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August 7th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

God and Christopher Hitchens: The plot thickens

Christopher Hitchens (right) with author Mark Danner in 2004.

Author and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens talked to CNN's Anderson Cooper this week about how his recent cancer diagnosis, which he considers a likely death sentence, has failed to alter his views on religion or God.

Watch the interview here.

And check out these related stories:

Stephen Prothero: Thoughts before I debate Hitchens

Opinion: Why Christians should pray for Hitchens

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Books

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. MK

    Come up with a better argument other than saying "myth" and "magics". Your argument is not worth arguing against.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • NL

      I don't know about anybody else, but I don't believe in magic. Myths, yes, but not actual magic.

      So, what are you saying? That, of the millions of deities we've had throughout history, yours just happens to be the only one that isn't a myth, or are you saying that none of them have been myth? The bible does mention other gods, like Baal, after all, and God himself says in the first commandment that he is a jealous god. Would a real God be jealous of myths?

      August 13, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  2. His Own

    Nl:
    IGod has gave ALL people the right to come to him, and accept his death on the cross, payment for your sins. Look, we are ALL sinners. He Loves everyone of us. What we believe regarding what Jesus has said to us in the bible, is a personal choice..to believe or not to believe. Then, to act upon that belief, by asking his forgiveness for our sins (whatever they are) and he promises he will forgive us and cleanse us . We are made a new creature in God, as our spirit is REBORN, as we now have the HolySpirit dwelling within us. In other words, man was seperated from God because of sin, and we were all destined to Hell. But God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins, and give us eternal life with him. It is the Christian belief that if we do not accept Jesus, and continue to live as sinners, we will have o place in his kingdom. That on Judgement Day, we will be cast into hell. That is the Christian belief, per the written word of God, found in the holy scriptures. It is by Faith we believe.
    Now, that is where it comes from.
    I do not believe it is anybodys right to judge you for your athiestic stance. I agree wholeheartedly, you should treat others as you want to be treated, and I know there are some who do exactly the opposite. Thats wrong. Jesus told us to love ALL , not just people like ourselves, or that only believe as we do.
    I am not saying a unbeliever would go to Hell, Jesus said it. I am merely and honestly trying to give you the answers to your questions as I know them and believe them.
    I have every respect for your belief and feelings, and still consider you a human being to be treated with Love. That is what is what Jesus commands me to do, because that is how Jesus would be. He does not tell me as a Christian I am to go out and treat people bad, and condemn them. I am not thier judge. I hope this explains it somewhat for you.
    Thank you for your most welcomed response, and hope you see me as a friend! Peace!

    August 11, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • NL

      Friendly discussion is all I want here, so thank you! 😉

      You see, I can't agree that we are all sinners. We are all human, yes, and we can all act impulsively and selfishly. Sometimes this leads to people getting hurt, and many of us atheists believe it's a good idea to try to limit the amount of hurt we do to ourselves and others. I would not regard everything you call sin to be naturally evil, but I do regard many of the things you would regard as righteous behavior to be harmful to yourself and others. So, in short, I don't believe in "sin" as you do.

      The Golden Rule is not perfect. Not always would I want people to treat me as they want to be treated. Let's face it: Some people have some very strange and dangerous desires. Some people actually like being treated as inferior, or superior, or in other ways I would find offensive and I wouldn't want that for myself. I, for example, would not act like Lot in the scriptures and offer my daughters to the rape gang in leu of my house guests. That's an example of biblical righteousness that I would have to refuse for myself.

      Gotta go now, but maybe I'll address some more of this post later, when I have time, OK?
      TTFN

      August 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You have not mentioned the importance of Baptism. Why did Jesus Christ commission the Apostles to go out and baptize all nations? I believe that is how we are 'born again'. It is a gift from God....the Father sends the Holy Spirit to reside in our soul and at this point we 'live in Him and Him in us'....this is our new life in the Spirit. It is not by anything that we do but is a gift from God.

      August 14, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • NL

      Why can't the simple, literal meaning of "born again" be enough? It became obvious that Jesus would not be returning right away, as many thought, so everyone would have to be born a second time, sometime in the future, to see his return. Simple, literal and, as history has revealed, completely accurate (so far). The protestant notion is entirely convoluted and it has painted them into the strangest, most unbelievable, theological corner.

      August 15, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  3. His Own

    Sorry for the double post. I did not see that first post, but it showed up after I retyped the second one.

    August 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  4. His Own

    First of all, they should not judge you. God tells us not to do that.
    But as Christians, we do believe that if your not saved by the Blood of Christ, and your name is not found written in the Book of Life, you will be cast into Hell, come Judgement Day.
    The choices we make here in this life. If you live in sin, and do what Jesus has said is sinful, the wages of sin is eteranl death.
    I know you can't hate what you don't believe in, my question was aimed at treating others who do believe in a humanitarian way. In other words, respect them as people, even if different from you.

