Outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens dead of cancer

Among other things, Hitchens referred to Mother Teresa as a “fraudulent fanatic” and urged British authorities to arrest Pope Benedict. May he rest in peace.

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Peter Hitchens not quite like his atheist big brother

Rogier van der Weyden’s “Last Judgment”

A far-Left cultural revolutionary in the 1970s, Hitchens was in his early 30s, and had experienced life behind the Iron Curtain covering the Polish shipyard strikes when he began to feel strong unease.

“I no longer avoided churches,” he writes. “I recognised in the great English cathedrals, and in many small parish churches, the old unsettling messages. One was the inevitability of my own death, the other the undoubted fact that my despised forebears were neither crude nor ignorant, but men and women of great skill and engineering genius, a genius not contradicted or blocked by faith, but enhanced by it.”

On a cycling trip to Burgundy he saw Rogier van der Weyden’s 15th-century Last Judgment, and this made a lasting impression. “I had scoffed at its mention in the guidebook, but now I gaped, my mouth actually hanging open, at the naked figures fleeing towards the pit of hell. I had a sudden strong sense of religion being a thing of the present day, not imprisoned under thick layers of time. My large catalogue of misdeeds replayed themselves rapidly in my head.

I had absolutely no doubt that I was among the damned, if there were any damned. Van der Weyden was still earning his fee, nearly 500 years after his death.”

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Explore the art

Noted atheist author and speaker Christopher Hitchens diagnosed with cancer of esophagus. (Trip to Lourdes recommended, by me.)

Author, journalist and public intellectual Christopher Hitchens announced Wednesday that he will undergo treatment for cancer of the esophagus, thereby cutting short his current book tour.

Hitchens made the announcement via a statement posted on Vanity Fair’s website, a publication for which he regularly contributes.

“I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me. I regret having had to cancel so many engagements at such short notice,” Hitchens said.

Editor’s note: Let’s all pray for Mr. Hitchens’ prompt and complete recovery … since unlike Christopher … we Christians acknowledge the fact that God is indeed great.