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I seems to me that stuff like this comes across as terribly condescending and counter-productive.
That is so blithe and offensive! Dude takes Hitchens cancer and uses it to promote his own agenda. He seems to be attacking Hitchens's positions while trying to cover his attack in well-wishes and happy nice words. Hitchens is going in for cancer treatment, asshole-- put your attacks on pause, okay?!
And you only have to go down to the fourth comment to see the mob's bile:Posted by Mike...So, someone who has been spewing hatred of our Lord now has esophageal cancer. I think He is clearly at work here...
That maybe but the one person who would have spent endless hours praying for him would have been Mother Theresa.It's a funny old world sometimes.
I am going to send a donation to the Missionaires of Charity in his name.And I will remember him in my prayers at Mass this Sunday.
That expresses the thoughts of many Christians. If it is condescending to boldly express that thought, then we are guilty condescenders. As to being counter-productive, we will wait and see. If miracles of healing by God only happen to a few, then praying anyway for the healing of those few is not such a bad thing to have done.
uses it to promote his own agenda.If praying for and caring about everyone, including our enemies is your agenda, push it all you want. You need to consider putting your attacks on pause.BTW - two years ago I stood in the hospital room with my brother-in-law and his family and watched him die of esophageal cancer. Not pretty.
Derrida the atheist, on how he prays.("Nevertheless I will say something" ... onto the next page)
Overall, the message, or the prayer, seems to have an agenda that isn't all too alturistic. Seems to me it could have been a lot simpiler - to pray for his well-being and to pray for his doctors and caretakers - that they all have what they need as they head on into this journey together. But that's just me.
This is one of those things that is over-analyzed by most people. There really are people with that kind of compassion and everyone else asks, "What's his angle?".They can't get it through their heads there is none.
It may be offensive to Mr. Hitchens, but wouldn't a true believer feel impelled to pray for him? On the other hand, I don't think Jesus would have told his disciples to go out and pray on the street corners or the Roman internet to be seen by men. Those who did this, he called hypocrites and said they have their reward.
Praying is not just for the person being prayed for. It definately at least helps the prayer (prayist, prayifier?). I don't really see a reason not to, nor to disparage those who do.Does anybody mind if others pray for world peace. Maybe Hitchen would, but he has a much better chance than the world does.
Lost my mother to esophaeal cancer, its a real bad deal. Forty years haven't made it better.Hitchens is either appreciative of kind thoughts or in this case he just thinks they are stupid. I doubt he's offened. As for Julius, the bar's pretty low.
Mat 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
My brother Dan died of esophageal cancer 18 months ago, a few days before Christmas. He was of the same mindset of Hitchens - rejecting the Lord. I would offer to pray with him and he would say no. He thought he could beat cancer like he beat everything else in his life. That changed when he realized he was going to die - and soon. Like the saying: there are no atheists in foxholes, my brother had no choices left. We prayed together that the Lord would comfort him. At that point he could barely talk. He accepted Jesus during our last prayer together. He died a few days later.
I'm an atheist, and I agree with tradguy, Dadvocate, and edutcher.This isn't offensive in the least. I can't speak for Hitchens, of course, but having read his books I suspect that he'd express his thanks.Now, the thanks would be a little like the thank you that you give to someone when they give you a gift for which you have no real use at all; but you thank them anyway. And this Pat Archbold sounds quite sincere and compassionate.For what it's worth, Hitchens has always seemed to me to be the candle that burns twice as bright and half as long. It's a shame.
Everybody offers support they way they know how. That's what this guy is doing, and he's trying to reconcile it with the support he imagines Hitchens would prefer. I don't think he has any obligation to try and reconcile it though.If something bad happened to me,a Catholic, and somebody offered me Jewish prayers of support, Muslim prayers of support, atheist good wishes, or whatever, I would see no reason to be offended at all. Just thankful.
Then again how could God forsake the poor soul who had no one to pray for him. The neediest soul of all.