    August 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • NL

      His Own-
      So, as Christians you know that you shouldn't judge, yet you are compelled somehow to inform me that non-believers WILL indeed be going to Hell. Nice distinction!

      Why is not believing sinful? Believers claim to have been given personal evidence from God that compels them to believe that God exists. If that is true, then God must have chosen not to give atheists compelling evidence, right? How can atheists be blamed then for not being given the advantage that God gives you Christians?

      I can't speak for all atheists, as we have no unity whatsoever, but I'd be willing to treat believers in a humanitarian way, as long as it's a two-way street. Keeping our atheistic thoughts to ourselves is seen as proper by society, and anyone actually daring to talk about their non-belief is labeled as "radical", it seems. Somehow, explaining one's position as a non-believer is seen as an attack upon believers (even when it's believers who demand an explanation from you), whereas their continual assertion that we are going to hell, are arrogant, rebellious and blind to something that is obvious only to them is not seen as an attack on their part.

      Surely your faith as believers can stand a little debate on why you believe what you do, can't it? When atheists open the dialogue, however, we get treated like the mean old man down the street who tells little kids that there really is no Santa. Your beliefs really shouldn't be that fragile, should they?

      August 11, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      I have never said you or anyone that you are going to hell but I have read other posters saying such a thing.

      No matter what you do or say we cannot say that we know for a certainty that you are going to Hell or to Heaven because that is for God to judge alone; no one has the right to judge ANY soul, for that is only for God to do.

      All we can do concerning words and actions [or lack of actions] is determine whether or not we should say or do or not do those same things. The only way to determine this is to judge them against what we know to be Truth and then proceed from there.

      We can say to ourselves [or out loud to anyone who cares to listen]….those are good words or bad words, or those are actions I would take or not take. But to go further and say ‘that person is going to hell because he said or did something, is not our judgment to make. We also cannot say that person is going to Heaven because of what he said or did because that is not our judgment to make.

      The Church has proclaimed persons to be Saints in Heaven due to the way they lived their lives and were perfect examples of how to live a life in Christ Jesus. We know if we live our lives in like manner we can have assurance in the hope of attaining our goal also.

      August 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      If it is for God to judge, as you say, then how does one know the saints are actually in Heaven? The Church decides, but it is often a matter of politics who gets canonized, and some saints are known or suspected to be entirely mythical figures. So, saints are largely a matter of faith and not a matter of knowing who is in heaven, right? Speculation not far removed from that of people making judgments of others who end up in heaven or hell.

      We can take the example of Hitler, a Christian to the end, and speculate what percentage likelihood he may now be in heaven? Can you say, for certain, that it is zero without treading on presumption? Would you still value heaven if he were there?

      August 15, 2010 at 1:07 am |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      The Catholic Church is Jesus Christ’s Church; He founded it. The Church has the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When the Church canonizes a Saint we can trust that they are in Heaven. The Church is without stain, wrinkle, or any such thing as the Bible tells us, and we believe it to be Truth. The Church is also the pillar and foundation of Truth, so, yes, we believe the Saints that are canonized are in Heaven. None of the Saints are mythical figures as you say, however some of the stories surrounding their lives may not be able to be substantiated but enough about their lives can be substantiated and thus the Church can pronounce them Saints.

      If I found Hitler in Heaven I would know that God had seen his soul as clean and I would rejoice that Hitler’s soul wasn’t satan’s prize; we know that no unclean thing will enter Heaven and so, just like anyone who we see who has done things we would consider evil or sinful, we realize that we never know when or if a person makes peace with God. It is every Catholic’s prayer that all souls reach Heaven; we do not want one soul lost to satan.

      August 15, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      So, the fact that Saint Brigid of Ireland shares both her name and her feast day with those of the earlier pagan goddess Brigid is just a big coincidence, I suppose? St. George, St. Christopher and a bunch of others are also pretty likely to be myths. Killing dragons, really?

      August 15, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      Read the truth about ‘Catholic Saints’ [google].

      August 16, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Define "truth." Is there undeniable historical evidence for all Catholic Saints? Are their miracles a matter of scientific certainty? Is there enough evidence to convince everyone? Even in recent times a figure like Mother Teresa can have her path to sainthood criticized and examined skeptically. Even with that amount of available information on the woman stirring up doubt, what certainty can we have of any of the others? What you are asking is for people to have faith in the RCC, and how can we when the Church has clearly not earned the world's faith in it's dealings of late? How many trust the RCC to act truthfully?

      August 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  5. His Own

    There is ONE God, the Lord Jesus Christ...He is your Savior.....he loves you even if you hate him and don't believe in him. He has allowed you free choice, to not believe.or to believe.
    If you don't believe, what get so angry at folks who do? They are just sharing with you, their Love of Christ. If you don't believe in God, why react to them in this manner? Just wish them well, and treat them with respect..as a human being. Just because your an athiest, does not mean you can't show tolerance for others beliefs, and love and compassion?

