Guest post by J.A. Leary
I felt a deep loss when I read Christopher Hitchens had passed away. As I never knew him personally, the sense of loss was more for never meeting him, shaking his hand, and thanking him.
I certainly did not want to believe my parents, teachers, and clergy would be so irresponsible as to lead my young mind astray with falsehoods. Would my parents be so naïve and gullible before a theocracy that boils down to mere nonsense? No child, young or old, wants to believe that about their parents. Therefore, I concluded by the age of 20, there had to be some truth at the core of the Christian revelation. And that truth I spent years trying to find, without success.
When my mind met Christopher’s voice, it was a surreal experience. Listening to him so cleanly articulate all the things that are wrong with Christianity vindicated me: my mind was indeed asking the right questions and drawing the correct conclusions. It was Christopher who shook loose the last remnants of a mental oppression that had burdened me for so long. His writings and his voice immersed me in hours of reason and coherent argument. It was as if his timbre went to the source of my struggles, and simply handed me the answer: Christianity and reason were orthogonal and could not be resolved to congruency.
Reading his books and watching any debate I could conjure up from YouTube, I saw with great objectivity how religion is disseminated through societies via the cultural influence and the misuse of authority. This subjugation of the masses is clever. By never giving the innocent mind a chance to breath the free air, the maturation of critical thinking skills is arrested. Prayer, servitude, and donations smother the requirement for evidence and corroboration of supernatural claims. Fortunately, the concept of faith became weak and silly to me. I wanted to understand before believing.
But the answers I so desperately wanted and needed never came. The great unifying theory squaring Christianity with science and reason, that I once believed had to exist, never materialized. And I never found a shred of evidence to even hint that such a theory existed. In short, Occam’s razor cut through it all; The Christian faith was simply manmade, and that explained everything. It was Hitchens that gave me validation that my conclusions were not only correct, but that my reasoning HAD to be correct.
The writings and orations of Christopher Hitchens matter in this analysis because of what can flourish in a human being after reading and hearing him. And what can flourish is reason and consciousness. If we are to evolve into a species that is anything more than ½ a chromosome away from a chimpanzee, Christopher’s fight for intellectual freedom over theocratic tradition must be sustained until we finally let go of superstition and species-centric narcissism. Some argue that the voice of Christopher Hitchens does not matter. If this is true, then we as a species don’t matter either. And sadly, we never did.
Author of The Angel Hunter