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Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the in-memoriam dept.

The Media 910

An anonymous reader sends this quote from the NY Times: "Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq, died Thursday at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 62. He took pains to emphasize that he had not revised his position on atheism, articulated in his best-selling 2007 book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, although he did express amused appreciation at the hope, among some concerned Christians, that he might undergo a late-life conversion. Mr. Hitchens's latest collection of writings, Arguably: Essays, published this year, has been a best-seller and ranked among the top 10 books of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review."

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Not all religions are bad (1, Interesting)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396804)

It's just that western religions tend to be. Christianity especially have been used for lots of bad, and has always been used to control other people and is manipulative and evil by design. It also tries to hinder people's thinking, and tries to tell people how everything is without anyone needing to think.

In comparison, Theravada Buddhism is almost completely different. It promotes the idea of people thinking themselves and not just accepting what someone else tells them to. It doesn't believe in some imaginary persons or miracles - Buddha has actually lived, and isn't viewed as some kind of more than a human. It also teaches you to respect other people and in karmas law. The whole religion isn't so much an religion but good guidelines for life.

There's lots of bad with religions, but most of it comes from Christianity and western world.

Re:Not all religions are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396870)

You sir, have slayed me. Thank you for the /. morning chuckle.

Re:Not all religions are bad (-1, Troll)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396882)

Yeah, that whole "be nice to people" aspect of christianity sucks.

Re:Not all religions are bad (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396904)

You forgot the "god hates fags" part.

Re:Not all religions are bad (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396984)

Rape, slavery, torture, genocide.

"be nice to people", the christian way.

(Yes, I know there's other "be nice to people" in there too, but it's kind of hard to take them seriously when you have all that other stuff in there).

Re:Not all religions are bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397180)

Pretty sure that was the Jews. Old Testament and all.

Re:Not all religions are bad (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397002)

If only most Christians would actually follow that. Last time I checked bombing abortion clinics, beating up gays, starting holy wars, etc didn't fit the bill of "be nice to people".

Re:Not all religions are bad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397158)

And clearly "most christians" do that. Just like most atheists attack attack religious freedoms

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397324)

I know you are a troll, but I see this idiotic point made often enough, and I feel that there are enough non-trolls on /. who hold similar views that I would like to address it. While I am sure there exist atheists who want to attack religious freedom, 99.999% of what religious nut-jobs call attacks on religious freedoms are really just a defense of secularism, which is the source of ALL religious freedom.

It is NOT infringing on your religious freedom to abolish a National Day of Prayer, it is simply re-establishing a secular government, which is the only type of government that can truly defend religious freedom. The same goes for getting organized prayer out of school or trying to get "Under God" out of the pledge.

The point it, nobody has the "freedom" to subject others to their point of view. You would not like it if we did it to you, and thankfully, we are not. We are not trying to get the schools to teach that there is no God. We aren't trying to get "Under God" replaced with "Under No God". We simply want the establishment to stop infringing on OUR religious freedom, or more specifically, our freedom to choose not to have a religion.

Is that really so much to ask? I mean, sure, I know that there will be a whole lot more atheists if we take religion out of the public sphere a bit, but what does that say about your cause? People stop believing it if it's not shoved down their throats 24/7? This is a tired, destructive meme that needs to be taken out back, shot, burned, and turned into fertilizer.

Re:Not all religions are bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397200)

Homosexuals, heathens and heretics are not classified as people!

Re:Not all religions are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397014)

If people actually did that it would be a start. The number of Christians I've known who are not nice and completely judgemental by far outweigh the nice ones.

Re:Not all religions are bad (0)

theillien (984847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397154)

This is why I've learned to deem Christianity as nothing more than hypocrisy.

Re:Not all religions are bad (2)

toddmbloom (1625689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397198)

If you can broad brush all Christians, then I can broad brush all athiests as loud mouths, too.

