Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

Christopher Hitchens: Always Learning…And Coming To The Truth?

Friday, December 16th, 2011


Christopher Hitchens died yesterday, here in Houston at MD Anderson.

A faithful atheist, Christopher Hitchens wrestled with God. I appreciated watching it in action. It was like witnessing Jacob go round after round with the Maker begging to be blessed. Hitchens wanted to be blessed with belief, I believe.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seemed to me he felt cursed by not being allowed entre into an intellectual world he couldn’t understand. His unbelief limited his understanding of the world both literary and literal and unlike so many, he seemed aware of his lack. He seemed to resent it. So, he fought.

An honest believer of any stripe fights. The mindless, whether atheist or God-fearer, makes a mockery of belief itself. Some might be surprised that a man who seemed to so despise God would be respected by believers. Here’s been my experience: the fighters acknowledge Something whether conscious or not.

Reminds me of the verse Revelation 3:15:

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.”

In a politically correct world of facile sophistry, Christopher Hitchens was either hot or cold. He certainly wasn’t lukewarm.

He didn’t brook the flabby self-congratulation of the likes of Bill Maher the king of cheap and easy pseudo-intellectualism.

One of my favorite Hitchens moments was between Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan in a debate moderated by the incomparable Tim Russert. At one point, Hitchens decried Andrew’s whining like a little girl. It was offensive, un-p.c. and completely deserved.

One of the most painful Hitchens exchanges was Hitch and his brother debating over the existence of God. What pained me was Christopher’s brother Peter’s pain.

Peter wrote about his journey to Christianity (well worth the read):

Being Christian is one thing. Fighting for a cause is another, and much easier to acknowledge – for in recent times it has grown clear that the Christian religion is threatened with a dangerous defeat by secular forces which have never been so confident.

Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.
The one reliable force that restrains the hand of the man of power. In an age of powerworship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power.

While I was making my gradual, hesitant way back to the altar-rail, my brother Christopher’s passion against God grew more virulent and confident.

As he has become more certain about the non-existence of God, I have become more convinced we cannot know such a thing in the way we know anything else, and so must choose whether to believe or not. I think it better by far to believe.

And then he writes of his brother:

My brother and I agree on this: that independence of mind is immensely precious, and that we should try to tell the truth in clear English even if we are disliked for doing so. Oddly enough this leads us, in many things, to be far closer than most people think we are on some questions; closer, sometimes, than we would particularly wish to be.

The same paradox sometimes also makes us arrive at different conclusions from very similar arguments, which is easier than it might appear. This will not make us close friends at this stage. We are two utterly different men approaching the ends of two intensely separate lives.

Let us not be sentimental here, nor rashly over-optimistic. But I was astonished, on that spring evening by the Grand River, to find that the longest quarrel of my life seemed unexpectedly to be over, so many years and so many thousands of miles after it had started, in our quiet homes and our first beginnings in an England now impossibly remote from us.

It may actually be true, as I have long hoped that it would be, in the words of T. S. Eliot, that ‘the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’.

And if that peace could come…

Well, we all get old and we all soften, or most with any shred of wisdom do. And so, the question was asked by Mark Judge,”Is Christopher Hitchens about to convert?

My initial answer to the question was a version of “isn’t it pretty to think so”? My second thought was who can know the mind of men? And that reminded me of I Corinthians 2:11 (again in the King James version because I’m partial):

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

Or said in a modern way, “After all, who knows everything about a person except that person’s own spirit? In the same way, no one has known everything about God except God’s Spirit.”

We can only know believers by their fruit and forgive me, but Christopher Hitchens was withering. Ultimately, his belief is between him and God. It is for all of us.

Either way, I’m thankful for Christopher Hitchens. His keen mind and incisive questions forced a believer to be better in his answers.

And that is why I’ll miss Christopher Hitchens most–his unintended consequences. It is with great irony that he caused many who were learning, to come to the truth–even if he couldn’t.

UPDATED: Please read his brother Peter’s eulogy. It’s excellent. A smidgeon:

He would always rather fight than give way, not for its own sake but because it came naturally to him. Like me, he was small for his age during his entire childhood and I have another memory of him, white-faced, slight and thin as we all were in those more austere times, furious, standing up to some bully or other in the playground of a school we attended at the same time.

This explains plenty. I offer it because the word ‘courage’ is often misused today. People sometimes tell me that I have been ‘courageous’ to say something moderately controversial in a public place. Not a bit of it. This is not courage. Courage is deliberately taking a known risk, sometimes physical, sometimes to your livelihood, because you think it is too important not to.

Another moving tribute by his friend, Peter Robinson.



Ontario Bans Coulter: School Trying To Create A “Safe Place”

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

My brother called me to ridicule Canada in general and the decision to ban Ann Coulter in particular. Here is what really got him going:

Rita Valeriano was one of several protesters inside the hall who, with chants of “Coulter go home!” shouted down the International Free Press Society of Canada organizer who was addressing the crowd.

Valeriano, a 19-year-old sociology and women’s studies student, said later that she was happy Coulter was unable to speak the “hatred” she had planned to.

“On campus, we promise our students a safe and positive space,” she said. “And that’s not what (Coulter) brings.”

