This is not really about either Christopher Hitchens, the person, or God, the non-person, but about the strange ideas they both evoke in smaller minds. I certainly do not intend to add to the endless commentaries that appeared after his death, like the following:
The paradoxes of Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens Remembered
Christopher Hitchens is dead
My interest was peaked by two comments made in reference to Hitchen's atheism:
"... they [athiests] were definitely being embarrassingly certain about something no one can be certain of."
"... neither side knows for sure, both positions take a leap of faith."
Indulging The Absurd
Generalizations about "everyone" [or "no one"] are always dangerous, and always a confession about one's self. Someone who says, "everyone cheats sometimes," is confessing they are a cheat, but the generalization only projects their own failure to everyone else. The generalization itself is not true. To say someone is certain about something, "no one can be certain of," only means the speaker cannot be certain of it, so projects their uncertainty on everyone else. It is actually a claim to certainty about what others can or cannot be certain about. Unless one knows everyone else's mind and all that they know and are capable of thinking, that kind of certainly is not possible.
The idea that not believing in something is some kind of faith is absurd. There are all kinds of things I do not believe in simply because they are logically impossible. There are even more things I do not believe in because I've never heard of them. No faith is required to not believe in such things.
As for gods, if someone believes in any one of the possible gods that have been believed in throughout history, they do not believe in any of the others. That disbelief is not a matter of "faith," but a logical conclusion—if the God they believe in is true, even if their belief is mistaken, all other "gods" cannot be true or real. As for me, I do not believe in any of the gods men have believed in because every description or definition of what one means by, "God," is always comprised of logical contradictions and floating abstractions—they are flatly logically impossible.
[I do believe in
the true God, however; but it's not what you think.]
Unlike Hitchens, I do not care if others choose to believe in things I am certain do not exist. I have in fact
defended Christianity against the very kind of absurd assaults Hitchens, Dawkins, and even Objectivists make against it.
I have occasionally enjoyed some of Hitchen's writing, but it is not very important. He's no H.L. Mencken and will soon be forgotten. He was, after all, a very confused man. He never really figured out if he was an anti-capilalist leftist, or a supporter of American imperialism, whether he was for peace, or for war. He was not even certain whether it was women (whom he did not treat very well) or men that he liked. [He left his first wife while she was pregnant with their second child for another woman. He was bisexual and enjoyed kissing his liberal "friends" on the lips in front of their wives to embarrass them.]
I do not intend this as a criticism, however. After all, the man is dead, and there are some who would applaud the very things I find despicable about him. It is merely an expression of my own bewilderment at the number and kinds of people who were favorably impressed by such unimportance. It is a wonderful example of what I consider the extreme shallowness of today's society, culture, and moral integrity.