    August 9, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • NL

      His Own-
      You said "There is ONE God, the Lord Jesus Christ...He is your Savior.....he loves you even if you hate him and don't believe in him. He has allowed you free choice, to not believe.or to believe."

      So, why is it that so many Christians tell me that I am going to hell for not believing?

      By the way, you can't hate what you don't believe in. It would be stupid of any atheist to hate what we believe is a fictional character, and atheists aren't noted for being stupid. Honestly, we're not rejecting God like a teen would their parent. We look around and realize that we are all orphans of supernatural, deity parents.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:34 am |
  6. Mark from Middle River

    "Catholics for instance are TOLD what to believe by pedofile protecting woman hating men. HOW IS THAT MORAL???????????"

    And all Muslims are Terrorist..... all blacks are drug users and welfare cases.... all whites are klan members and neo-nazis, all gays and lesbians want to sleep with your kids and make them gay... all mexicans are illegal immigrants... all Americans are racist out to destroy Islam ..... all postal workers are insane .... all actors are liberals .... all republicans are evil ...

    aww heck ... all men cheat ..all women are gold diggers....

    Let go the hate kid .... makes you look stupid.

    August 9, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  7. fishyonekenobi

    Mr. Hitchens:
    May you have a successful battle against a disease that knows no religion, age barrier or circumstances. May you discover that injesting a little mary jane will ease your pain and stimulate that great mind of yours into providing us additional rational insights. May you live long and prosper sir; you have inspired me.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  8. fishyonekenobi

    Religous people think that absence of belief means that morality is not possible. Far from it. We get our strong moral convictions from rational thought; knowing intuitively right from wrong. Catholics for instance are TOLD what to believe by pedofile protecting woman hating men. HOW IS THAT MORAL???????????

    August 9, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • Guest

      fishonekenobi

      Sorry, we keep forgetting that atheists are born with morality, can you forgive us?

      August 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • verify

      No need to be snide, Guest.

      We are not born with the all the details of morality, of course. Most of it must be learned through logic and reason and guidance from the experiences of others who have lived a while.

      Do you really think that it is moral to lie to children by telling them that there's a boogieman down below, who will 'get' them if they are bad and a giant good fairy up above with lots of rules, who will reward them if they're good?

      August 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • NL

      Guest-
      Actually, if you really think about it, we are all born atheists, and innocent.

      We have to be taught that the invisible God exists, as it is certainly not an intuitive knowledge. We also have to be taught to judge other people, to have biases, and to blindly follow biblical (or at least, somebody's version of biblical) law. To do that the adults in a child's life have to convince them that the invisible heaven and hell also exist along with the angry/loving God who will send them to one of these places when they die. This angry/loving God also decides when the child will die too, so they had better behave, and believe. Religion teaches people these things. Children believe it because they trust the adults in their lives. Interestingly, it's the same reason why children really believe in Santa as well.

      So, why not raise your children as freethinkers so that they will have the tools to judge what is right and wrong for themselves, and not just blindly accepting sets of rules that have no logical rhyme or reason for being correct?

      August 10, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • Guest

      @NL-

      Really? you go right ahead and raise your kids to be Macabren Charles Mansons, if you truly cared about God's children, wouldn't you want Christ Church to help in raising them. It's pride that you are teaching your children, a pride that will put distance between you and God, and I genuinely feel sorry for your children....

      August 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • NL

      Guest-
      Charles Manson's Family was a group with Christian beliefs, so I really don't get what your point is. I'm raising my children not to be blind followers. You might want to take similar steps to cult-proof your kids.

      August 11, 2010 at 12:35 am |
    • Guest

      @NL–

      You can't shelter God's children forever, and I prefer not to keep children caged like a pet or "cult-proof" as you suggest, we are all God's children whether you agree or disagree. We aren't born with any predisposition to being atheistic, but are the results of a complex mix of developmental factors.
      Charles Manson and his followers did have a religion-as they worshiped themselves also, like the followers of the god-less.
      How will the children entrusted to your care feel about you, when they find the Truth of God's Love?

      August 11, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • NL

      Guest-
      Why are you so afraid of giving children critical thinking skills?

      I wouldn't want to cage kids, but I would want to teach them to think and to evaluate what they see and hear. That, acceptance and love goes a long way in keeping kids out of cults. It also makes them better consumers; ones not easily fooled by products that appear too good to be true. What's wrong with that?

      I, however, do see lots of believers dictate what music, movies, entertainment, reading materials and a host of other things that their kids are allowed to see and do. I see lots of religious compounds too. I see plenty of believers warn their children about the "secular" world. Now that sounds like sheltering to me.

      The Manson Family would still be considered a Christian cult, as they were based on some Christian beliefs. There have been and presently are thousands of Christian cults. Some major Christian movements are characterized as cults by other movements. Even the Catholic Church is seen as a cult by some, so don't try to suggest that Christian cults don't exist.

