Hitchens Was Not Great

Posted: Dec 17, 2011 12:01 AM

When Christopher Hitchens died this week, I trust that after he did so, something miraculous happened.

That’s what my faith tells me.   

It’s not in good taste to speak ill of someone recently deceased.  But in this case, I think Hitchens would approve, or at least shrug it off with indifference, many of the screeds written for or against him.

But, while reading the eulogies about Hitchens I get the feeling, more than anything else, of a life wasted on unbelief.

Everyone dies, and then…that’s it… or is it?

Is all that’s left behind for a writer like Hitchens a mass of manuscripts and his ability to endure- or not- over the generations?

Hitchens would argue so. But I would argue no.  

Because I believe that the things you do in life to bolster faithfulness; the things you do in life to support belief in anything or even something are much more important, either way, than the things you stand against.

Faith is the most important part of life and probably the most neglected.  

This is not merely a religious argument. It’s an argument against skepticism as an end rather than as a means to something. It’s an argument that understands that unbelief requires much more faith than faith does and provides us with little substance.       

If Abraham Lincoln had merely been against the spread of slavery rather than also believing in the God-given equality of man, 45 million people could be in slavery today.  

But let’s get back to Hitchens.

His view of the miraculous is a good example of how faith is the most extraordinary part of human existence.

He dismisses our existence as a mere accident of…well he doesn’t know what.

But if we are just an accident that happened, sentient beings with the ability to know right from wrong, of knowing the natural law from right here in our heart, of comprehending our own existence and even rejecting our existence, well that’s probably the greatest miracle of all.

Is more improbable that man with knowledge of natural law was created by a knowing and loving God or just on accident? It certainly would require a great deal of faith to believe that it was on accident.

I’m not a mathematician, but I’m guessing the odds of me being here, occupying this space and time, on accident, would be quite astronomical.   

Reverse engineer the "Infinite Monkey" theory that says that if you have an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters that one monkey will accidentally bang out the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This is a much-used thought experiment that deals in big number probabilities.

In Hitchens' universe, William Shakespeare was that improbable, infinite monkey, as are you. In fact, in Hitchens universe, Shakespeare is even more improbable than our infinite monkey, because our infinite monkey only accounts for the odds of creating Shakespeare's works, rather than creation of Shakespeare himself.

What atheists would have you believe is the improbable multiplied by infinity by accident.               

That's why I think increasingly advances in biology and physics suggest that an accidental creation is the most improbable faith of all.   

For example, the theory in quantum mechanics called the Uncertainty Principle- which so far is consistent with what has been observed in physics- increasingly suggests that everything remains only a probability until it is actually observed. Without observation, nothing actually exists.

If that’s true- Einstein rejected the possibility of the Uncertainty Principle- none of us really exist nor does the universe exists without an all-seeing being.  There is just no other explanation for the universe.      

In Hitchens’ universe, a universe without an all-knowing being, freed from bonds of both time and space, would suggest that our existence is only a probability, not a reality.

The awareness of our own existence, our self-consciousness therefore makes belief in a sterile universe without a Creator, an unknowable act of faith.  

But instead of faith all you are left with is the certainty of doubt.

The lesson you find has the moral authority of a South Park episode.

And none of the humor.

That’s not great.

That’s an episode of The View.