A SHORT ODE TO CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

Christopher Hitchens said so many wonderful things, touched on so many probable truths and to tell you the truth, it leaves me feeling a little inadequate.  Yet, of all the inspiring ideas, words and concepts he put forth, none is as beautiful as; “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”  Christians are constantly appealing to non-believers (thinkers) to “go out on a limb,” or “take a risk and believe in God,” but as Hitch so eloquently pointed out, the risk is in thinking for yourself, particularly in a society in which free thought is heresy.  There is no social or psychological risk in sitting back and letting others take on the tiring and dissonance-producing task of answering questions for you, for you no longer have to live with the terrifying and tiring uncertainties of life.

 

But not only is it a risk to think for yourself, it also appears to be a horrifying thing for a large portion of our species, because if they are no longer allowed to rest on the thoughts and beliefs of others, then they themselves become responsible for facing the difficult questions of life, head-on.  They are no longer afforded the sloth and decadence of ignorance and faith and no more will they be allowed to spend hours kneeling, with hands clasped, praying to some non-existent magician, for magical answers to problems that have rational and achievable solutions.

 

Immanuel Kant made this same point when he said; “Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance, nevertheless gladly remain immature for life.”  Had these two inspired gentlemen met, I am sure they would have had a great deal in common to discuss, but, as is often the case, I digress.  In my own humble opinion, until we learn to foster a greater regard for the question rather than the answer, we will continue to be too cowardly to take such a risk and too lazy to think for ourselves.

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