      Sure we are born with a predisposition to being atheistic. Babies don't believe in God, right? Children are raised to believe in whatever faith their parents want them to believe in. I think it highly likely the fact that you are Christian is more of a quark of geography than your personal choice, wouldn't you say? Had you been born in Iran you'd likely be Muslim.

      August 12, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Guest

      NL-

      Critical thinking skills are gifts from God not man, when you take credit for the life entrusted to you, Pride is what being taught. If we leave out the Love of God in our lives, pride takes over.

      The secular world is all around us, this is true, when we leave God out all you have is secular, where is the beauty in that?

      The Manson Family could be considered a cult, a cult can worship themselves also, but worshiping yourself is not a Christian movement and doesn’t come from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

      To assume babies don’t believe, because they are unable to communicate, is not provable, if a baby leapt in the womb during a abortion would you say it doesn’t feel pain?

      And if one of your parents was Charles Manson would you have a predisposition to murder? Would you have more of a predisposition to murder if you worship yourself instead of God like Charles Manson did?

      August 13, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • NL

      Guest-
      Nope, you actually can teach critical thinking skills just as you can teach your children any other survival skills. The difficult part is getting people to use them. Lots of religious people actually have very well developed critical thinking skills, and they do use them quite effectively, ... outside of church.

      There is lots of beauty outside of religion. Nature is no less beautiful when you don't imagine a god having created it. It actually becomes more precious if you don't imagine a god about to destroy it too.

      I'm actually against abortion. Being an atheist doesn't automatically come with membership in every typically liberal position out there, you know? However, I can't disprove that babies do calculus or remember their past lives in the womb either, so what's your point? You can fill many volumes on what can't be disproven, but that doesn't make any of them true by default. Most people, for example, will make up their mind about werewolves and dismiss the likelihood that they and other mythical creatures pose a real danger to their lives. I make the same calculation regarding heaven, hell and God. Simple as that!

      August 14, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      Nature is no less beautiful when you don’t acknowledge its creator, you suggest?

      Why is it that art is so much more valuable and sought after if the creator has his mark on it? Those 'in the know' may say, ‘Yes, this is definitely art by ‘so and so’ but without the signature its value is greatly reduced.’

      Nature has God’s signature all over it; only the blind or those in the dark can’t see it.

      August 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • NL

      @CatholicMom
      You imagine you see God's signature all over nature, but how can you tell? Do we have an alien nature that we can compare it to, a nature that Christians don't believe has God's signature all over it? No, so how can you say "This is God's signature, and that is not?"

      All we have is one nature. The beauty of sunsets all over the world along with the horror of natural disasters that kill thousands each year. If all of nature has God's signature upon it than these floods and fires also have his mark upon them as well, right? So, is God the artist of wasps that lay their eggs in living hosts, of the AIDS virus that kills so many Catholics in Africa, and of the earthquake that hit Haiti? I think I take more comfort in knowing that these are random aspects of nature, and not the work of a calculating deity who must be choosing who dies horribly and who does not.

      August 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Guest

      NL-

      Teaching morality is important, and can be just about as important as swimming lessons for children or babies. But, before you try to get them to “walk on water” you should teach them morality…. so they don’t drown their brothers or sisters with unbelief.

      If babies are one of the most beautiful gifts from God, why do people choose to destroy this gift? I don’t see God destroying; I see man throwing gifts back at God…. If God didn’t create the beauty of nature, does that make you the Creator?

      Instead of “most people” do you mean “some people” when they watch tv they have bad dreams? Is it garbage in, garbage out your point? And do “most or some” people seem to create their own reality when they are apart from God?

      I’m glad you are against abortion.

      August 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,

      It is not my ‘imagination’ when I see God’s signature all over nature. This is how you can tell that it is God’s signature:

      We human beings have the highest intellect of all visible creatures living on this earth. If we can create something out of nothing [call something into existence] we can lay claim to being the creator of the thing. If we cannot create it, then it is God’s signature. I know of nothing that man has created that is alive except for a baby and that can only be done in conjunction with God; He is the One who breathes the soul into a body. You do agree you have a soul, I am sure. Without a soul the body cannot live. When you die, it is just your soul ‘moving into the next age’ which is eternity. Your body returns to dust.

      This is another reason why abortion is wrong. The baby would not be alive without a soul which is present at its inception--without the soul the baby would be lifeless, dead.

      The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery to our minds; if we knew all reasons for everything we would know the mind of God; however, we will fully know ‘all’ in eternal life.

      One thing about our pain and suffering in illness [such as Hitchens is suffering]…..God uses our pain and sufferings as a way of us collaborating with God for the good of the kingdom. Yes, God could have created a perfect world without pain, suffering, and evil, but God preferred a world in a state of journeying towards its ultimate perfection. This is where faith, hope, and love carry us to our ultimate ever-lasting life in eternity.

