Hitchens: Don't Bother Praying For Me

Atheist says he's not into deathbed conversions
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2010 1:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ever since being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, Christopher Hitchens has been hearing it from religious people—from those who are praying for his soul, to those who think the cancer is a punishment sent from God. He scoffs at the latter. “Why not a thunderbolt for yours truly, or something similarly awe-inspiring?” the arch-atheist asks in Vanity Fair. “The vengeful deity has a sadly depleted arsenal if all he can think of is exactly the cancer my age and former ‘lifestyle’ would suggest I got.”

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But many others are praying he converts, or gets better—September 20th has even been dubbed Pray for Hitchens Day. “Please do not trouble deaf heaven with your bootless cries,” Hitchens protests. “Unless, of course, it makes you feel better.” And no, he won’t be converting just in case he’s wrong. “I hope no serious person would be at all impressed by such a hucksterish choice,” he writes. “The god who would reward cowardice and dishonesty and punish irreconcilable doubt is among the many gods in which (whom?) I do not believe.” (Read more Christopher Hitchens stories.)

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