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post #46 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 06:05 PM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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Originally Posted by abraxas21 View Post
"I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to", is what the man said.

but you're clinging at straws again.
An atheist joke. You wouldn't get it.

PS, Hitchens didn't hate Muslims. He hated the aspect of Islam that hated the good, like the fatwa against his best friend, Rushdie.
But since you Christians believe in hell, then you must believe it has a purpose for existing. Falwell would surely be a worthy guest there.
I never did understand if the Christian hell was made for non-Christians or just for bad Christians.

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post #47 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 06:11 PM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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he wasn't talking about all Muslims there, he was talking about Taliban/AlQaeda troops, the whole thing was a sarcastic remark on the unholiness of their beliefs
i'd believe that if only not for the exhilarating joy he expresses at the thought of them being killed with their holy books at hand. you can believe that his hatred was only extended to the taliban or other terrorist denominations but from his prose it's pretty evident that the man's hatred for Christianity, Judaism and Islam (the 'axis of evil', as he put it -probly in reminescence of bush rethoric) was so extreme that he couldn't help to have some degree of hatred for the ones who practiced those religions as well.

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you don't know him well enough to judge his morals,
i hope you realize that when you say he was a great man you're also judging his morals.

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he had very close Muslim friends and he talked about this many times (especially Kurds as he vehemently supported their cause)
i don't dispute the fact that he supported the kurds' cause but i do find hard to believe that he truly had 'very close Muslim friends' given that he was a well known islamophobic who derided Islam and their believers in many ocassions. this was a man who not only thought that Islam was a stupid excercise of religious faith, he also held the position that their religion inevitably leads to violent results.

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he actually was so intellectually honest that he didn't fall for the zionist propaganda even though he was a Jew himself, his anti-zionist views are well known so he can't be accused of racism against Arabs or Muslims
i never have accused him of racism and i don't know enough about him to think he's one.

i fail to see why he's so intelectually honest just because he, as a jew, denounces the state of israel's atrocities. it's only normal and the stuff that any man with 2 working brain cells would do. then again, if that's the criterion for putting the 'intellectually honest' tag, then i'll take chomsky over hitchens anyday.


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post #48 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 07:04 PM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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it's pretty evident
not really, he wouldn't have befriended any Muslims, Christians or Jews if he thought all of them were his despised enemies

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Originally Posted by abraxas21 View Post
i hope you realize that when you say he was a great man you're also judging his morals.
why does everything have to be so black and white with you? he was charismatic and witty, less hypocritical and - most importantly - had more appreciation for humanism and the value of life than any other religious demagogue or apologist, he advocated science, reason and human solidarity rather than blind faith, the most overrated virtue as he put it, he helped so many people see through religion and overcome childhood brainwashing (me included)

in short, he's a great man

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i do find hard to believe
doesn't make it false

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Originally Posted by abraxas21 View Post
this was a man who not only thought that Islam was a stupid excercise of religious faith, he also held the position that their religion inevitably leads to violent results.
and this isn't true because..?

looking forward to see you trying to teach me something that I don't know about Islam

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i don't know enough about him to think he's one.
yet you keep judging him and making claims about him here, I should have asked how many books of him have you actually read before I started responding

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i fail to see why he's so intelectually honest just because he, as a jew, denounces the state of israel's atrocities. it's only normal and the stuff that any man with 2 working brain cells would do. then again, if that's the criterion for putting the 'intellectually honest' tag, then i'll take chomsky over hitchens anyday.
I didn't pose that as the criterion for his intellectual honesty, just something I thought you don't know since you seem to know so little about him, you don't seem to be open minded enough to realize why he's so intellectually honest, and you'll also need to read his books to know that, but here's an article that emphasize this aspect of him:

Christopher Hitchens: A salute to intellectual honesty

By Sharon Waxman
Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:42pm EST


He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise.

As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words that were as painfully honest as they were hilarious.

"I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire, who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies," he wrote in September 2010 in Vanity Fair, to those who hoped for a last-minute conversion to faith.