      God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it; He is all-powerful and good and can cause good to emerge from evil itself.

      Satan is real and is constantly trying our freedom…causing us to falter along that path we want to stay on. But by the grace of God we can stay on it.

      August 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • NL

      Guest-
      Morality is a plastic thing. Take for example the novel "The Road." The father in that book had to teach his son a morality that bettered their chances for survival, but would not be considered moral in our present society. Times change, and what is defined as morality correct also changes to match the times. We no longer keep slaves. Why is that? The bible clearly says how to do it, so why have we stopped? Shouldn't the teaching of morality be based on what is appropriate for the present age, not what was accepted in a past one?

      I am against abortion, but I also think it's wrong to force women to have children they don't want, or aren't capable of supporting. I would love the technology to become available where unwanted fetuses could be transplanted into infertile women's wombs, but in the meantime I'd appreciate less need for abortion, meaning better contraception or abstinence. Whatever stops unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

      Past morality may have valued lots of children being born, for survival. Now we have too many people, and adding more people is not going to help our species survive, but the opposite. Morally, is it correct to overpopulate our planet?

      Finally, I do not see any intelligent design in nature. We have too many weak parts and our construction has too many useless components to have been made by your God. One tiny speck in the vast harsh cosmos is an accident, not a design. A Creator made sense when we thought that the earth was all there was, and the sun, moon and stars were simply hung in the sky, but the awe that is inspired through a scientific attempt at trying to take in the utter vastness of the universe completely surpasses the limited creation story of Genesis. Sorry, but that's how I feel.

      August 15, 2010 at 1:57 am |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      You said "If we cannot create it, then it is God’s signature."
      Why? I honestly don't see any reason for this being so unless you use the words "God" and "nature" interchangeably, which I doubt. We take raw materials from nature and we make tools out of them. Other animals create tools as well, and I'll include shelters with this, but we are the best at it because we can be really creative at it on the individual level.

      Like I told Guest, I really don't see any intelligent design in nature. I see competition, where one animal eats another for survival. Does this make the carnivore evil? Hardly, right? In fact, it's difficult to judge what's evil at all. For every person who benefits from something it seems that another suffers. The development of a new invention might be seen as a good to many, but may be viewed as an evil to those who made their earning producing the old technology. Many of the "good" things that God did to clear the promised land for his chosen people were, undoubtedly, seen as quite evil by those peoples who were on the receiving end. So, what is evil (and good) is often very much a matter of perspective.

      I was taught to believe I had a soul, but now I know better. I have a personality, and it's stored in my brain. My personality can be altered by drugs, mental illness, or severe trauma to my brain. My personality will disappear when my brain dies. If a person is kept alive, but their brains are dead, where is their soul? Already in heaven (or hell) or waiting for the rest of the body to die? If we had souls, could they be damaged in car accidents, by Alzheimer's Disease, or by anything else?

      August 15, 2010 at 2:33 am |
    • NL

      Guest-
      How removed from nature do you see humans? Termites mine resources in an area and build huge complexes that crowd out other creatures in just the same way that we do with our cities. They use all of their intelligence to build the best shelters that they are capable of and we use our natural intelligence to build the best shelters and tools we are capable of. I see no difference in our efforts. In this way, aren't all of our inventions, technology and building just as natural as the workings of any other creature on this planet? Therefore, all is nature and there is no distinction of things that you can label "God's signature."

      I know this doesn't sound very environmentalist, but I see that crowd as just following a different kind of religion, is all.

      August 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Guest

      NL-

      We haven’t stopped being slaves, if you are a follower of Christ. I can see you wouldn’t kick a fellow traveler that is lost and asking for directions….unless your morality was truly plastic. That’s why the Bible is a “tool” for yesterday and today.

      It is good that you are against abortion, morally it is correct to populate the planet, and morally not correct for us to decide when the planet is overpopulated.

      If and when you create something living from nothing, then I will believe your theory about intelligent design in nature, but until then…. you can consider yourself an “accident” if you want , but My doctrine is not Mine, but His, when I consider myself created for a purpose.

      August 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • NL

      Guest-
      "We haven’t stopped being slaves, if you are a follower of Christ."
      Not the same thing as historical slavery but, still, why would anyone want to be a slave to anything? Do you really mean to say that you have no say whatsoever in your serving Christ? "Do, or be punished!" ?! That's more harsh than I would have characterized faith.

      I would direct anyone seeking directions in this matter to study all religions in hopes of their realizing how similar they all are to each other while also disagreeing to the point of violence.

      Why is it correct to populate and to also overpopulate the planet? Competition for resources will only play into the devil's plans to set people against each other, right? What good will it do?

      I don't have to create something out of nothing: The universe does, and I'm not sure that "out of nothing" is correct here anyway. ID believers actually want to create the most powerful being imaginable out of nothing, and then have him create life out of nothing. That, my friend, is more convoluted and therefore even harder to believe in.

