Friday, August 13, 2010

To Pray Or Not To Pray?

I'm going to weigh in on the blogger commentaries and media interest concerning Christopher Hitchens. Mr. Hitchens is an outspoken atheist and author, who is dying of esophageal cancer. His prognosis is not good and that's according to information he gave during an interview with a national correspondent for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg. In the video I watched, Mr. Hitchens says, "I'm dying." He is "battling cancer," and I know too well the devastation that disease causes having lost my mother and my young brother to cancer. I am sorry for Mr. Hitchens, for his pain and suffering. Everytime I hear of someone dying of cancer, I think to myself, "How come we don't have a cure yet?" Billions of dollars in research and no brilliant scientist has found the cure yet?........That's frustrating. But that's another story for another day. 
Mr. Goldberg questioned Mr. Hitchens on mortality, having cancer and his religious beliefs. Mr. Goldberg asked this interesting question, "Do you find it insulting for people to pray for you?" His answer was that he doesn't find it insulting, as long as people truly wish him well and are praying for his recovery and not for him to be saved. Very interesting. 
Mr. Hitchens looked concerned on the video clip and stressed out. And who wouldn't be in his situation. But it puzzles me, why he wouldn't opt for hoping, for belief in God, why he wouldn't open himself to the possibility of God's love and mercy? Belief in God gives hope to human beings especially in horrific situations such as the one Mr. Hitchens finds himself in. Prayer also helps in this situation. Prayer can bring about a change of heart, or a change in attitude. Sometimes miraculous things happen when people pray. There is always some positive change with prayer, and if you pay close attention to how prayer effects people and situations, you can become aware of that fact. 
Mr. Hitchens believes that religion is man-made. Certain rules and laws are man-made, that is true. But religion is based on the fact that God does exist and God's existence has been revelaed to us over and over again, especially through God's word.  Believers are responding to God's love and self-revelation and that's why we believe. We are just opening ourselves to the mystery of God and responding through prayer, worship and belief. We should also be responding with deep love, as the saints suggest. 
I wish Mr. Hitchens would read the Bible, the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the Psalms and the New Testament, for I think it would make him feel better and give him hope. It doesn't cost anything and there is much to gain. He doesn't have to believe in God,(though I wish he would, for his own sake), but at least reading the inspired word of God would help him to feel better. Just a suggestion......check out the video clip--