Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Christopher Hitchens-Famous Unbeliever

I read an article about Christopher Hitchens in the New York Times titled, "A Voice, Still Vibrant Reflects on Mortality," by Charles McGrath. Mr. Hitchens is the "famous" atheist and writer, who recently received an award-"The Freethinker of the Year Award." Though flattered by the award, his response was interesting, "I think being an atheist is something you are, not something you do, I'm not sure we need to be honored. We don't need positive reinforcement. On the other hand we do need to stick up for ourselves especially in a place like Texas, where they have laws, I think, that if you don't believe in Jesus Christ you can't run for sheriff."
Christopher Hitchens has been discussed and blogged about frequently not only because he's a famous atheist but also because he is the author of a controversial book (the title I can't even write) and also he is suffering from esophageal cancer. Having lost a mother to cancer, I know what a dreadful disease it is, so I feel sad for his condition.
I have a few thoughts for Mr. Hitchens, though I doubt he'll ever read them. Just as he can't understand belief in God and the mystery of God's existence, I will never understand atheists. I haven't read Mr. Hitchens book, I'm too busy reading books on spirituality, belief, and Scripture. What puzzles me and disturbs me is the following: I think (it's just my opinion of course) that if Mr. Hitchens had faith and could pray to God, it would make his journey at this time of his life easier and more comforting. That's one of the benefits of belief but atheists choose to reject God and God's invitation. As I have experienced it, faith is a big help when a crisis develops, illness strikes, or life's challenges hit. Prayer helps people deal with the big problems in life, God's presence is comforting in situations such as the one Mr. Hitchens is going through and yet he chooses to hold fast to his unbelief, even when it's hurting him on some level. But, of course, atheists don't see it that way. But the studies support what I'm writing and what I have experienced firsthand: prayer heals and helps, God's presence is nurturing and soothing and building a relationship with God through prayer and rituals is calming for human beings and helps our salvation as well. I have received inner strength and courage for the journey of life, which is filled with disappointments and challenges because of prayer, because of the support I've received from a faith community, at different times in my life. God is real and miraculously willing to be in relationship with those who accept his invitation to love.
I believe that God is reaching out to Mr. Hitchens, (though I don't know why I think that). I believe that God who is merciful and persistant wants to comfort him during these difficult days, God wants to give him the support he needs and the certainty of belief in eternal life. He will face his Creator someday, as we all will and then he will know, what he doesn't know now.
There are some mysteries that we just have to accept as mysteries. We can't fit God or the thought of God or God's ways into our minds, God is much more that that. God is a Supreme Being, hidden, mysterious and more complex than the human mind can handle or figure out. That's why God is God and we are creatures. We don't know everything and that's how it should be. God chooses to remain hidden, that's the way it should be and the older I get, I realize just how much of a genius God is and how hiddeness is most appropriate for a Supreme Being.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me.
And that thou bidd'st me come to thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because thy promise I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
(Charlotte Elliott-19th century)