His illness was a terrible irony. Hitchens was at the peak of his career. For decades he had toiled in the margins of the intellectual elite, plunging into distant political conflicts that only a few Americans noticed, and hanging with the denizens of British literary journalism and highbrow fiction.

None of this paid very well, and despite Hitch's fancy accent, he did not come from money. But suddenly he got rich and pretty famous.

He was diagnosed with cancer just a few years after writing the 2007 bestseller "God Is Not Great." It turned out that attacking George Bush, Bill Clinton and Mother Teresa got him nowhere near the notoriety that he won for taking on God. (Or "god," as he always wrote it.)

Hitch became a constant presence on the debate circuit on the topic of atheism, a familiar face on the shows of Jon Stewart and Bill Maher (another vocal atheist) and a sought-after blogger, letter writer and columnist. ("It seems there is no utterance of mine that isn't worthy of publishing," he told me, when I asked him to think about blogging for TheWrap.)

And so: Cancer was very ill-timed.

"Rage would be beside the point," he wrote, on learning of his illness, in one in a series of columns in Vanity Fair that won him a national magazine award. "Instead, I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I'd worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? To read -- if not indeed write -- the obituaries of elderly villains like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger? But I understand this sort of non-thinking for what it is: sentimentality and self-pity. Of course my book hit the bestseller list on the day that I received the grimmest of news bulletins, and for that matter the last flight I took as a healthy-feeling person (to a fine, big audience at the Chicago Book Fair) was the one that made me a million-miler on United Airlines, with a lifetime of free upgrades to look forward to ... To the dumb question 'Why me?' the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?"

WITHSTANDING THE GLOATERS

And of course, his religious detractors found much irony here, much about which to gloat.

But it was here where Hitchens rose to the challenge so few of us could imagine, using humor and a core intellectual honesty to face down the existential challenge that was suddenly of immediate relevance.

He absorbed many horrible insults, including those from observers who called his cancer some kind of divine retribution, something he somehow "deserved."

He responded thusly in September 2010:

"The vengeful deity has a sadly depleted arsenal if all he can think of is exactly the cancer that my age and former 'lifestyle' would suggest that I got. Why cancer at all? Almost all men get cancer of the prostate if they live long enough: it's an undignified thing but quite evenly distributed among saints and sinners, believers and unbelievers. If you maintain that god awards the appropriate cancers, you must also account for the numbers of infants who contract leukemia. Devout persons have died young and in pain. Bertrand Russell and Voltaire, by contrast, remained spry until the end, as many psychopathic criminals and tyrants have also done. These visitations, then, seem awfully random. While my so far uncancerous throat, let me rush to assure my Christian correspondent above, is not at all the only organ with which I have blasphemed ... And even if my voice goes before I do, I shall continue to write polemics against religious delusions, at least until it's hello darkness my old friend. In which case, why not cancer of the brain? As a terrified, half-aware imbecile, I might even scream for a priest at the close of business, though I hereby state while I am still lucid that the entity thus humiliating itself would not in fact be 'me.' (Bear this in mind, in case of any later rumors or fabrications.)"

I never could decide whether to laugh or cry at this prose. In the end, I could only marvel at Hitch's ability to pierce the heart of his own mortality with such detachment and wit.

He always jumped into the middle of great moral debates. And he never took the side that was easiest to defend. In fact, it was easy to suspect that he liked to take the opposite argument -- just because.

This aspect of Hitchens -- the gadfly who loved the spotlight -- used to annoy me. I first remember seeing him a couple of decades ago on a talk show like "Meet the Press," and he showed up a vision of scruffiness -- unshaven, and wearing Birkenstocks. I thought it stunk of anti-establishment grandstanding.

But I watched him over the years, and changed my mind when I got to know him during the release of my last book, "Loot," about stolen antiquities. The fate of the Elgin Marbles -- the Parthenon sculptures taken to England a century and a half ago -- was another of his thankless causes, rooted in that core of intellectual honesty.

(The sculptures were taken by stealth. They belong in Greece. Not a lot of Brits spent their time saying so. Hitch did.)