Seriously, there are nuts and loudmouths on both sides - athiests included. They don't reflect the majority of people who believe in something without feeling the need to go pushing it on others.

Re:Not all religions are bad (4, Insightful)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397020)

Person 1: There are bad aspects to X.
Person 2: No! Here is a good aspect to X!

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397042)

The whole "be nice to people" is a small part of Christianity. Furthermore, it is not in any way necessary to have Christianity (or any religion at all) to want to "be nice to people". While Christianity might implore you to be nice, it also carries with it severe baggage; homophobia, misogyny, intolerance, and fear. Seriously; if you told your child that you were going to throw her in the furnace for being bad, it would be child abuse; tell your child that God will throw her in a furnace for all eternity and all of a sudden it's OK. Christianity is a festering sore on our moral development, the sooner we can be rid of it, the better. I will close by passing on Hitch's legacy in the form of a question that he was fond of asking believers: Name one good, moral action that could not have been conceived of by a person of no faith. Tough question, right? Ok, here's an easier one: Name me one wicked action that was committed in the name of religion. Chew on that one for a little bit, and the cognitive dissonance might wake you up from your intellectual coma.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397260)

Name one good, moral action that could not have been conceived of by a person of no faith.

The question is meaningless until you have a definition of "good" and "moral". I'll believe you have the very first, absolutely initial start to a sort-of beginning to that, willing to call it a "start" if we stipulate we're going to hugely overestimate the content offered in favor of your argument... when you have two atheists declare a standard, both agree to it, and show a rationale that it isn't a purely subjective personal opinion with zero weight behind it.

We've had 3000 years for a consensus on these questions to emerge from secular philosophy. Not even close.

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397296)

Name one good, moral action that could not have been conceived of by a person of no faith. Tough question, right?

Yes but it is the wrong question. This question is asking if religious persons are morally superior to non-religious persons. I have often heard that claim but I don't believe it is true, nor it is relevant to me. The relevant question in my view is, "Name one good, moral action you took that was motivated by religious belief, that you would not otherwise have done." In other words, ask not whether religion makes "people" more ethical, ask whether religion makes me more ethical. And BTW that is very easy to answer.

Name me one wicked action that was committed in the name of religion.

And name one wicked action committed in opposition to religion. Also easy.

I hope there is more to Hitchens' book than that. Very likely. Frankly as a religious person myself I am interested in reading it. I believe it was Aristotle who said the unexamined life is not worth living. Answering questions like these is in my opinion good for anyone's moral development, whether they prefer a religious or humanist approach.

Re:Not all religions are bad (2)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397310)

The whole "be nice to people" is a small part of Christianity.

It is in no way a small part of Christianity. See Matthew 22:36-40: 36 âoeTeacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?â 37 Jesus replied: âoeâLove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.â(TM)[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: âLove your neighbor as yourself.â(TM)[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.â

While Christianity might implore you to be nice, it also carries with it severe baggage; homophobia, misogyny, intolerance, and fear. Seriously; if you told your child that you were going to throw her in the furnace for being bad, it would be child abuse; tell your child that God will throw her in a furnace for all eternity and all of a sudden it's OK.

You don't get "thrown in the furnace" for being bad. Salvation is based upon having faith in Christ's death & resurrection as atonement for your own sins. God gives you the choice to reject him. The consequence of that choice is eternity without God.

Christianity is a festering sore on our moral development, the sooner we can be rid of it, the better. I will close by passing on Hitch's legacy in the form of a question that he was fond of asking believers: Name one good, moral action that could not have been conceived of by a person of no faith. Tough question, right? Ok, here's an easier one: Name me one wicked action that was committed in the name of religion. Chew on that one for a little bit, and the cognitive dissonance might wake you up from your intellectual coma.

His first question is an absurd one because there's no such thing as objective moral truth in an atheistic context. Hitchens's idea of morality basically boils down to stuff he likes and stuff he doesn't like. How's that for cognitive dissonance?

