Friday, 16 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011
Christopher Hitchens has died, and we've lost one of the most elegant and powerful voices for reason, and a great friend of New Humanist. He once, very kindly, said of us that we were "part of the arsenal with which we must launch a – long overdue – defence of the Enlightenment", and his rousing spirit has inspired much of what we have done over the last few years. Here's an interview Laurie Taylor did with him for New Humanist back in 2002.

It's testament to the impact of the man's life and work that the internet has quickly filled with obituaries and tributes from friends, colleagues and readers. There's lots to read, but here in the New Humanist office we've found that there is no better way to remember the Hitch than by revisiting some of his greatest essays and columns. You'll find many of them on the website of Vanity Fair, where he was a contributing editor from 1992, and kept writing all through his prolonged illness.

And we all know the man could turn a phrase, so here's the Guardian's round-up of some his greatest quotes. It's hard to single out just one, but for this particular blog, this seems most appropriate:
"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more." – The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer, 2007
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