He came to debate the topic with me at a New York Times lecture in 2008, and after beating up the British cultural establishment for about an hour, we headed out to a lunch at an empty Italian restaurant. It lasted for four hours, and he drank his way through many whiskeys and regaled the table with tale after ribald tale of his adventures.

It was one of the most memorables afternoons I've spent, ever.

Farewell, Hitch. We salute your brilliant mind, and a moral heartbeat that pulsed so strongly throughout.

And that pen. Oh how we will miss that pen.
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post #49 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 12:37 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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why does everything have to be so black and white with you? he was charismatic and witty, less hypocritical and - most importantly - had more appreciation for humanism and the value of life than any other religious demagogue or apologist, he advocated science, reason and human solidarity rather than blind faith, the most overrated virtue as he put it, he helped so many people see through religion and overcome childhood brainwashing (me included)

in short, he's a great man
he also advocated for a war on terror that ended up with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people

but no biggie. he's a great man

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post #50 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 01:11 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

farewell from a former friend:

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Farewell to C.H.

by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

I can’t count the times, down the years, that after some new outrage friends would call me and ask, “What happened to Christopher Hitchens?” – the inquiry premised on some supposed change in Hitchens, often presumed to have started in the period he tried to put his close friend Blumenthal behind bars for imputed perjury. My answer was that Christopher had been pretty much the same package since the beginning — always allowing for the ravages of entropy as the years passed.

As so often with friends and former friends, it’s a matter of what you’re prepared to put up with and for how long. I met him in New York in the early 1980s and all the long-term political and indeed personal traits were visible enough. I never thought of him as at all radical. He craved to be an insider, a trait which achieved ripest expression when he elected to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen by Bush’s director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. In basic philosophical take he always seemed to me to hold as his central premise a profound belief in the therapeutic properties of capitalism and empire. He was an instinctive flagwagger and remained so. He wrote some really awful stuff in the early 90s about how indigenous peoples — Indians in the Americas — were inevitably going to be rolled over by the wheels of Progress and should not be mourned.

On the plane of weekly columns in the late eighties and nineties it mostly seemed to be a matter of what was currently obsessing him: for years in the 1980s he wrote scores of columns for The Nation, charging that the Republicans had stolen the 1980s election by the “October surprise”, denying Carter the advantage of a hostage release. He got rather boring. Then in the 90s he got a bee in his bonnet about Clinton which developed into full-blown obsessive megalomania: the dream that he, Hitchens, would be the one to seize the time and finish off Bill. Why did Bill — a zealous and fairly efficient executive of Empire – bother Hitchens so much? I’m not sure. He used to hint that Clinton had behaved abominably to some woman he, Hitchens, knew. Actually I think he’d got to that moment in life when he was asking himself if he could make a difference. He obviously thought he could, and so he sloshed his way across his own personal Rubicon and tried to topple Clinton via betrayal of his close friendship with Sid Blumenthal, whom he did his best to ruin financially (lawyers’ fees) and get sent to prison for perjury.

Since then it was all pretty predictable, down to his role as flagwagger for Bush. I guess the lowest of a number of low points was when he went to the White House to give a cheerleading speech on the eve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I think he knew long, long before that this is where he would end up, as a right-wing codger. He used to go on, back in the Eighties, about sodden old wrecks like John Braine, who’d ended up more or less where Hitchens got to, trumpeting away about “Islamo-fascism” like a Cheltenham colonel in some ancient Punch cartoon. I used to warn my friends at New Left Review and Verso in the early 90s who were happy to make money off Hitchens’ books on Mother Teresa and the like that they should watch out, but they didn’t and then kept asking ten years later, What happened?

Anyway, between the two of them, my sympathies were always with Mother Teresa. If you were sitting in rags in a gutter in Bombay, who would be more likely to give you a bowl of soup? You’d get one from Mother Teresa. Hitchens was always tight with beggars, just like the snotty Fabians who used to deprecate charity.

