Another Famous Literary Atheist

Mary Grabar

5/18/2007 9:40:58 AM - Mary Grabar

He is a man convinced that he is right and he is very angry that most of the world refuses to recognize it.

One person he hates in particular is Jerry Falwell whom he called an “ugly little charlatan” and “bully and fraud” on the day of his death. He began his interview on CNN with Anderson Cooper by proclaiming, “I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to.” Christopher Hitchens, sophisticate and contributing editor to Vanity Fair, joins Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins and others who have written bestsellers claiming that religion causes hatred. His is called God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

That’s the thing about atheists: They greet death with great relish and glee. Along with their loss of an overall sense of sanctity goes their respect for the sanctity of the occasion. I imagine they have the neighborhood gossips giving the dirt over their own mothers’ ashes. Or upon the death of a spouse, perhaps they quickly dispense of the body and resume the pursuit of their next pleasure, which is the only solace they have in their little kingdoms of one.

The twentieth-century was one of the reign of terror by atheists. On a global scale we have seen this in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, and numerous principalities around the globe.

But before such egomaniacs come into power the groundwork has to be laid by such “progressives.” We begin with Marx and then proceed to the early twentieth-century apologists for atheism. Such men capitalize on world crises. The present company of atheists is capitalizing on Islamic terrorism.

They enjoy their own moments in the spotlight as they boldly declare their contempt for God and freedom from the fear of death.

But their personal lives reveal something far different.

Mark Twain, funny and talented fellow that he was, spent his last days penning bitter tracts. Sinclair Lewis, for all his glib satirizing of bourgeois small-town life and gullibility of those who follow preachers, ended his life in lonely dissipation and drink. He, like today’s atheists, demanded God prove his existence. Lewis stood at a church pulpit and gave God ten minutes to strike him dead. Needless to say, God did not follow Lewis’s orders.

Today’s atheists repeat these same tired tactics and arguments that Lewis and others used in the 1930s and before. The difference is that they do it on television and in “debates” on college campuses. The difference is that people are even more gullible today than they were back then because they are more ignorant of the Bible.

And they are ignorant of the misery that atheism causes in this life.

I could get through only half of Theodore Dreiser’s diaries of a life of “free love” in Greenwich Village back in the 1910s for fear of lapsing into my own depression. His days seemed to be filled with meaningless sexual encounters, hostility from girlfriends, and frequent visits to a clinic for therapy and medication.

Women fare worse, for sometimes pregnancies result from affairs, and then abortions. Edna Saint Vincent Millay may have been a brilliant poet and a role model of an early liberated woman for feminists, but I would not want the emotional turmoil of her open marriage and numerous abortions.

Ernest Hemingway, after his fourth marriage, and facing his sixties, put a gun to his head. Most recently, in 2005, a protégé, Hunter S. Thompson, did the same and gave instructions to his widow and friends to have his ashes blasted from a cannon.

The symbolism of the ashes heading up into the sky is obvious, but the physical laws of gravity (the only laws atheists ultimately obey) require that what goes up come back down.

I will not presume to know where Hunter S. Thompson is now, just as I do not presume to know God’s reasons for allowing 9/11. I do recall, though, the wonderful description of Satan being hurled from heaven in Paradise Lost:

. . . . Him the almighty power

Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky

With hideous ruin and combustion down

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In adamantine chains and penal fire,

Who durst defy the omnipotent to arms.

Nine times the space that measures day and night

To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf . . . .

But it seems to me that atheists who fancy themselves all-knowing and all-powerful, have created little hells for themselves on earth already. Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, et. al., are enjoying fame and financial success right now. But we have not yet seen them at the end of their days.