They want to create a “safe and positive space” all the while screaming hateful slogans against Coulter.

Also, what childish silly people. Where are they? Kindergarten? It sounds like they’re talking about preschoolers here….which may be the case.

If kids get mommy and daddy’s health care until they’re 26, at 18 their baby ears are probably too delicate to hear a diverse opinion.

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Kurt Westergaard, Mohammed Cartoons, And Liberals Ignoring The Obvious

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Liberal bloggers are so very, very brave. They can quote out of context and everything! They can also question the bravery of others while not being brave themselves. They can accuse other of hypocrisy and can’t see their own. It’s awesome. Ummmm:

I’m more than a little troubled/confused by the story of Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who survived an attack this Friday from an axe-wielding critic by hiding in a semi-fortified panic room. (Westergaard drew one of the controversial Muhammad cartoons in 2005). I mean, there are any number of complexities about the story, but here’s the one that I’m most perplexed by.

At the time, Westergaard was looking after his five-year-old granddaughter, Stephanie. He was confronted with a terrible choice: risk being killed in front of his granddaughter, or trust that the PET, Denmark’s security and intelligence service, knew what they were talking about when they had told him terrorists usually don’t harm family members but stick to their target.

Westergaard chose to escape into his bathroom, which had been specially fortified as a “panic room”, while Stephanie was left sitting in the living room. From the bathroom he alerted the police as his assailant reportedly battered the reinforced door with the axe, shouting, “We will get our revenge!”

Both survived unscathed, although God knows how a 5-year-old processes something like that, and you’ve got to imagine her folks aren’t going to be letting Grandpa babysit again anytime soon. Still, how does one even make that choice? Was it really a rational process, as implied above? I could not even begin to say. Or judge.

Well, actually, I think that this author is judging…as am I. If there was a way to get the kid to the safe room, I’m guessing he would have, right? If he callously left her…what the hell? But of course, there’s more to the story.

From the Guardian article:

“Those minutes were horrible,” Westergaard recalled yesterday. “But I think I have got through this fairly well – and so, it seems, did my grandchild. That, of course, is the main thing. I would not have been able to live with myself if something had happened to her.”

From the outside, Westergaard’s house in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-biggest city, looks like your average suburban home. But according to the cartoonist, it is a “fortress without a moat”, equipped with security cameras and armoured windows. Living under the constant threat of revenge, he has always had to take precautions when leaving his home – visits to the gym, for example, could not be at predictable hours, so he would change his schedule every week. He carries a personal alarm and tracking device everywhere, and every day a police car would escort him to and from his work at Denmark’s biggest-selling daily newspaper.

Makes me think the above blogger wants to note the cartoonist’s hypocrisy…he’s not all that brave. While she also omits that this guy is being hounded by radical Muslims every day because of a cartoon.

Can we focus on the closed-mindedness here? Imagine, say, that the cartoon was about Jesus and years later the cartoonist had to have a police escort and a tracking device and a safe room.

It’s called perspective liberals. While you kvetch about his cowardice leaving his grand-daughter in the living room–something, I too, question–you also ignore the constant, relentless threat he lives under for being an artist who dared poke fun of the Religion of Peace. The real story is that a couple years later, psychotic Muslims aren’t enlightened enough to endure criticism of their religion and then reinforce all stereotypes of a barbaric religion by being barbaric. (Ya gotta admit, an axe is pretty barbaric, no?)

It’s also getting more difficult to ignore the Religion of Peace when their extremist adherents are trying to blow up planes on Christmas. Oh yes, they respect other religions as much as they endure insults to their own.

So, until Islam goes through a reformation, focus your ire where it belongs: On the psychotic people unwilling to embrace enlightened values like tolerance and love and peace. You know, all those things John Lennon liked to imagine. It’s not the Christians conducting a jihad, here. They’re making difficult choices like whether they have time to pull their five year old granddaughter into the safe room without getting them both killed by an ax-wielding Muslim or trying to not get blown up on their plane home on Christmas.



Can President Obama Be Ambiguously Christian Forever?–UPDATED The Obamas Didn’t Want The Nativity Scene?

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Remember the Ambiguously Gay Duo from Saturday Night Live? Yeah, well, President Obama reminds me of them whenever he makes vague references to “divine” anything like he did in his Nobel Peace Prize speech today.

He’s so ambiguous that 39% of Israelis believe that President Obama is Muslim.

Updated:

President and Michelle Obama didn’t want the Nativity scene? Do you notice how inclusion means being nothing? Become everything to everybody and end up nothing to nobody….the danger of Barack Obama’s stance on, well, everything.



Random Tiger Woods Thought

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

The woman who publicized her affair with Tiger Woods could be stoned if she lived in Iran or Saudi Arabia. I mean, she’s admitting the affair. It would take four male witnesses [or eight women, because women are worth half a man], though, for Tiger to get stoned. I doubt there were that many witnesses. At the least, though, he might get 100 stripes.

Here’s some examples of tolerance.

So, if Tiger ends up out $300 million, at least he can be thankful he still has his hide. Good idea, not explaining his “transgressions.” That should be vague enough under Sharia.