One awful piece of opportunism on Hitchens’ part was his decision to attack Edward Said just before his death, and then for good measure again in his obituary. With his attacks on Edward, especially the final post mortem, Hitchens couldn’t even claim the pretense of despising a corrupt presidency, a rapist and liar or any of the other things he called Clinton. That final attack on Said was purely for attention–which fuelled his other attacks but this one most starkly because of the absence of any high principle to invoke. Here he decided both to bask in his former friend’s fame, recalling the little moments that made it clear he was intimate with the man, and to put himself at the center of the spotlight by taking his old friend down a few notches. In a career of awful moves, that was one of the worst. He also rounded on Gore Vidal who had done so much to promote his career as dauphin of contrarianism.

He courted the label “contrarian”, but if the word is to have any muscle, it surely must imply the expression of dangerous opinions. Hitchens never wrote anything truly discommoding to respectable opinion and if he had he would never have enjoyed so long a billet at Vanity Fair. Attacking God? The big battles on that issue were fought one, two, even five hundred years ago when they burned Giordano Bruno at the stake in the Campo de’ Fiore. A contrarian these days would be someone who staunchly argued for the existence of a Supreme Being. He was for America’s wars. I thought he was relatively solid on Israel/Palestine, but there too he trimmed. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency put out a friendly obit, noting that “despite his rejection of religious precepts, Hitchens would make a point of telling interviewers that according to halacha, he was Jewish” and noting his suggestion that Walt and Mearsheimer might be anti-Semitic, also his sliming of a boatload of pro-Palestinian activists aiming to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. (His brother Peter and other researchers used to say that in terms of blood lineage, the Hitchens boys’ Jewishness was pretty slim and fell far outside the definitions of the Nuremberg laws. I always liked Noam Chomsky’s crack to me when Christopher announced in Grand Street that he was a Jew: “From anti-Semite to self-hating Jew, all in one day.”)

As a writer his prose was limited in range. In extempore speeches and arguments he was quick on his feet. I remember affectionately many jovial sessions from years ago, in his early days at The Nation. I found the Hitchens cult of recent years entirely mystifying. He endured his final ordeal with pluck, sustained indomitably by his wife Carol.


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post #51 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 01:14 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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he helped so many people see through religion and overcome childhood brainwashing (me included)
i wanted to highlight this quote especially.

given your impressive words of admiration towards the hitch, it seems to me that your religious 'childhood brainwashing' has been substituted by a 'hitch brainwashing' (my term, all rights reserved), so i'll just take the guess that the brainwashing problem that seems to affect you might be, well, with you rather than with religion itself... or even hitchens for that matter

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post #52 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 03:23 AM
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I used to warn my friends at New Left Review and Verso in the early 90s who were happy to make money off Hitchens’ books on Mother Teresa and the like that they should watch out, but they didn’t and then kept asking ten years later, What happened?

Anyway, between the two of them, my sympathies were always with Mother Teresa. If you were sitting in rags in a gutter in Bombay, who would be more likely to give you a bowl of soup? You’d get one from Mother Teresa. Hitchens was always tight with beggars, just like the snotty Fabians who used to deprecate charity
.

i also wanted to highlight this quote because it's awesome on so many levels.

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post #53 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 03:34 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

And where did Mother Teresa get the money to buy soup?

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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

didnt come from hitchens, that's for sure

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post #55 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 04:54 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

Cockburn. Great name.

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And where did Mother Teresa get the money to buy soup?
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post #56 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 05:34 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

Gosh I haven't pulled up the Counterpunch website in ages. Thanks for the post

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post #57 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 11:14 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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i wanted to highlight this quote especially.

given your impressive words of admiration towards the hitch, it seems to me that your religious 'childhood brainwashing' has been substituted by a 'hitch brainwashing' (my term, all rights reserved), so i'll just take the guess that the brainwashing problem that seems to affect you might be, well, with you rather than with religion itself... or even hitchens for that matter
how exactly can you be brainwashed to become an irreligious person?