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397130)

Basically all the Republicans except for Ron Paul last night in the debate were frothing at the mouth and chomping at the bit to bomb some Muslims.

Because over 1 billion people are our enemy and we are going to go to Holy War with them because the Dominionsts like Bachmann, Perry, et alia, believe it's necessary.

Or some such nonsense.

Goddamn, these people are fucking dangerous.

--
BMO "I believe in peace, bitch" - Tori Amos

Re:Not all religions are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397142)

No one's ever been against the "be nice to people" bit. It's more that it's usually more striking by its absence, than by its presence in actual Christians... And "be nice to people" is pretty much a universal ethical statement, and is certainly not limited to Christianity.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397186)

Me personally? I particularly like the entire Leviticus part - you know, Christianity's own version of Sharia
including all of the wonderful reasons to kill, the ancient asinine bigotry, Python-esque culinary theology
and amusing hats. I'm going out later to slay some people with tattoos using the jawbone of a ruminant.

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Insightful)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396884)

Any religion that promotes supernaturalism or offers mythology as a substitute for reality is bad.

That takes almost every religion out of the equation. About the only thing left is a few schools of Zen Buddhism, and most people call that a philosophy, not a religion.

Re:Not all religions are bad (4, Interesting)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397072)

Even at that, Zen Buddhism has been used to justify a great deal of nastiness; off the top of my head I can tell you that, despite being nominally Shinto, the army of the Empire of Japan was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism. The whole kamikaze thing, while nowhere near as widespread as some would have you believe, was nevertheless directly influenced by the teachings of Zen Buddhism.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397308)

Any religion that promotes supernaturalism or offers mythology as a substitute for reality is bad.

The point of Buddhism (as I understand it) is to be a set of practice instructions that, if you follow them, will lead to the end of suffering (without needing to die and go into some afterlife). You don't even need faith - you can start doing the practice out of curiosity, and keep doing it once you see that it is working. The supernatural/mythological aspects are hardly the most important. At best you perhaps like them and as a result undertake the practice. At worst you simply don't need to address them at all.

That is not to say that people can't turn it into a religion, perhaps to the point of killing others in the name of it/with its aid (see "Zen at War"). But the good stuff [accesstoinsight.org] is in there.

Re:Not all religions are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396890)

Christianity and the other Abrahamic religions originated in the Middle East. The only exception that I can think of is Mormonism.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396956)

Christianity and the other Abrahamic religions originated in the Middle East. The only exception that I can think of is Mormonism.

Add to this Scientology... uh, and pastafarianism and Jedi-Knightism.

Re:Not all religions are bad (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397040)

Um, GP said Abrahamic religions, none of those are particularly "Abrahamic", unless maybe the FSM ordered an Italian chef to sacrifice his first born meatball.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397228)

Depends on what one would consider to be Christianity. There are tens of thousands of denominations of Christianity worldwide, most of which emerged elsewhere. These Christian sects can have very drastic disagreements on core doctrine, so I don't see why Mormonism can be singled out for not having emerged in the Middle East. When considering Mormonism, take a look at Catholicism. How much of modern-day Catholicism is based on the teachings of an itinerant rabbi, and how much of it developed later in Rome and Greece?

Re:Not all religions are bad - yes they are (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396892)

Any religion can, and will, be perverted by its followers so they can do whatever they wanted in the first place.

If you think that Buddhism has never been misused to do horrible things, you haven't studied much history, or even paid much attention to world news.

Re:Not all religions are bad - yes they are (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396954)

To quote Farscape, specifically Noranti answering the question "Do religions hate each other where you come from?":

"Oh, good heavens no. Religions are grand lofty ideals. Religious followers, now that's another story."

Religion is like just about anything else. It can be used for good (e.g. helping the poor) or for evil (e.g. killing "heathens" who won't convert). In both cases, the credit or blame should go to the person doing the actions, not the religion itself.

