A Letter From Christopher Hitchens

Citing health issues, Christopher Hitchens was unable to attend the American Atheists convention in Des Moines, IA.  But true to form for the gentleman that he is, Mr. Hitchens sent a letter in his stead, which was, to put it mildly, fantastic.   While it would have been awesome for those who were fortunate enough to attend the convention this year to see Mr. Hitchens, I am sure that everyone understands why he was unable to attend. We are all concerned about him, and I know I speak for most of in wishing him as well as he can be, given his circumstances.  Here is the letter, submitted for your approval:

Dear fellow-unbelievers,

Nothing would have kept me from joining you except the loss of my voice (at least my speaking voice) which in turn is due to a long argument I am currently having with the specter of death. Nobody ever wins this argument, though there are some solid points to be made while the discussion goes on. I have found, as the enemy becomes more familiar, that all the special pleading for salvation, redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before. I hope to help defend and pass on the lessons of this for many years to come, but for now I have found my trust better placed in two things: the skill and principle of advanced medical science, and the comradeship of innumerable friends and family, all of them immune to the false consolations of religion. It is these forces among others which will speed the day when humanity emancipates itself from the mind-forged manacles of servility and superstitition. It is our innate solidarity, and not some despotism of the sky, which is the source of our morality and our sense of decency.

That essential sense of decency is outraged every day. Our theocratic enemy is in plain view. Protean in form, it extends from the overt menace of nuclear-armed mullahs to the insidious campaigns to have stultifying pseudo-science taught in American schools. But in the past few years, there have been heartening signs of a genuine and spontaneous resistance to this sinister nonsense: a resistance which repudiates the right of bullies and tyrants to make the absurd claim that they have god on their side. To have had a small part in this resistance has been the greatest honor of my lifetime: the pattern and original of all dictatorship is the surrender of reason to absolutism and the abandonment of critical, objective inquiry. The cheap name for this lethal delusion is religion, and we must learn new ways of combating it in the public sphere, just as we have learned to free ourselves of it in private.

Our weapons are the ironic mind against the literal: the open mind against the credulous; the courageous pursuit of truth against the fearful and abject forces who would set limits to investigation (and who stupidly claim that we already have all the truth we need). Perhaps above all, we affirm life over the cults of death and human sacrifice and are afraid, not of inevitable death, but rather of a human life that is cramped and distorted by the pathetic need to offer mindless adulation, or the dismal belief that the laws of nature respond to wailings and incantations.

As the heirs of a secular revolution, American atheists have a special responsibility to defend and uphold the Constitution that patrols the boundary between Church and State. This, too, is an honor and a privilege. Believe me when I say that I am present with you, even if not corporeally (and only metaphorically in spirit…) Resolve to build up Mr Jefferson’s wall of separation. And don’t keep the faith.


Christopher Hitchens

Al Stefanelli is the author of “A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World – The Rise Of Atheism On Planet earth.”  He also writes for the National Atheism Examiner and Yahoo! He is also the President and Founder of the United Atheist Front, wich can be found on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, Podbean and YouTube.

  7 comments for “A Letter From Christopher Hitchens

  1. Steve Schlicht
    April 23, 2011 at 10:02 am

    We love you, Hitch.

    Thanks for always being there for us and for giving us such a treasure trove of reason, logic and wisdom from which to gather and use as the “tools of our trade” keeping church and state separate.

    We will keep and defend your legacy with strength and honor, brother.

    With great admiration, always.

    Steve Schlicht
    Biloxi MS

  2. tom
    April 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    indignant to the end.

  3. Frederick Santal
    April 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Hitch lived during a time when atheists actually had total political power over one third of the Earth. It resulted in political repression, torture, and genocide to unprecedented levels.

    Our basic rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come from God. What God gives man can’t take away. What man gives man can take away. And will. As the atheists of the last century proved rather definitively, and disgustingly.

    Whenever someone tells you man gives you your basic rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, don’t give him any ground. He just wants to keep his ability to take those rights away from you. There is a reason it was England and America that fought atheistic communism and fascism throughout the 20th century, willingly sacrificing blood and treasure. The two preeminent Christian nations. Christians know where basic human rights come from and therefore know they are worth fighting for. And Christians have a motivation to fight for them. What God gives man cannot take away. And will not, if Christian nations are around to make the stand.

    • Sam
      March 26, 2012 at 2:14 am

      You sir, are an idiot. Man invented god(s) and this invention has been the most vile thing of all of man’s creations.

  4. isom
    May 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    ‘Well said’ would be an understatement. We salute you Mr. Hitchens.

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