General Heresy is a column dedicated to investigating, and making public, different faiths and philosophies, as well as religions and related organizations and events.
Two years ago, December 15th, one of the greatest orators of the twentieth century, and “Arguably” the greatest of this young twenty first century, Christopher Hitchens, passed away.
In spite of his passing; in spite of the silence that has yet to be replaced with an equal rhetorical giftedness, a close circle of my dear friends and I gather together to raise a glass of Johnnie Walker Black (accept no substitutes), and toast the great speaker, debater and, particularly important to me, journalist. On journalism, Hitchens has said:
“I became a journalist partly so that I wouldn’t ever have to rely on the press for my information.”
Perhaps best known for his relentless views on religion, and for his book ‘God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything’, Hitch has fought for freedom, critical thinking, and skepticism all over the globe. Though his views may seem overbearing to some, and even insulting to others, he hadn’t fear to give credit where it was due:
“Religion is part of the human make-up. It’s also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy.”
Even in the face of death, Christopher Hitchens rasped in eloquence:
“Like so many of life’s varieties of experience, the novelty of a diagnosis of malignant cancer has a tendency to wear off. The thing begins to pall, even to become banal. One can become quite used to the specter of the eternal Footman, like some lethal old bore lurking in the hallway at the end of the evening, hoping for the chance to have a word. And I don’t so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it’s time to be on my way. No, it’s the snickering that gets me down.”
For those unfamiliar with Hitchens, I encourage you to explore his works, and for those fans of the late great, I invite you to join me, and so many others, in raising a glass for Christopher Hitchens, and reflect on this beautiful thought:
“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”