      August 16, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  9. Flem

    Why would he alter his views?

    It's funny, Every Christian is an Atheist, they don't know it 🙂

    August 9, 2010 at 6:46 am |
    • Guest

      Flem-

      Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt.–Gilbert K. Chesterton

      August 9, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Flem,
      Most atheists has a conscience and that works against their atheistic views every time. That is why most of them say, 'Stop talking about religion, prayer, God, and life-everlasting' because it bothers their conscience. A really hardened Atheist would not get all hot under the collar because he has denied his conscience for so long, he doesn't hear it anymore.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Actually, being an atheist and becoming a freethinker leads one to follow their conscience more than the religious do. Following set dogma and rigid, illogical "laws" prevents people from following their heart, where they know when they are hurting people by discriminating and judging them.

      And don't speak for "most atheists" until you get to actually know some, OK?

      August 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • Luke

      CatholicMom – Blatantly false statement. I love how you generalize. I suggest you do some reading, not recommended by your priest, on the topic. It is not meant to waver your view, but educate you on "us." Start with the God Delusion. It's common and cliche by now, but certainly a foundation of free thinking. Then move on to the works of Sam Harris, a philosophical genius. Dan Dennet is very cerebral, so it might go over your head, but I also recommend his writings. A good view on religious history (facts, not opinions) are available in Mr. Hitchens' books. I also recommend The Bible Unearthed and The Evolution of God. Some good summer reading. Talk to you in a month.

      August 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      You don't know my friends.....well, maybe you do....

      August 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Luke,
      Going on vacation? Take along acouple of Good Books....the Holy Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church!
      Stay safe and be good.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • verify

      If one's conscience screams at one to quit living the lie and myth and fantasy of religion, well I guess you can call that 'bothered'.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • Luke

      CatholicMom – how many time are we going to go over this? I have read the bible; a few different versions in fact. I've also read the Koran. So, have you read any books I mentioned?

      August 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Are you saying that you do, in fact, base your perceptions of atheists on having actual atheist friends? Friends that you then characterize as people who deny their conscience in order to feel better about their atheism? Nope, I don't know anybody alike that, and they certainly wouldn't be my friends.

      Many, if not most atheists were once believers. I mean, as sure of their belief as you are now, until they started really examining what they believed. So, atheists are qualified quite often to speak on what it is like to believe, whereas I know of few atheists who have later become believers. Well, at least without becoming much sought-after Christian TV celebrities.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:03 am |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      You said.....Following set dogma and rigid, illogical "laws" prevents people from following their heart........
      I have heard atheists say the heart is just a muscle......
      Evidently your heart is not 'hardened'......

      August 14, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      I actually prefer to associate my conscience with my heart, not for religious reasons, but for poetic ones. 😉

      August 15, 2010 at 2:38 am |
  10. Mark from Middle River

    Once he sorta gave respect to those who were honestly praying for his recovery I thought that this issue was mute.

    As a person of faith the remarks he posted were understanding and totally lacking of rabid extremist athesit rants I see here. In the end I found more respect in his statement than much of what see here from his athesit brothers and sisters.

    August 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • Luke

      CatholicMom – how many time are we going to go over this? I have read the bible; a few different versions in fact. I've also read the Koran. So, have you read any books I mentioned?

      August 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Luke,
      Perhaps when you read the Bible you had some trouble understanding it fully; this is to be expected and this is why we have the Church to help us ‘get it right’. The Bible says that we need to ‘hear’ the Word of God spoken by someone who has been Sent for that purpose. If you refuse to hear the Word by someone who has been Sent, then you risk the possibility of misinterpretation.

      Misinterpretation has been going on since Luther opened the door to private interpretation which he really didn’t mean to have happen….as he said…. "This one will not hear of Baptism, and that one denies the sacrament, another puts a world between this and the last day: some teach that Christ is not God, some say this, some say that: there are as many sects and creeds as there are heads. No yokel is so rude but when he has dreams and fancies, he thinks himself inspired by the Holy Ghost and must be a prophet."
      De Wette III, 61. quoted in O'Hare, THE FACTS ABOUT LUTHER, 208.

      "Noblemen, townsmen, peasants, all classes understand the Evangelium better than I or St. Paul; they are now wise and think themselves more learned than all the ministers."
      Walch XIV, 1360. quoted in O'Hare, Ibid, 209.

      Luther thought himself the learned one along with St. Paul.

      So you see, all the splits have continued up to this day and by tomorrow there will be more, I would not doubt. But I think there will still be more who will throw out the OT and throw out Religion, too, before they come to their senses.

      There have been many wonderful people who love God with their whole heart who are, ‘little by little,’ learning the Truth and coming home to the Catholic Church. They are tired of the man-made mess that is still at odds with the Truth….

