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Hitchens on the Afterlife

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What follows are two of my favorite points made by Christopher Hitchens in his recent Afterlife debate with Sam Harris, David Wolpe and Bradley Shavit Artson. First, his take on the prospect of death being final, or just the beginning ... It will happen to all of us that at some point you get tapped on the sholder and told not just that the party's over but slightly worse: 'The party's going on but you have to leave.' (Laughter) And it's going on without you. That's the reflection, I think, that most upsets people about their demise. Or, right then, because it might make us feel better, let's pretend the opposite: Instead, you are tapped on your shoulder and told: Great news! This party's going on forever and you can't leave. (Laughter) You've got to stay. The Boss says so, and he also insists that you have a good time. (Laughter) I've read about David's father -- I had a bad time when my own father passed out but the father proposed by monotheism is the father who doesn't die, who reassures that children don't worry: I'll never leave you, you'll never see the end of me, you'll never get the chance to feel sorry, I'm always there. I'm the absolute ultimate in dictatorship and in my court there's no appeal. Do you really think that this would cheer up anyone of sentience or humanity or capable of feeling about any -- I submit that is out of the question. (Applause) And second, a reflection on the approach taken by the religious to an Atheist who is fatally ill or on their deathbed ... It's considered perfectly normal in this society to approach dying people whom you don't know, who are unbelievers, and say: Now are you going to change your mind? It's -- what? -- it's considered almost a polite question. (Laughter) And, as you know there's a long history of fraud about this. People claim that Darwin had a deathbed recantation, They made up lies about Thomas Pain, it goes on all the time. It's a very nasty little history. But there's also a horrible undertone of blackmail. People like to say: Look, you've got only one chance left now. Aren't you going to take it? I'm writing to you as a friend. (Laughter) They've even tried it on me when I'd been very ill and haven't had quite the vinegar I'd like to have had, in a hospital bed. I don't mind. I can take it. But I think that a lot of people older than myself, iller than myself, perhaps, at the risk of seeing me conceited, less educated than myself, to whom it's a horrible experience, it's very depressing and alarming to be spoken to in that way. I mean, if Sam and I would've formed a core of people to go around Regis hospitals, -- which is what happens in reverse -- and say to people who're lying in pain, say: Did you say you're Catholic? >>Yes. >>Well, look: You may only have a few days left, but you didn't have to live as a serf, you know. Just recognize that was all bullshit. (Laughter) The priests have been cheating you. (Applause) And I guarantee you'll feel better. I don't think that would be very ethical. I think it'd be something of a breach of taste. But if it's in the name of god it has a social licence. Well, fuck that! -- is what I'll say. (Laughter&Whistling&Applause) And -- and will say if it's my last breath. Thank you. (Applause) I admire in Christopher Hitchens both his eloquence, and his ability to temper this with moments of sheer, concise BRILLIANCE.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 18 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: ChristopherHitchensV
Director: ChristopherHitchensV
Views: 1,046
Posted by: rianaa on Apr 18, 2011

Brilliant irony -- roars of laughter !

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