Re:Not all religions are bad - yes they are (2)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397132)

Probably the most insightful post that will appear on this topic of pure flamebait. Absolutely agree with you, sir.

Re:Not all religions are bad - yes they are (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397160)

Religion is like just about anything else. It can be used for good (e.g. helping the poor) or for evil (e.g. killing "heathens" who won't convert). In both cases, the credit or blame should go to the person doing the actions, not the religion itself.

Well, that depends a lot on whether or not you include religious leaders who tell believers what to do as part of the religion itself. It's not particularly important whether those leaders are still alive today or they died hundreds of years ago.

Re:Not all religions are bad - yes they are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397312)

The problem is not the followers, is the leaders

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396902)

Also, not all the guns are bad.....Actually, it is the PEOPLE that are bad s...., not the guns or the religions, or the political party, or country, or who knows what.

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Insightful)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396906)

I come to slashdot hoping to read some great comments about Hitchens and the first post i see moded up is someone being an religious apologist? Hitchens was much more than his atheism. Much much more. What a disgrace mods.. seriously.

Mod this up (4, Insightful)

John3 (85454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396958)

You are so right...atheism was such a small part of what he wrote and spoke about. It certainly was the topic that sold tickets and books, but he commented and wrote about nearly every topic related to culture and civilization. Love him or hate him, he was always interesting and thought-provoking.

Re:Mod this up (0)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397196)

Nothing more thought provoking than a man who feverishly denounces those who opposes him under the veil of "common sense." The guy was an atheist version of the extremists he was so venomous about. A poor man's intellectual, at best.

Re:Not all religions are bad (0, Flamebait)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396998)

Sure. We could talk about his shameless shilling for the Iraq war. Hitchens can rot in hell for that as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Interesting)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397190)

Whether or not you agree with his stance on the Iraq War, it is a grotesque oversimplification to say that he was a shameless shill. His views on the war were extremely well reasoned and definitely worth listening to; differentiating him from the brainless talking heads on Fox News. While I never happened to agree with his stance on the war, I always found his thoughts on it to be extremely informative, thought-provoking, and challenging. This man was there, he saw what was really happening. He went out of his way to seek out and confront totalitarianism throughout his career. For you to sit back from the comfort of your parent's basement and say that he can rot in Hell for expressing an opinion that is different from yours is disgusting and shameful. Fuck you, and fuck the people who modded you up.

Re:Not all religions are bad (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397318)

I'm not condemning Hitchens for having an opinion that's different than mine. I'm condemning Hitchens for promoting a war that's left at least a hundred thousand civilians dead.

Re:Not all religions are bad (2)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397250)

Good thing there is no such thing as hell, eh?

Re:Not all religions are bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396916)

my religion's better than your religion nyan nyan

besides, Christianity came from Israel which is technically the middle east

Re:Not all religions are bad (4, Insightful)

dskoll (99328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396918)

Nonsense. All religions are bad. Even Buddhism has its extremists (Google for examples.)

The problem is that any philosophy that claims to have a God-given truth inevitably turns evil because you can't question God-given truth. When you can't question beliefs, you can't hold believers accountable and corruption sets in.

Hitchens himself criticized Buddhism in "God is not Great". You should read that book.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396960)

The problem is that any philosophy that claims to have a God-given truth inevitably turns evil.

Evil? What do you mean by that?

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397092)

What do you mean, "you can't question God-given truth", specifically? People do so every single day, both within and without religious organizations.

If you're going to do a Straw Man, please at least start with something not factually false on its face.

As far as the defining documents themselves (let's take the one Slashdot is most afrai^H^H^H^H^H oddly-specific in its objections to), there is extensive "questioning" of God directly in the bible. Generally, this led to some form of either demonstration or explanation--which, many would say, it does through today. Because, many would say, refusing to ask doesn't demonstrated no answer will be given.

