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The Dichotomy Of The Faithful



Christopher Hitchens, having recently announced that he is indeed battling cancer, responds to the (presumably large number of) critics who say that he has contracted the disease because of his lack-of-faith in addition to his blasphemy:
There are numerous passages in holy scripture and religious tradition that for centuries made this kind of gloating into a mainstream belief. Long before it concerned me particularly I had understood the obvious objections. First, which mere primate is so damn sure that he can know the mind of god? Second, would this anonymous author want his views to be read by my unoffending children, who are also being given a hard time in their way, and by the same god? Third, why not a thunderbolt for yours truly, or something similarly awe-inspiring? The vengeful deity has a sadly depleted arsenal if all he can think of is exactly the cancer that my age and former “lifestyle” would suggest that I got. Fourth, why cancer at all? Almost all men get cancer of the prostate if they live long enough: it’s an undignified thing but quite evenly distributed among saints and sinners, believers and unbelievers. If you maintain that god awards the appropriate cancers, you must also account for the numbers of infants who contract leukemia. Devout persons have died young and in pain. Bertrand Russell and Voltaire, by contrast, remained spry until the end, as many psychopathic criminals and tyrants have also done. These visitations, then, seem awfully random. While my so far uncancerous throat, let me rush to assure my Christian correspondent above, is not at all the only organ with which I have blasphemed …And even if my voice goes before I do, I shall continue to write polemics against religious delusions, at least until it’s hello darkness my old friend. In which case, why not cancer of the brain?
And herein lies the contradiction within some people of faith (in this case, Christians).

I will (reluctantly) admit that I purport to be a Christian. I do not regularly attend church services, nor do I pray every night at bedtime. But, when I ponder my -- as well as all of -- existence, I find it difficult to believe that everything around me is something that is the result of a random collision of particles.

Perhaps this is the expression of my naiveté, perhaps a human frailty or, perhaps it's something else altogether. I'm not necessarily here to answer that question today.

Regardless of what my belief in a higher power means, I do know one thing: Christians are supposed to be all about love. So, when a "Christian" says something like this about Hitchens' cancer:
Really? It’s just a “coincidence” [that] out of any part of his body, Christopher Hitchens got cancer in the one part of his body he used for blasphemy? Yea, keep believing that Atheists. He’s going to writhe in agony and pain and wither away to nothing and then die a horrible agonizing death, and THEN comes the real fun, when he’s sent to HELLFIRE forever to be tortured and set afire.
...I become very skeptical regarding their adherence to the religion. In short, I doubt that they are what they claim to be.

As I was growing up and loathing my way through weekends of Sunday schooling, I distinctly remember being taught that to be Christian was to 'love thy neighbor'. To be Christian was to 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. To be Christian was to 'turn the other cheek' when someone slaps you in the face (both metaphorically and literally).

Unless things have changed dramatically since I last attended regular religious services, wishing the Infernus on your political enemies/those with whom you disagree is not looked kindly upon in the Christian church (save perhaps for this church). If one is (allegedly) a Christian, but vehemently disagrees with Hitchens' atheistic ideologies, it is not very Christian-like to openly (or secretly) root for the man to burn in hellfire for eternity, no?

I wonder what Jesus of Nazareth did/would have done? Surely the Teacher did not go around damning those who spoke against him and his teachings...