Come on now, Fred. Do you really think that Archbold and others are saying, "Hey everybody, look at me! Look how good I am, praying for Hitchens! Look at how much better I am than everyone else!"?Because, I have to tell you, that is kind of what you yourself are doing in publicly calling out people for voicing prayer intentions in public.Besides, since you are such a scholar of scripture, why don't you quote the lines that immediately precede what you cited here? You know, the part where Jesus says to "pray for those who persecute you."
And this Pat Archbold sounds quite sincere and compassionate.Agreed. I don't think it sounded self-serving and I doubt Hitchens would mind. I didn't know he was sick. His latest is "Hitch-22." I love that.
Has Pat Archbold (what an appropriate surname!) ever met Christopher Hitchens, ever had a moment of personal interaction with him, ever shared an exchange of thoughts or ideas with him?If Archbold has, he didn't mention it in his post. So I assume he hasn't.That's what makes this so nasty. He's only writing about Hitchens opportunistically-- because of Hitchens's status as a public atheist and his recent public revelations about his cancer. There's nothing personal about the motivation behind Archbold's call for prayer; contrast that with the personal (and therefore meaningful) reflections that you commenters-- especially DADvocate, SteveR, and rick-- have shared here.Plus Archbold was sure to mention Hitchens's "wrongheaded and destructive ideas". He just had to get that in there, didn't he?
Who here is prayin' for that rotten, old bloated drunk?Show of hands! That's good.Just what I thought!Hypocrites!
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 Jn 4:16).The God that Archibold is praying to is considered to be Spirit, one that is real and present in the following human behaviors and experiences:Love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness,gentleness,and self control.I would consider it blessing to have any measure of any one of these requested on my behalf to be part of my experience as I faced challenge, suffering or death.
Didn't realize how much I cared about the guy until I heard the news.
Well, it must peeve you to no end, Julius, for me to inform you that hundreds of millions of people have prayed for you, and have done so countless times, even though they have never met you.
He has often fought the good fight; his fire has burned brightly indeed. I pray God's plan for Hitch is a long life. But should his voice be forever lost, I pray he has a peaceful journey, free of suffering.Should his suffering be great, I pray he transcends it.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 Jn 4:16).The God that Archbold is praying to is considered to be Spirit, one that is present in the following human behaviors and experiences:Love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness,gentleness,and self control.I would consider it blessing to have any measure of any one of these requested on my behalf to be part of my experience or present in the people I encounter when facing challenge, hardship, suffering or death.
"He's only writing about Hitchens opportunistically,..."And so am I, DJ, and I'm an atheist, so now it's all evened out.Jeez.
All you people praying for Hitchens deathbed conversion are barkin' up the wrong tree.He's gonna make a point of dying in philosophical equanimity, like David Hume, just to spite you.
@Crack-And so am I, DJ, and I'm an atheist...Yeah, but you are not invoking God. I think a person is subject to a more stringent test of virtue when he or she speaks on a religious level. God is not trivial.
Nice that he's praying for Hitchens.Strange that he posts it on the internet.I have no idea what the guy's motives were for the post, but is God going to give the prayer more attention because it's on the net?
All you people praying for Hitchens deathbed conversion are barkin' up the wrong treeI think perhaps you're the one at the wrong tree, Bob. Perhaps one or two people are praying for that, but that is not what most will be praying for. Besides, any conversion is entirely up to him, it is not something that can be imposed upon him as the result of prayer.Rather, what will be prayed for to He who is Divine Mercy, in a spirit of compassion (from the Latin meaning "to suffer with"), is peace, fortitude, love, hope, comfort, relief from anxiety and anguish, and light in a time of darkness.
"I think a person is subject to a more stringent test of virtue when he or she speaks on a religious level."Atheism is a religion. It is assuming to know the unknowable on faith alone and praying you're right. NTAIWWT
"pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."So if Hitch decides to pray, he can do it privately, right?And God will listen anyway!That's cool.
