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: Larry Lucido
I think you meant Ayn Rand (wonder what she, Hitchens and Mother Theresa are talking about today?)

Probably the same things they were talking about in 1850.

46 posted on 12/17/2011 8:16:38 AM PST by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: Kaslin

Hitchens may not have been “great”... but, he was a MUCH better writer than this guy!

And... I bet a LOT MORE fun to hang out with! :-)


47 posted on 12/17/2011 8:20:35 AM PST by SomeCallMeTim ( The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them)
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To: Vaquero

Always enjoyed reading Hitchens.

And I always enjoy reading Ransom.

Hitchens was right about a lot of stuff, and when he was right, he was always right with style.

Ransom is right on this one.


48 posted on 12/17/2011 8:26:31 AM PST by Stosh
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Kaslin.

AIA Remembers Christopher Hitchens
Accuracy in Academia | July 2, 2004 | Sean Grindlay
Posted on 12/16/2011 9:28:58 AM PST by Academiadotorg
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/2821262/posts


49 posted on 12/17/2011 9:02:48 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! May 2013 be even Happier!)
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To: Kaslin

The writer uses the phrase “on accident”, how old is he, about 4?


50 posted on 12/17/2011 9:26:52 AM PST by Graybeard58 (No Obama, No Romney, No Paul, No Huntsman. We can do better than that!)
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