Re:Not all religions are bad (2, Insightful)

LordGr8one (1174233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396928)

You know, I could put in some other belief systems in place of Christianity in your first paragraph and it still hold true. Lots of belief systems...or just greed. I'm inclined to believe that it's people that cause the evil that you're talking about, and that belief systems such as Christianity are merely tools in the hands of men who would do those things.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1, Insightful)

Mushukyou (739593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397066)

It's the delusion of religion that motivates what would otherwise be a good person to do bad things... so it's not just "the people", unless you want to target their ignorance/gullibility. I suppose if you did target and cure those two things, we wouldn't need to have to concentrate on religion. However, since those things exist and it's difficult to educate in that regard, we must see religion as an evil force that takes advantages of those states.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1, Insightful)

LordGr8one (1174233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397270)

Non-religious men have done terrible thing in the past, too. To say that religion is the sole force that turns good men bad ignores history. I'm not sure if that's your intended implication, but your post can certainly be read that way. You also completely ignore the good things that religion has done for it believers as well as the good things that its believers have done for the world. Contributions by religious men and women to the fields of science, art, music, medicine, philosophy are incalculable. the religious do not have a corner on the market of good deeds, for true, but pretending they're not even there is dishonest. This is not to exalt the religious and tarnish unbelievers: rather, it's meant to help one understand that there are good and bad on both sides of that divide. The implication there is that good and bad is a function of men, not necessarily of their beliefs.

Re:Not all religions are bad (2, Informative)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396930)

In comparison, Theravada Buddhism is almost completely different. It promotes the idea of people thinking themselves and not just accepting what someone else tells them to. It doesn't believe in some imaginary persons or miracles - Buddha has actually lived, and isn't viewed as some kind of more than a human. It also teaches you to respect other people and in karmas law. The whole religion isn't so much an religion but good guidelines for life.

Right. So, not all religions are bad - the ones which aren't really religions can be good.

If it can reasonably be called a religion, it's bad. "Promoting the idea of people thinking themselves" is not religion in any meaningful sense of the term.

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396986)

Right. So, not all religions are bad - the ones which aren't really religions can be good.

Actually what GP is saying is more like "not all religion is bad, only religions other than mine are bad."

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397024)

I'm not Buddhist, but more like Atheist. I can just see why that branch of Buddhism seems a lot better than Christianity (and I also have Buddhist gf and live in South East Asia, so I've been somewhat exposed to it)

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396932)

It seems that you have a solid grasp on definition of "bad". /sarcasm

Re:Not all religions are bad (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396944)

I award you 2/10. You've picked a topic that will surely gather a number of bites, but your original post betrays so little knowledge of the subject matter that those bites will catch onto you too quickly: the threads will fizzle only two or three exchanges deep. No epic flamewar for you.

Re:Not all religions are bad (2)

theillien (984847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396948)

Perhaps that branch of Buddhism sees Buddha as just another dude walking the earth, but Buddhism generally deifies Buddha as a dude who walked the earth and eventually attained the status of a higher being. If you want what Buddhism espouses, but want to eschew all deifying aspects of religion, look in Taoism.

Hitchens criticism of buddhism (5, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397264)

Hitchen's criticisms of all religions primarily boils down to their impacts as a whole to large portions of society, and how the larger defined body of Buddhism in the world is just as bad as Christianity. There are so called Buddhist sects are just as intolerant and violent as Christian ones, and ask their followers to cast off thought and reason and simply listen to their teachings. It's this abandoning of reason that's the problem with religion, and while one might define that for an individual person religion was good... for example, Jesus was a good guy who did good things and was better for his beliefs... but for society as a whole, religion has had negative impacts and is used for evil and hypocritical purposes. The Abrahamic religions do this far more efficiently than Hinduism and Buddhism but the latter are not, as a whole, innocent religions.

And that's not to mention the supernatural. Emphasizing the supernatural over reason is immediately a problem because it leads to be people not questioning the supernatural and simply accepting it.