I have no idea what the guy's motives were for the postProbably the same motive you had for posting your comment on the Internet -- it is how one communicates to a large audience.
I'm glad yer prayin' for that, Flexo.But there's nothing you said will go aginst what I said. From what I see on the internet, there are a lot of people who seem to be prayin' for a deathbed conversion. Nice n' dramatic.I said they're barking up the wrong tree.Looks like you think so, too.
I think the linked post and this thread provide answers to three unasked questions:Why do most Americans hold atheists in such contempt?Why do Christians feel they're being persecuted whenever they express their religion in the public sphere?How does a genuine "religion of peace" respond to news that an infidel critic of their faith has come to harm?
I got to see Hitchens in early '08 at a Freedom from religion conference, and sat next to him in an empty hotel restaurant for dinner afterwards with my mother. He had two drinks going at the same time, scotch, and a glass of wine, and ended up ordering the ribeye. But he sent the bread back twice, and kept the steak. He squawked it wasn't crunchy enough, and asked this poor waitress if she would indeed deliver him his crunchy bread that he asked for the first time.He gave a great and really funny prepared speech, and then ended with a Q&A that ended sort of ugly, with a belligerent Hitchens shouting to the crowd he was supporting Rudy Guiliani and that he didn't come to Madison to talk about Iraq.....which I understood his point. In person he is exactly like what you think he is.
Well, first Hitchens is a self-identified Jew and often visits Synagogues with his Jewish Wife and son - he probably has a Rabbi praying for him.Secondly, the idea that Hitchens would be offended by a Christian prayer is silly given that he's made a career out of giving offense. True, he's never offended the rich and powerful who subscribe to the New York Times or Vanity Fair - but sitll.Thirdly, I spend only so much time in prayer and need to save it for people who really deserve it, as opposed to rich "atheists" who've spent their lives spitting on Jesus Christ. So, I hope Hitch recovers but my prayer book is full.
Flexo said:"Probably the same motive you had for posting your comment on the Internet -- it is how one communicates to a large audience."Any commenter who thinks their posts are being read by a large audience is totally delusional. The majority of comments are probably not read even by other commenters.Whatever draws us commenters here, it ain't the large audience for what say.
I wish Christopher Hitchens a speedy recovery.
And I pray Fred4Pres's wish comes true.
My first thought on seeing the news was, "God watch over him." And then I laughed, imagining what he'd think of that. Hope he fights the good fight for a long time to come.
DJ,"I think a person is subject to a more stringent test of virtue when he or she speaks on a religious level. God is not trivial."Um, DJ, God doesn't exist. Neither is there a "religious level" for someone to be "on". You either have virtue or you don't. Man, I hope Hitchens doesn't die because, at this rate, it's going to take a whole lot of us to take up the slack.
bagoh20,"Atheism is a religion. It is assuming to know the unknowable on faith alone and praying you're right."I hope I read you wrong because, otherwise, that's the stupidest thing I've ever read you to say. Atheism is no more of a religion than science - which is a method for understanding, not a belief. I'm not an atheist because I "believe" there's no god: I'm an atheist because there's never been a god - just people talking about the idea. The fact they never entertain otherwise - even to the point of getting violent about it - merely sealed the deal.Come on, man, tell me i misread you.
"I wish Christopher Hitchens a speedy recovery."And I pray Fred4Pres's wish comes true.Damn it, where's Jimminy fucking Cricket when you need him?
bagoh20 --"Atheism is a religion. It is assuming to know the unknowable on faith alone and praying you're right."Not the definition of religion. I recommend Webster's Unabridged.
Pat Archbold certainly is a smug little fellow, isn't he?
Atheism is a religionIf it makes you feel better to believe something as ridiculous as "atheism is a religion", feel free to believe it. It would be the only religion in world history with exactly one belief, though.
so this guy announced that he's gonna 'pray' for an atheist..well, pin a medal on him..sheesh.what's with all this talk about gods and 'praying' away diseases anyway!?! did i fall asleep and wake up in the middle ages?
