Christopher Hitchens is dying of esophageal cancer, which was the disease that took his father. Or as Hitchens says it, "Well, I'm dying... but so are you. I'm only doing it more rapidly." Hitchens, a devout "New Atheist," and author of God is Not Great and more recently, a memoir, Hitch 22, has now found himself as the subject of "Everyone Pray for Hitchens Day" which was held by several ministers last month. The event was sincere and promoted by several Christians who have come to develop quite an admiration for the man who so vehemently opposes faith-based religions. The admiration and relationships to Hitchens were nurtured by people who consistently debated him, and found themselves respecting the man.
About the people praying for his recovery Hitchens says, "I say it's fine by me, I think of it as a nice gesture. And it may well make them feel better, which is a good thing in itself ." However, he says knowing about the prayers does nothing for himself.
I would add that when/if Hitchens goes, I will be at a loss. It is Hitchens whose voice I believe is the only one worth listening to amongst the New Atheists (Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett). The rest are so mired in their own presuppositions, that they defile the logic which they claim as their support. Dawkins won't even engage in public debate. It is Hitchens whose arguments make me tense, because they demand a confrontation of sorts if I am being honest. The way Hitchens talks about the various religious beliefs is fascinating, and although he talks about religion with a great amount of cynical humor, I never get the sense that he is making a straw man out of religious systems, but rather is taking the claims of the various religions quite seriously.It is Dawkins, whose understanding of religion seems to be that of one who has gotten no further in their theological understanding than that of a 13 year old in Sunday School.
Read the article about the prayer day for Hitchens and his thoughts on his looming death here.