Believe It or Not

Believe It or Not

Christopher Hitchens. (Photo courtesy of the Fixed Point Foundation.) (click for larger version)
September 02, 2010

Acclaimed writer and noted atheist Christopher Hitchens, whose books include God Is Not Great, will debate renowned Paris mathemetician Dr. David Berlinski, author of The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, on September 7 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Birmingham. Presented by the Fixed Point Foundation—an organization dedicated “to publicly defending Christianity through education, events, and the development of innovative resources that empower Christians and challenge skeptics”—the event includes a luncheon and reception in addition to the debate, which is titled “How Atheism Poisons Everything.”

Dr. Berlinski is a self-described “secular Jew and an agnostic” who is perhaps best known for his appearance in Ben Stein’s film Expelled, produced by Stein to defend belief in a Supreme Being. Hitchens and Berlinski will explore the question, “What are the implications of a purely secular society?”

As if any further drama is needed, Hitchens was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The hard-living, chain-smoking author has commented on his illness in recent weeks. When asked by interviewer Charlie Rose if he would live the same lifestyle knowing that cancer would be the result, Hitchens responded, “Yes, I think I would. I’ve had to reflect on this, of course, a lot recently, and trying to imagine doing my life differently and not ending up mortally sick. But it’s impossible for me to imagine having my life without going to those parties, without having those late nights . . . without that second bottle.”

The disease was diagnosed on the heels of Hitchens’ just-published memoirs, Hitch-22. The September issue of Vanity Fair features a chilling, amusing, and brutally honest assessment of his current health status, as penned by Hitchens himself. The writer sums up his fate in his classic style: “The word ‘metastasized’ was the one in the report that first caught my eye, and ear. The alien had colonized a bit of my lung as well as quite a bit of my lymph node. And its original base of operations was located—had been located for quite some time—in my esophagus. My father had died, and very swiftly, too, of cancer of the esophagus. He was 79. I am 61. In whatever kind of a ‘race’ life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist.” &

“How Atheism Poisons Everything,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 7. Sheraton Birmingham, 2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North. Tickets: $25, with additional cost for luncheon and reception. Details:

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