No, El Polacko, the middle ages fell asleep and woke up here - and in my fucking bed!Damn, i wish I were kidding!
its sort of like what i said when my probably atheist grandfather died."He's in a better place now. He's probably surprised to be there, but he's in a better place."
Maybe eventually Hitchens will go to Heaven, but before that, he's going to do some serious time in Pergatory.
"Come on, man, tell me i misread you."Nope. You claim science hasn't shown you any god. That requires a belief that science could. That's faith. You assume science never will just because it hasn't yet. Assuming to know something based on the fact that there is no proof yet is part of the history of understanding. There is always an arrogance about it right up until we know better."Not the definition of religion. I recommend Webster's Unabridged." "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith"I think Atheism fits that pretty well as shown above."It would be the only religion in world history with exactly one belief, though."Not that it matters, but it has more than one, but like the others is based on faith in knowing what is unknowable and then other beliefs flow from that. It believes: science can answer all questions, our understanding of truth is universal and comprehensive, these things have always and will always be, other religion is based on stupidity. Spirituality is not real, but a human construct, science is not a construct but a true function of the universe. Those are all articles of faith, and ultimately unprovable, ie, beyond science.For some atheist believers, it even seems too have infidels that must be destroyed. I don't have much problem with most religion, including Atheism, but "a man needs to know his limitations."
What motivates a person to put an act of piety on public display?
Who here is prayin' for that rotten, old bloated drunk?Growing up in a Catholic school, I was taught to pray for everyone. I still do. Even those I don't know and never met.
I'm agnostic and I pray. I like a world with both Hitchens and the Pope. I pray it stays that way. Godspeed Hitch!
It's times like this that I really loathe Christians. Fuck Jesus.
The fact they never entertain otherwise - even to the point of getting violent about it - merely sealed the dealThe only ones being totally obnoxious, contemptuous, and hateful jerks here are you and your fellow atheists and antitheists. You were better off stopping with your 10:24 comment.
To spite, loathe and fuck...To spite: to annoy in order to vent spite (malicious ill will prompting an urge to hurt or humiliate)To loathe: to feel strong hatred or disgust for, syn. abhor, abominate, detest, hateTo fuck: derived from the German fuieken, which means to strike. I'm amazed when these kinds of words/responses come up in comments regarding prayer to a God of love.
bagoh20,O.K., I'm not misreading you, but you're misreading me:"You claim science hasn't shown you any god."Did not - I said LIFE hasn't ever shown one. Just a bunch of folks yabbering on about it. O.K., that's one mistake in your column, what else you got?"Assuming to know something based on the fact that there is no proof yet is part of the history of understanding."Dude, it's been thousands of years before I got here:Ain't no god - and Jesus ain't making an appearance, either - especially after what y'all supposedly did to him last time."There is always an arrogance about it right up until we know better."Dude, are you a NewAger, too? Spouting some "we should be humble" bullshit, just because we're not going into la-la land with you? Because I'm incapable of it? Fuck that. I'm sure, positive - 100% - THERE IS NO GOD.And people spouting nonsense, like you are now, is the proof:Bring me something new, dreamer, because I've heard your completely unsupportable "belief" my whole life - as I also watched it crush good people's lives for merely joining you in it.
"Bring me something new, dreamer,"Maybe I'm a bad writer or you can't read, but you didn't correctly understand anything I wrote. But, you don't need to - you have you beliefs.
You really should do better than that, Crack.You believe there is no god because of "life"? That's it? That sounds pretty new age to me. Maybe you just feel it in your chakra too,
God is not trivial.While I agree that God is not trivial, for Christians (and as per the Bible) God is concerned with the "trivial" (I won't quote chapter and verse)I didn't see the blog post as offensive but I know such public statements can be heard/seen in a negative light. But as mentioned elsewhere, this is what the guy does, post on his blog about the public culture from his Christian/Catholic perspective. And yes its fair to say that many on this blog won't pray for him, not out of malice but just because of issues of time and awareness. I do pray that Mr. Hitchens finds some peace. He's brilliant but he's always seemed "troubled"(And yes esophageal cancer is a very "difficult" cancer.)
bagoh20,No, I have no - no - beliefs.And yea, because of LIFE - I've never seen, heard, felt, experienced, anything representative of any god. It's just talk.