I could find you a sect of Christianity that is equivalent to Theravada Buddhism, but there is a fine line between philosophy and religion. There's also a fine line between humanism and a well thought out philosophy that emphasizes reason. Where you want to draw the line is another debate entirely, but using Theravada Buddhism as a way to counter Hitchen's argument about religion is equivalent to using an anecdote to counteract statistical evidence. Invariable, as religions grow and spread they are twisted and used for evil and force people to abandon reason. Some smaller religions and philosophies emphasize reason, but the moment you put reason below anything else, you open up people to the principle that at some point, they are allowed to stop thinking for themselves.

As he would have wanted... (-1, Flamebait)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396840)

Naturally Deselected by his own DNA.

A fitting end.

Re:As he would have wanted... (4, Insightful)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396866)

Well he had kids, so not exactly...

Re:As he would have wanted... (-1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396974)

Rinse, repeat.

Ah, yes, you mean "survival" in the abstract, which applies to no actual particular entities.

And people have a problem with my metaphysics.

Re:As he would have wanted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396910)

Naturally Deselected by his own DNA.

A fitting end.

Not really. He lived long enough to reproduce.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens#Marriage_and_children

Re:As he would have wanted... (2)

dpr4vd (1111639) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397038)

Also as he would have wanted: Twitter allegedly removes #GodIsNotGreat from trending topics after the Christian contingent erupts.

And now he finds out ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396858)

... whether or not he was right.

Re:And now he finds out ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396924)

Surely he only finds out if he was wrong.

Re:And now he finds out ... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397008)

Drat, I posted to this thread so I can't mod you funny. But this is the funniest remark about religion/atheism I've seen in a long time. :-)

Re:And now he finds out ... (0)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397090)

And now we find out whether or not... you are a self-righteous asshole. (Spoiler: You are.)

Parthenon marbles (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396860)

Among Greeks, probably best known for one of his less-blockbuster books, 1997's The Parthenon Marbles: The Case for Reunification [versobooks.com] .

Re:Parthenon marbles (2)

theillien (984847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396966)

Dude really liked to colon-ize his book titles, didn't he?

Superstitution (0)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396880)

When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer.

The Atlantic (4, Interesting)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396894)

I remember a reviewer observing that Christopher Hitchens writes books faster than most people read. I suspect that was true.

Re:The Atlantic (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396996)

If you're trying to use that as an argument against quality of Hitchens' writings, you fail spectacularly. I personally know a computer scientist who writes code faster than most people read. I've actually seen him in action a few times. Nevertheless, the quality of his code is outstanding by any standard.

Re:The Atlantic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397100)

Code reading involves humans reading what is best understood by a machine.
Book reading involves humans reading what is best understood hopefully by another human.

Re:The Atlantic (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397266)

Do you see the word "code" at the end of the sentence you're referring to? No, you don't, because I didn't write it there for a reason.

Re:The Atlantic (4, Informative)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397224)

I meant it to be complimentary, as he was clearly a smart guy with a talent for communicating.

Re:The Atlantic (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397300)

Fail. "Computer scientists" don't write code, they write books explaining why all existing implementations are wrong.

smoking and atheism (1, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396896)

I found it surprising that he was so adamant about his smoking and drinking (even boasting it), being an atheist. One would expect an atheist taking more serious approach to his health.

Re:smoking and atheism (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396938)

It is because he believed that god will help him avoid all the cancers and pancreas illness.

Re:smoking and atheism (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396940)

I think you've confused "atheism" with "puritanism". Easy mistake to make, I'm sure.

Re:smoking and atheism (5, Insightful)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396972)

I don't really understand your comment. Not believing in an afterlife, one should try to enjoy real life. His attitude (whether well-founded or not) was that he did that. I think you've been misguided on the way atheists think.

Not to mention the implication that those who believe in the afterlife would think, "I can shorten my life as much as I want".