      August 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  11. Pet

    CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS IS SUCH A SAD, SORRY, PATHETIC, INTOLERANT, BIGOTED, HATEFUL HUMAN BEING. HE HAS SPENT SO MUCH TIME HATING CHRISTIANS. A REAL SIMPLE QUESTION TO YOU FOOLS THAT ADMIRE THIS HATEFUL INDIVIDUAL. HAS HITCHENS EVER DONE ANY CHARITY WORK, VISIT SICK KIDS IN HOSPITALS, ETC? MY GUESS IS PROBABLY NOT. HE HAS TAKEN ALL YOU SUCKERS WHO SUPPORT HIM AS IDIOTS. HE HAS MADE MILLIONS OFF OF HIS BOOKS BY PROMOMTING HATE WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING OF ACTUAL VALUE IN LIFE TO HELP OTHERS.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • jim

      How many millions have been made by hustlers selling that comic book you call your bible?

      August 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Pet

      First..... do you think that speaking in ALL CAPS. is somehow going to make your assertion seem more truthful or intelligent...?

      Secondly, if... you have at all followed any of who this man is and any of his work. He is has not, never has espoused any kind of hatred, especially of delusional christians.

      Thirdly, he is someone who believes in the scientific method and reason... that's it. He has stated, that if there is a god, it way far beyond anything we can understand.

      So, i would suggest before you post such bias, hate-filled falsehoods about someone or any topic for that matter, you get your facts straight, so you can engage in a reasonable and rational dialogue with others.

      Peace.....

      August 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Noble9

      Opening the eyes of someone who has been suckered by the religious con game seems like a valuable service.

      August 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  12. One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

    I share Hitchen's technique for accepting prayers of others. If it makes you feel better to pray for me, I give you my blessing for you to do so.

    I get irritated at all those atheists who are offended that someone would pray for them. How exactly does that hurt the atheist if someone else speaks to a non-existent God?

    August 8, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  13. HahaReligion

    Catholic mom, when you understand why you dismiss all the other possible Gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

    August 8, 2010 at 3:17 am |
    • CatholicMom

      I don't dismiss any other gods because there are none. There is only God.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Grant

      HahaReligion – I believe you've just been 'religioned'.

      X <– bang head here

      August 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  14. Ennne

    How exaclty does the plot thicken here???? Very misleading title. Why would aquiring a deadly form of cancer change somebody's mind about god anyway? It would just make me think, that if god existed, he or she is an even bigger jerk than what i had originally thought. You don't believe in me? I am going to give you a terrible illness and make you suffer until you fear death enough that you turn back to me, your loving god. And, as a side note, I really object to the word "failed" in this little blurb. He FAILED to turn back to give up atheism? Really? I think all you believers fail at critical thinking...

    August 7, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  15. Buzz

    This is just plain silly.

    Everyone capable of rational thought realizes that there is no evidence anywhere that any of the godfigures man has invented for himself exists anywhere but in the minds of those who have chosen to believe in them.

    They are make believe. Why would Mr. Hitchens suddenly become interested in fantasy just because he has cancer?

    Nonsense.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Buzz,
      You are capable of rational thought, you say….where does an atheist get ‘thought’ or the ability to ‘think’ or have memory? Catholics know that they get their ability for ‘thought’ from God. Where does an atheist get his conscience? Catholics get theirs from God. Where does an atheist get the love to shower on his neighbor? A Catholic gets love from Love Himself, Jesus Christ! From where does an atheist get hope? A Catholic gets hope from God. You see, we have the answers for so many questions which others refuse to accept because they don’t want to believe in God. Why is that? Where does that kind of thinking come from? There are many things such as has been mentioned that we cannot see or touch and yet we know they exist. To have 'Faith' is such a ‘joy’ [more of those ‘untouchables’…] to know the Truth and not be plagued with ‘fear’… oh, there’s another one. None of those things are ‘make believe’, as you say, and neither is God.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • riverrunner

      Look CatholicMom your dog probably has similar thought, conscience, love and hope as you. please don't patronize us. faith is not truth or knowledge. you are just emotionally attached to something you want to be true because you were taught this. please prove that the christian god created us and gives us thought love and hope. do you have any evidence beyond what a muslim or mormon might give? testimony is not evidence. a book is not evidence.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
    • JK

      Well done riverrunner; I've met many loving dogs, including my own, and I'm certain none of them ever read a bible!
      CatholicMom- are you saying there was no such thing as love prior to 2010 years ago!?....pfffft!

      August 8, 2010 at 1:10 am |
    • Sanity Claws

      @everyone but CatholicMom:
      She will not answer questions. As a madwoman buried deep underneath a smothering blanket of lies upon lies, she is unable to face reality and can only make muffled noises from where she hides.
      Have pity upon her. She was driven deep into this madness and may never escape it her whole long life.
      Don't expect her to answer anything honestly. She is psychologically incapable of doing so thanks to the indoctrination she has received.
      Don't waste your time on this woman unless you are her doctor.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:37 am |
    • Luke

      Sanity Claws – To add to that rant; and now we know the harms of indoctrination to children. This is one of the reasons that I argue that the teachings of religious dogma should be considered child abuse. It warps the mind from the beginning, forging lies in the early brain. It forever changes the way a human will think, damaging the longer-term development.