"It's times like this that I really loathe Christians. Fuck Jesus."Here, from what I've managed to gather about Jesus, is where He and I are wired, "on the same page," and totally sympatico: We both love sinners. Sinners and haters. And loathers. Loathers and strikers too.Love them like there's no tomorrow.In fact, the more they sin, hate, loath, and strike, the more we love them.
I believe in Meade. He had the power to change the course of the Althouse river. I tremble in his shadow.
No, I have no - no - beliefs.And yea, because of LIFE - I've never seen, heard, felt, experienced, anything representative of any god.It's just talk.Crack, how about, instead of sending you money, I just pray for you?
"a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith"I think Atheism fits that pretty well as shown above.No, it doesn't. Weak atheism (lack of belief in gods) doesn't require faith, and no form of atheism requires ardor. Most atheists (me, for example) simply don't care about the idea of gods. I don't devote any more energy to disbelieving in gods than I do to disbelieving in alien invaders from Venus. :)
Ha ha ha! Thanks, Bags, but believe me - the Althouse river meanders freely, its course subject to no mortal man. I just happened to get unbelievably lucky the in-real-life day I waded in a little deeper than some guys might've believed to be prudent.
"Most atheists (me, for example) simply don't care about the idea of gods. I don't devote any more energy to disbelieving in gods than I do to disbelieving in alien invaders from Venus. :)"That level of ardor probably is true of most believers too.I do expend a little energy on the subject, because it's interesting. It's not level of devotion to the belief. It's THAT you believe either way without any way of knowing. You simply don't know how such a complex ordered universe came to be, or why. If you truly don't care, then why choose to believe there is no god. Even though I care, I don't feel compelled to pick a side without more to go on.Before the world was round, there were people who believed that it ended and there was nothing beyond the edge. Others believed there were monsters and mythology. They were both wrong. The truth can be something else beyond just what we know is true and nothing. Believing in nothing is based on faith, not evidence.
Crack, I appreciate your comments because they cause me to think about, weigh and consider my own beliefs and perceptions. I regard them as more than "talk" because they seem to be accompanied by a deep sense of caring on your part. As if you regard the personal behavior and beliefs of others around you as mattering or in some way affecting your life and the world around you.I can't figure out why or where this caring comes from in you. If there is no point or purpose to human life, no beliefs, no goodness, no love, no excellence, no truth, no light to illuminate and dispel darkness, on what grounds would the behavior of others bother, annoy, enrage or cause you to create a blog dedicated to the exposing their misperceptions and distortions? I'm not trying to trap or debate you. I honestly find the intensity of your assertions and behavior to be confusing and incongruent with the stance I repeatedly hear you take regarding your own motivations and beliefs.
It takes me a while to write a comment. I tend to get locked in my own thoughts while the thread moves on. If I publish without checking back to see what's transpired in the meantime, the comment can land in an odd place.I truly appreciate these kinds of discussions, all parts of them. But sometimes need someone to give my swing a push in order to move forward. Especially when involved in reactive or either/or thinking. This morning a friend called from a family retreat center on Lake MI. She was excited to tell me about a story she is writing based on her encounter this week with wild blackberry bushes on the path to the lake. She'd wanted to reach in and gather some of the little berries for her granddaughter when she noticed all the poison ivy intermingled with the canes. She decided she didn't want to take the risk, but found the berries very alluring. What she observed matched what I'd been writing and reading about yesterday in the posts on wild raspberries, only she had no link or awareness. We had a good time sharing insights. Another example of the flow and connection experienced on the freely meandering Althouse River.