Re:smoking and atheism (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397004)

One would expect an atheist taking more serious approach to his health.

Why? If all there is to the universe is matter and energy, what difference does it make?

Re:smoking and atheism (1)

qwertyatwork (668720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397128)

We don't have the belief that there is something after this life. This is the only one you get, no do overs, no insert quarter, no eternal life in the clouds. Just this one, so make the most of it.

Re:smoking and atheism (1)

Mushukyou (739593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397162)

To live as long as one would like, to enjoy life, to find meaning and keep goals...

Re:smoking and atheism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397282)

One would expect an atheist taking more serious approach to his health.

Why? If all there is to the universe is matter and energy, what difference does it make?

Atheism != Nihilism

The lack of belief in an afterlife or god doesn't conflict with wanting to live long. To many atheists, that lack of an afterlife is all the more reason to be concerned with getting the most time out of life.

Re:smoking and atheism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397292)

You must be a student of Christian Science. Real science has shown that matter is energy.

There's more to life than what you'll find in science books. Even atheists know that.

Re:smoking and atheism (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397054)

One would expect an atheist taking more serious approach to his health.

Why? Being atheist doesn't require the wish to live longer - I can see a valid reason behind "Better live less but intense than be bored to death for a century".

Why? (5, Insightful)

John3 (85454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397118)

I'm not sure if you're serious or trolling, but I'll assume serious. Are you implying that a theist who believes in an afterlife would be more cavalier with their physical health since they consider life on Earth as merely a speed bump on the trip to eternal salvation? I know that holds true for many evangelicals with regard to our natural resources and the health of the planet (("F**k the earth, god gave it to us to rape and pillage so don't complain to me about my Hummer!"), but most religious people I know are generally not smokers and drinkers.

Why would an atheist avoid physical (guilty) pleasures like drinking or smoking? Would a longer, more boring life be preferable to a shorter, exciting, experience-filled existence? I would say the more surprising thing about the fact that he drank and smoked is that he is knowledgeable about the scientific body of evidence related to the detrimental health effects. He made an informed decision to spend what he knew was a finite existence doing things that gave him pleasure rather than squandering that time twiddling his thumbs.

Re:smoking and atheism (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397136)

Why? Wouldn't a believer have more to worry about? I mean, in that silly little bit of D&D fiction referred to colloquially as "The Bible", believers are told that their body is a temple. Wouldn't a believer, then, have more to worry about should they die by self-inflicted damage? A non-believer such as Hitch need only worry that they will slip quietly into the night, whereas a believer has to worry about being condemned to eternal Hellfire.

Goodbye Hitch (1)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396964)

Rest in peace.

I can't say I always agreed with him, but I will miss the now silent articles, fearsome intellect, and his wit and insight. And I am quite sure those who know him intimately will personally feel that the world has lost a very bright light too early.
Condolences to his family.

Well, at least now he finally knows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396990)

But seriously, the world has last a great writer and a great thinker. It seems that 2011 has been a year where we've lost a lot more than we've gained.

Big geek was he? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397010)

I've always been a fan of Hitch's writings on filesystems, UX, kernel internals, GNOME vs. KDE etc. Oh no, he never wrote anything on those subjects did he? So why on earth is he being given an article on /. ? Oh, because he's a leading atheist.

When Pratchett and Pullman die, feel free; they at least are part of geek culture.

Soulskill, you are advancing your political and world views at the expense of slashdot's quality.

Re:Big geek was he? (0)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397112)

Soulskill, you are advancing your political and world views at the expense of slashdot's quality.

What quality? It's a sure way to generate page hits, which is all that the Geek.net overlords care about.

Re:Big geek was he? (5, Insightful)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397126)

Slashdot has always taken at least a partial interest in the wider world, with many articles on the technological or social angles of events. Hitchens often spoke about such events, and you might regard the linking as abstract or tenuous, but others will not. Technology is often cited as being part of a wider movement that unleashes forces for good, and unbinds people from tryannical and oppressed lives. Hitchens nominally shared *and* very publicly worked for the same thing.

