Christopher Hitchens RIP

Dear Bleaders,

I wrote a little essay on Christopher Hitchens and the meaning of life and death for the Ottawa Citizen called “For Atheists This Life is Enough.” Maybe have a look? Maybe tell me what you think.

x Jennifer

About Amy Lepine Peterson

Amy Lepine Peterson teaches ESL Writing and American Pop Culture at Taylor University, but spends most of her time making a home in the cornfields for her best-friend-husband and two (frankly adorable) children. Look for her with a french press of coffee and a book or a screen, plus a little one on her lap, thinking about education, mothering, theology, tv, movies, music, and sustainable habits of living.

  • Hugo


  • LadyAtheist

    I appreciate your mention of several women. By now the commenters at the site have mentioned the things I noticed. I think it would have benefitted from another edit or two but the sentiment comes through. Having a literal deadline makes the time we have more precious.

    On my blog I posted my feeling about it: "Judgment Day for me is my last moment of consciousness. I want my last thought to be "I did what I could with the time I had." I think a lot of atheists feel that way. Having a finite lifespan makes our actions in life that much more urgent and important"

    It does seem that most of us feel this way. Thans for validating it for me!

  • Mike Gantt

    Hitch lived life more energetically and more productively than most Christians. While this life is not all there is (Act Three is in heaven where all the pieces of the first two acts are brought to fit together), we still must make all of it we can.

    What the beloved Hitch (and he certainly was beloved by me) failed to see while here was that Christ embodied all those virtues that Hitch himself held most dear. Nonetheless, he is realizing that now…for everyone goes to heaven.

  • Pete Hoge

    I don't worry much about death
    because I know that everything
    which is interesting about me
    will show up in another person.

    I have no original thoughts
    or actions.

    I don't worry about missing out
    on the marvels of the future
    because I have a good idea about
    how things will turn out.

    Greed, hatred, and delusion
    will arise but compassion and
    loving kindness will balance
    them out.

    Dark and light are a binary
    system going on forever.

  • Bradley Bowen

    From "For Atheists this Life is Enough":

    The kind of further existence that religions offer me tends to be in a place where we are no longer hungry or horny, where we have wings instead of desire. But who are we in a place where our troubles no longer trouble us, and we no longer need balm for the wounds of it all, nor medicine for the madness?

    In heaven there is no sickness, no pain, no hunger, no poverty, no violence, no cruelty, no genocide, no war, no torture, no rape, no racism, no bigotry, no greed, no terrorism, no polution, no heartless idiots like Rush Limbaugh spewing their ignorance and hatred out to the masses (Rush would presumably be sent to another warmer destination).

    Heaven sounds like a pretty good deal to me, except that it is run by a dictator who demands not only obedience, but absolute unthinking mindless immoral obedience and adoration. Heaven would be just great, without the egotistical mind-controlling dictator running the place.

    So, as atheists I don't think we should knock heaven. Instead, we can offer a small suggestion which would make a big difference, a major improvement in the place: dump the dictator but keep the other stuff (e.g. love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, justice, cooperation, intelligence, etc.).

  • Bradley Bowen

    From "For Atheists this Life is Enough":

    "Life is a burden. It seems ungrateful and ungracious to say, but with all the pleasure comes a lot of pain, even for those of us who haven’t been truly mutilated by life."

    Life has not been a burden for me. But I realize that 6 million children die of starvation each year, and that over 100,000 Iraqis were killed in a stupid unjustified war that we Americans shelled out about a Trillion dollars for. Some of those dead Iraqis died as a result of torture by US military and US rent-a-thugs, others died from US bombs and bullets.

    So, setting aside any further political ranting, I know that my relatively happy and unburdened life isn't the sort of life that most people get to live. But if some people can live long and prosper, then it is at least a possibility that all people could live such lives, and it is clearly within the realm of possibility for a significantly larger portion of the human species to live relatively happy and productive lives.

    Yes, life is a burden for many. But many of the burdens are the result of human injustice and human stupidity. The burdens that are just 'natural evils' can also be alleviated by human efforts, at least in the long run. Science and medicine have improved human health, and if governments could somehow become more rational, the benefits of science and medicine could be widely enjoyed.

    Life is a burden for most people, but I believe that there could and should be a world in which life is not a burden for most people, where most people are happy, healthy, prosperous, creative and productive.