I guess I seriously don't understand the disconnect of being offended by someone offering to pray to a G/god.If I am a believer, then I am encouraged that the person thinks enough of me to intercede with the/a master of fate. That is great empathy and concern.If I am not a believer, then I know the prayer does nothing for me in the physical realm, but I am encouraged that the person thinks enough of me to intercede with the/a mythical master of fate. That is great empathy and concern. It's win/win. Of course, I would also like the pray-er to be concerned about me as a person who is about to be set adrift on the journey with no partners. It would be nice if at the final moments I was lucid and aware of people loving me surrounding me. Barring that, it is still nice to know and a good thing that there are people who think of me and think well of me. Why this causes such vitriol I don't know.
Why this causes such vitriol I don't know. Passing over the "why," I would simply agree and note that all too often poison ivy is there lurking near the good and tasty wild blackberries.
MamaM,"I can't figure out why or where this caring comes from in you. If there is no point or purpose to human life, no beliefs, no goodness, no love, no excellence, no truth, no light to illuminate and dispel darkness, on what grounds would the behavior of others bother, annoy, enrage or cause you to create a blog dedicated to the exposing their misperceptions and distortions?"The idea, that an absence of belief leads to the void, is a lie. What it leads to is a desire for rationality, and love between people. As Christopher Hitchens has pointed out, belief seems to interfere with that - look at all the trouble "spiritual" people do, like Rielle Hunter, in the name of their "faith". It just seems to be more of a license to err, rather than a guide to goodness.
The idea, that an absence of belief leads to the void, is a lie. What it leads to is a desire for rationality, and love between people.Despite your constant ranting and raving about NewAge crap, it turns out that your worldview is based on a lame restatement of some vacuous John Lennon lyrics. I find that hilarious, though not entirely surprising.Imagine there's no HeavenIt's easy if you tryNo hell below usAbove us only skyImagine all the peopleLiving for todayImagine there's no countriesIt isn't hard to doNothing to kill or die forAnd no religion tooImagine all the peopleLiving life in peace
You simply don't know how such a complex ordered universe came to be, or why.The question of how the universe came to be (or why) is unrelated to the question of whether or not gods exist.If you truly don't care, then why choose to believe there is no god. Even though I care, I don't feel compelled to pick a side without more to go on.Suppose someone comes up to you and says "Barack Obama isn't human. He's really a 12-armed slime mold from the planet Zgwortz, and he uses incredibly advanced holograms to look like one of us."Now, you might claim that your reply would be "since I can neither prove nor disprove whether or not Barack Obama is either human or an alien from the planet Zgworz, I must withhold judgment. I neither believe Obama is human (which would require faith) nor believe that he is not (which would also require faith)." But I wouldn't believe you if you did. The truth is that you would roll your eyes and continue believing Obama is human.When confronted with a proposition that has no supporting evidence, conflicts with your personal experience, and is completely impossible to prove or disprove, the sensible thing to do is to believe it isn't true. Even people who term themselves "agnostics" actively disbelieve in an uncountable number of things that can't actually be proven or disproven. They just make an exception about gods, for some odd reason.As for me, actively believing that God does not exist is as natural and effortless as actively believing that there are no invisible elephants tap-dancing in the air six inches above my head.
I guess I seriously don't understand the disconnect of being offended by someone offering to pray to a G/god.It isn't the prayer, per se. The author does the following:(1): Notes that Hitchens (presumably) wouldn't want to be prayed for(2): Publicly proclaims he'll be praying for Hitchens(3): Takes the opportunity to trash-talk Hitchens himself prior to beginning the prayer(4): Devotes most of the prayer to praying Hitchens will convert.All in all, the author is using ostentatious piety to cloak what is little more than a "FUCK YOU" to Christopher Hitchens. Not that there's anything wrong with telling Hitchens to go fuck himself, as such, but doing so while pretending to care for his health is tacky.
Well, we differ, I guess, on what the author is doing. I personally find it charming that he would think prayer would help Hitchens.
With or without prayer, it's going to be harder to pull off next year's battle against religion and superstition without a hitch.
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