I don't know if it's bravery or simply intellectual honesty, but when a person is confronted with his own immediate destruction and doesn't seek false comfort, I think there's something to be admired. Christopher Hitchens eventually succumbed to cancer last Thursday, and our community is grieving the loss of a brilliant fighter against bigotry, intolerance, indoctrination, stupidity, and totalitarianism. But, he had a life of wonder, and I think he fully enjoyed it, as he put it, he burned the candle at both ends.
Hitch was not timid in attacking the fake, the unreasonable, and even the popular. What I like the most was his sharp wit, great reasoning and the knowledge on the subjects he talked about. I read his books, and watched his many debates and interviews, and read faithfully his essays. That's his legacy, though it would have been nice to have had him around for a while longer.
Here's a sample of Hitchens' argument against religion as he debates Chris Hedges:
I watched the following video a few days ago, and I've been pondering how to present it here as it's extremely disturbing. It's a demonstration of mindless belief and how religion (faith) can make good people do horrible things to others, including children. Belief without evidence and reason is extremely dangerous, especially when it involves how others are treated.
A totalitarian, absolute ruler of the universe, who created all the heavens and earth, and humans, and viruses, and diseases, and natural catastrophes, who cares how we think (yes, there's ..thought crime), how we dress, what we eat, how we have sex, and tells us to kill (obviously the followers of the wrong gods), this supernatural entity must be given credit for everything--the good and the bad.
Of course, I've heard about "free will" and the (bad) choices humans make, but assuming bad things happen to people who deserve it, why do bad things happen to babies, or little children who haven't had the chance to exercise their free will? Hitchens spent his last days in a hospital part of a medical center whose tallest tower was a reminder of, at the very least, a God who doesn't care. It's a hospital for children with cancer!
David Hume [The Problem of Evil] put it succinctly : Is God able but not willing? Then he's no moral. Is God willing but not able? Then he's no god. Why God is so apocryphal? Like Hitch put it, millions of humans for thousands of years died in pain, agony, fear, ignorance, etc. Everywhere, from the Americas to Australia. Then the Heavens decide to intervene by telling a few Bronze-age tribal people living in obscurity that there's a true God. And, for hundreds of years no one else on Earth knew about it. So, people kept dying in ignorance.
I don't know, an infinite entity with all the wisdom would at least have told the tribes to wash their hands. Or, at the very least, not have created the germs, viruses, diseases, etc, to torture the humans he made out of his own image. There's a water-born worm in Africa that's responsible for blinding millions of children (and adults) in the continent. It enters the eyeball of the victim and eats it from the inside out. But, for the rest, we have butterflies and rainbows to marvel at, praise God.