for instance I asked you to explain how his thoughts on Islam were wrong and you haven't replied, instead of labeling me as brainwashed you ought to prove me wrong

and it wasn't just him that helped change my attitude towards faith, so no "hitch brainwashing", unless I can be accused of a "Federer brainwashing" that is
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post #58 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 01:25 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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how exactly can you be brainwashed to become an irreligious person?

for instance I asked you to explain how his thoughts on Islam were wrong and you haven't replied, instead of labeling me as brainwashed you ought to prove me wrong
first and foremost because he's wrong on religion in general. hitch's problem is his lack of comprehension for human rationale and lack of rationale in general. it's well known fact that we aren't rational and every single one of our religions is a testament to this. however, and here's were i disagree with the likes of hitchens, we shouldn't aspire to be rational either. we should accept our nature as it is because that's what makes us great. our capacity to dream, to coinceive and to let our imaginations run wild with myths, legends and religions are part of who we are and a deep militant hitchens-like desire to turn us totally rational can only impoverish our spirts, much like it imporished hitchens' mind.

secondly, i get a bit suspicious on the real motives of the ones who used terms like 'londonistan' while showing his fear at the growing number of muslim immigrants in london, or who expressed their 'exhilarating' joy at the thought of militant muslims being killed with the Koran in their hands. hitchens was obviously a polemist who thrived on his own trolling and islam was a common target for him. but this is all rather anectodic once we ponder on the fact that this man endorsed bush's war on terror and called for a war that ended up killing thousands of innocents.

his alleged objetivity when it comes to criticize all religions equally is also not that clear to me. as a polemist, he didn't have qualms saying that we shouldnt be afraid of offending muslims but instead of making similar statements about jews, he insisted on referring to some anti-zionists as anti-semites. the double standards do make an appeareance at the end...

then again, how can a man like this be regarded as a 'great man' by you and others is entirely mistifying to me. the cult-like fanatism that some people have towards him is actually quite scary.


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and it wasn't just him that helped change my attitude towards faith, so no "hitch brainwashing", unless I can be accused of a "Federer brainwashing" that is
i think you can be accused of both, tbh.

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post #59 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-20-2011, 01:36 AM
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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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Watch out or Seingeist will badrep you for daring to criticise his idol
There's no reason to be childish, Pirata, and to hold such a strange grudge here.

I do not "idolize" Mother Teresa, and it is silly to suggest that I do so on the basis of finding your attempts to demonize and impugn her fairly absurd.

There are innumerable people in this world whose actions deserve your condemnation; Mother Teresa is not one of them (Hitchens's desperate postures of iconoclasm notwithstanding).

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Re: christopher hitchens dead at 62.

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first and foremost because he's wrong on religion in general. hitch's problem is his lack of comprehension for human rationale and lack of rationale in general. it's well known fact that we aren't rational and every single one of our religions is a testament to this. however, and here's were i disagree with the likes of hitchens, we shouldn't aspire to be rational either. we should accept our nature as it is because that's what makes us great. our capacity to dream, to coinceive and to let our imaginations run wild with myths, legends and religions are part of who we are and a deep militant hitchens-like desire to turn us totally rational can only impoverish our spirts, much like it imporished hitchens' mind.
It is true that the core of the human being extends beyond rationality (and that our metaphysical presuppostions are decided on grounds that are pre-rational or a-rational), but this does not for one moment mean that we "shouldn't aspire to be rational," nor that we should delight in the irrational.

Nor would I concede, as you seem to, that "religion" is necessarily or intrinsically irrational. Again, while it is true that much of its proper content might be said to be a-rational, this does not mean that any given religion's claims should be protected from the tribunal of reason. Indeed, one of the many reasons that I find Christianity so compelling is that, taking the "whole picture" into consideration, it is the only worldview that satisfies the demands of reason.

Finally, you are actually giving Hitchens far too much credit by saying that "total rationality" has "impoverished Hitchens's mind." He was not, in fact, terribly rational at all. His books lacked intellectual sophistication and he was regularly trounced in the scholarly debates that he undertook. His undeniable urbane charm, however, was enough to please the choir and impress the unreflective.

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