      August 8, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Riverrunner,
      Using ‘probably’ means you don’t really believe all that you wrote either.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Sanity Claws,
      I think you understand me pretty well, muffled or not. So glad you read my posts. I feel kind of privileged that you don’t want to include me.
      Honesty is all you will ever get from me and I welcome your questions. I will put up with your troll rants as I am getting used to them. I just have this picture of you in my mind….smile….and try not to ruffle your feathers with the Truth…well, maybe just a little.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • verify

      Aw, don’t be so hard on CatholicMom. I wish her human side peace and joy. It’s the talking-bot-for-the-Vatican side that I don’t like.

      She does write well. And just think of all the eye-rolling exercise we are getting!

      She has the catechism and Catholic dogma down pat - what better vehicle for debate?
      (although I am weary of the stainless, unwrinkly Bride schtick).

      Do not fret about changing her mind; but use her as a platform for enlightening others who read these posts.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • Millman

      @Sanity Claws I hope you aren't going to claim perfection after a post like that! The mentally ill need to be treated with compassion, which your post skirts around. Try to be calm for the rest of us, who have to read everyone else's posts.

      My mother is Catholic. After reading the posts of CatholicMom, I am grateful that my mother is not that whacked. If she was, I would not be able to afford a psychiatrist and would probably have to listen to stuff like that all day.
      But you sound a little ragged in that post. Do better next time pls.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Millman,
      Gosh, Millman, if you had been my child, I would not have given up on you!

      August 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Chris

      There is an amazing amount for God. Look up at the stars some night. Consider the universe. Case closed.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Chris

      An amazing amount of evidence.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Verify,
      Your kind words straight from the heart….leave me speechless. Thank you!

      August 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  16. PsiCop

    Gee, I wasn't aware that Hitchens was somehow "required" to leave his atheism behind, just because he contracted cancer. When was this obligation placed on cancer patients? Was a law passed that I didn't know about? Who, moreover, is going to enforce this mandate? Are the "Cancer-Faith Police" going to show up and serve him a warrant, demanding that he convert immediately?

    What utter rubbish.

    August 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  17. Michael

    Are you all wack jobs on here? I hope you like it where it is hot and with zero hope–and no I'm not talking about NY.

    August 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • riverrunner

      you sir are the whack job? where in hell did you come up with the idea that there is a hell and that we even go on after we die? prove it! bible != proof.

      August 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • Guest

      riverrunner–

      If there was no God, would there be any Atheists?

      August 8, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Guest–of course! Just as the lack of a God does not preclude people from believing in one.

      I don't believe that fairies exist. But some people do despite every evidence I can possibly put forth. No one has caught a fairy. People who have seen fairies could just as easily had a hallucination.

      Belief is belief no matter who is preaching it.

      August 8, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Guest,
      Your question...would there be any atheists if there were no God? No! there would be nothing, NO THING, without God who created all that there is.

      August 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Michael

      Please ..... tell me where this 'hot' place is.... I would like to visit.

      August 8, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • verify

      Hi peace2all. Yes, it's been a chilly summer here too - could use a few therms (watch, now it'll be 110 next weekend when I have rels coming from out of town!)

      August 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • peace2all

      @verify

      Hey Pal..... Good luck on the rels coming in from out of town. I hope that that is a good thing...?

      Peace....

      August 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  18. S. Benson

    The human heart can go to the lengths
    of God.
    Dark and cold we may be, but this
    Is no winter now. The frozen misery
    Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to
    move;
    The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
    The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.
    Thank God our time is now when
    wrong
    Comes up to face us everywhere,
    Never to leave us till we take
    The longest stride of soul men ever took.
    Affairs are now soul size.
    The enterprise
    Is exploration into God.
    Where are you making for? It takes
    So many thousand years to wake,
    But will you wake for pity"s sake?
    Christopher Fry, A Sleep of Prisoners

    August 7, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  19. TheRationale

    Failed to alter his views? As if he's supposed to "succeed" if he starts believing in fairy tales and magic?

    August 7, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • Luke

      Haven't you figured it out yet? That is exactly how the religiously twisted mind works because of the indoctrination process.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Guest

      Resocialization of an Atheist can be an intense experience, with the individual experiencing a sharp break with their past, and needing to learn and be exposed to radically different norms and values, but it can happen.

      August 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  20. morsec0de

    "God and Christopher Hitchens: The plot thickens"

    What is this even supposed to mean? That your deity has given Hitchens cancer in order to convince him that he's real? To scare him into making a decision about religion based only on fear?

    Perhaps I'm being over-sensitive, but it just comes off as in bad taste.

    August 7, 2010 at 8:57 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.