Christoper Hitchens Still Won't Pray Despite His Cancer

Paula Duffy's picture

Author and critic, Christopher Hitchens is fighting for his life. He has esophageal cancer that has metastasized to his lymph nodes and lung. But, don't expect to hear him pray as a result of it all.

Hitchens, has been a journalist of some note for decades and is a regular contributor to "The Atlantic", "Vanity Fair", Slate and "The Nation"

He is an author of some note whose titles alone cause controversy. "The Trial of Henry Kissinger", "The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice" and "God Is Not Great."

From that last title you can surmise that he is an unapologetic atheist. Thursday night he spoke on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 program about his mortality. He is resigned to the law of averages which says that more people than not don't come back from what he is stuck with.

Asked if his prognosis has driven him to a deity to whom he prays, Hitchens told Cooper, that he is aware of prayer groups that have sprouted in his honor but, "I shall not be taking part in that."

Christopher Hitchens Knows His Cancer's Origin

In what can be called a refreshing change from people who curse their fate and look for answers about how the dread disease chose them, Hitchens knows with certainty the origin of his cancer

His father died of it at the age of 79 and Hitchens, 61 exacerbated the situation by living the good life. "I've came by this particular tumor honestly. If you smoke, which I did for many years very heavily with occasional interruption, and if you use alcohol, you make yourself a candidate for it in your sixties."

The word iconoclast comes to mind when describing Hitchens, a product of Great Britain who recently became an American citizen, he now holds dual citizenship.

Both sides of the political spectrum claim he belongs to the other and the truth is that he likes it that way. He brands the Pope a criminal who should be arrested if he sets foot in any country that has been plagued by priest-pedophilia scandals.

Yet Hitchens believes in the international war on terror and is a staunch supporter of the interventionist strategy to fight what he calls "fascism with an Islamic face."

When he is booked for an appearance on a talk show, the host understands that he or she will never be as smart as Hitchens or know more about any particular topic. If the host isn't aware of it Hitchens reinforces it pretty quickly while on camera.

That won't change while he continues to undergo difficult cancer treatments nor will his belief that praying won't help him a lick. At least he is consistent.


Submitted by Ben Spees (not verified) on
Yes, Christopher Hitchens is consistent. He is also brilliant, courageous, and a much-needed light in the darkness of religious hysteria and credulity that persists in the 21st century. Of course he won't appeal to an imaginary god when facing a very real threat to his life. He's doing what any rational person would do, seeking the best medical advice and treatment he can find. He's also doing what few in his position could do; he is writing about his experience with intelligence, insight, and wit. I would expect nothing less from this great man.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I'm a devout Catholic who is delighted that Hitchens will soon be going to meet his maker. His maker will smile slightly before kicking him down to Hell, where Hitchens will spend eternity. Things will be as they should be-and that is good.

Submitted by Paula (not verified) on
Thanks to both of you for your comments. They couldn't be better at demonstrating the divide that exists between opinions of religion and its place in public discourse.

Submitted by Dowler (not verified) on
The world needs more people like Christopher Hitchens! Science disproves intelligent design of humans with certainty. In my experience as an ER Doctor Catholics turn to science first when their kid is hit by a car by rushing them to the hospital, making demands wanting science to work for them. Religious people aren't so critical then and shouldn't be now.

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