Its only right such a man is noted. The fact it made slashdot is all the better.

Re:Big geek was he? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397188)

Why did you post as AC?? I have modpoints! I would have modded you up!!

Re:Big geek was he? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397314)

Because most of /. belongs to the Atheist Church of Religion Haters and he was apparently a high priest. Never heard of him myself, I don't follow that religion.

Ode to Hitchens (5, Funny)

UglyTool (768385) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397046)

He raised all our IQs a notch.

Idiocy fell on his watch.
We all know that Hitch
was nobody's bitch,
so let's thank him by raising a scotch.

Bummer. (5, Insightful)

MrVagoo (2488778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397082)

Christopher Hitchens, you were a gentleman and a scholar. You will be missed dearly.

Thank you, sir... (5, Insightful)

Braintrust (449843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397116)

... for speaking the truth as you saw it, for forever questioning those truths yourself, and for overcoming your fear to speak them right to the end.

You were a rare man. Thank you.

Religion not bad - slashdotters naive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397176)

Slashdotters are always so naive when it comes to religion. You think the spoon-fed stories of Noah with all his cuddly animals, and Adam with a fig leaf, and fat statues of Buddha are what religion is all about - and so you reject these ideas, because you can see right through them. Those are stories and metaphors that were spoon-fed to the masses, during ages of time when it was difficult, if not impossible to communicate ideas about life and the universe. They are as real as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy - just metaphors. Methods of communicating an idea, or an ethic or a moral.

Religion is about one idea - YOU ARE NOT YOUR BODY. Your thoughts and feelings and desires and goals are not a bag of chemicals. Life is a separate source of energy from the physical manifestation. Your existence does not begin and end with the growth of a toenail, or a curly hair, or the firing of a synapse. Life is not a physical force, but it can act on physical forces, and can be tangentially measured in physical means.

So long, and thanks for all the books. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397178)

I never knew him; He won't be missed by me, but I do appreciate his life as much as any other's. Through living he gave a bit of this Universe's chaos a reason for existing, and I'd say on the whole his was a net gain against entropy.

I'm not one who needs the insight of others to point out flaws in religions. As an Atheist myself I've studied many religions and take note of their past cultural significance -- The first societies needed laws (which were born as part of religious beliefs), and many beliefs show quite a bit of imagination on the part of their collective creators.

Although I don't actively attempt to sway the beliefs of others or applaud those who do so, I suppose the end of the chemical reaction known as Christopher Hitchens deserves a moment of silence during which I'll think of my own mortality, both his and my own contributions to society, and extract from his passing a bit of urgency and resolve to complete my own socially beneficial free software projects.

Since TFS reads like an advertisement perhaps afterwards I'll buy one of his works.

...

Pascal's Wager (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397240)

Did he make a last minute bet?

the bigots i see here aren't the religious ones (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397242)

people mention bombing abortion clinics, beating up gays, sorry how many times does that happen out of 2 billion Christians, maybe it more of a problem with American's then Christian's, as that type of behaviour does tend to be US centric.
  The majority of Christian's i have met are actually nice people, they help the homeless, they do a lot of chariabtle work, of course there are a lot of people who proclaimed to be religious and aren't nice, but that's like saying you met an arsehole who work for starbucks, so by definition all Starbucks employees are arsehole's.

On slashdot you expect a higher level of discussion, but it's quiet funny how when you mention religion it descends into bigotry and prejudice. Again im not religious but i have no major problem with Christianity, it basic doctrines are right, i.e be nice to people, dont murder people.

People seem to forget the abolition of slavery, the fall of Communism, many of the social right's w have today where from Christian organization's in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Rest in peace (1)

serenevic (2530882) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397246)

Rest in peace, Christopher. Your agile mind, your books, and your intolerance of idiocy will always stay in our memory.
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