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Scenes snapped from the pageant of life: Cancer-plagued Christopher Hitchens turns to … a Christian doctor, and you’ll never guess …

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My friend, Five Feet of Fury and aptly so named, comments on a recent turn of events in Christopher Hitchens’ struggle with cancer (March 26th, 2011):

It never frickin’ fails: ‘Atheist Christopher Hitchens turns to evangelical Christian doctor in his fight against cancer’Oh yeah, we’re all so stupid and backward. Yep. Retards. Totally.

Atheists all come crying to us, one way or the other, eventually. 

Genome mapper Francis Collins is the doctor she is referring to. He is also founder of anti-ID think tank Biologos. From the Daily Mail:

The last person you might expect Christopher Hitchens, one of the world’s best known atheists, to turn to for help would be an evangelical Christian.But a highly religious doctor might be the only individual who can help the author and journalist who is suffering from cancer.

Dr Francis Collins, the former director of the National Human Genome Research Project was one part of the team which developed techniques to map out the entire human DNA make-up is using Hitchens as a guinea pig for a new treatment.

– Simon Neville, “Atheist Christopher Hitchens turns to evangelical Christian doctor in his fight against cancer”, Daily Mail (26 March 2011)

Well, I wonder how this will turn out.

Kathy thinks Collins should be a Catholic, but people like Kathy tend to assume that all serious Christians are Catholics now, whether they realize it or not. It saves conceptual work. See, I told you she was aptly named. You just weren’t listening.

Anyway: The last I paid much attention to Hitch was his savage attack on, of all people, Mother Theresa, who, if still alive, would be a centenarian almost, and likely to get up from her own sickbed to attend to his, if not prevented.

It’s a very early tradition among Christians to do this. The first  Christian did it.

Well, we must all wish Hitchens the best, even if the only result of his full recovery is further streams of invective against the very do-gooders who would pay attention to him now.

While we’re here anyway, didn’t Bill Dembski debate Christopher Hitchens recently?

A little late to the party here. I've always admired Christopher Hitchens despite his atheism. an observation that comes to mind is that our egos (that goes for all of us, and is not limited to those in whom we disagree) often get in the way of making vital decisions; conversion to Christ being one of them. I like to think that in spite of our stubborn will to conform to an image we perceive of ourselves, the mercy of God is still not far off. I'll hand it to Hitchens; among atheists, he is more keenly aware of what's at stake if the gospels prove to be true, and despite his anti-Christian pronouncements, I like to think that he could have a change of heart regarding deathbed conversions when the rubber meets the road. I've never believed in the power of prayer - as usurping the power of the Lord Himself, but I think the time is appropriate for a little seeking of the divine power. (I finally got my internet hooked up again. It's nice to be able to type again on a real keyboard, rather than the keypad to my cell phone). :) CannuckianYankee
Hitchens is a boor for insulting Mother Theresa. It's just poor sport and shows how out of touch he is with the reality of developing world health care. The main point of his criticism was that she could have saved some of her patients (had she opened up a first world hospital in Mumbai with all her donations) yet these days many atheists favour euthanasia for those overtly debilitated and even those who want to end their lives (as if major depression wasn't treatable). One should also mention that Indian authorities and Hitchens himself could have set up additional hospitals to take care of these untouchable terminally ill patients themselves, there certainly were and are many left over even right now. It was not as if MT kidnapped these people from 1st World US hospitals or the NHS, in Mumbai to offer them tender loving hospice care. Did he put his money where his mouth was and donate to the Indian Department of Health? Right. The man has cancer, it is sad, and I hope he's cured, but as Krzystof Kieslowski once said, there are cads/boors who are blind and they're just as nasty in behaviour as their seeing counterparts. Puragu
Aw come on, equinoxe and Upright Biped. You listened down to, respectively, 14 and 15. So you must have been interested. Bantay at 16, I agree. I don't know whether doctoring will help Hitch, but I know of no reason to doubt his choice of a physician. tragic mishap at 17, Re deathbed conversions, I am of a different mind. Many people spend their lives serving an evil master, for the benefit of family, friends, and country, and then what? Should they turn and repent, Is there no message from heaven? None at all? I cannot believe this. Let's look through the rubble again, and we'll find it, mistakenly discarded. O'Leary
I meant "conversion"... tragic mishap
The first thing I thought when I saw this thread was a video of Hitchens explaining how unlikely, indeed cowardly, it would be for him to have a deathbed confession. I admired him for that much. tragic mishap
Christopher Hitchens is fully capable of speaking for himself as to the reasons he chose the doctor that he did. Maybe he will issue a press release about it? Or maybe it will just end up being rumor fodder? I think that until he speaks for himself on the matter, I will just be thankful that he has an evangelical Christian doctor. At least an evangelical doctor can provide more reasons than medicine for an ultimate, enduring hope. One couldn't say as much for an atheist doctor. Bantay
14 Completely agree. Upright BiPed
In poor taste, the whole thread. I hope God helps him out either way. equinoxe
Denyse @8, My goodness. You are actually claiming that Hitchens' wrote a book about Mother Teresa because he wanted to be converted? Seriously, his choice of Collins is not surprising at all. As the Daily Mail article had noted, he and Collins had become friends. Knowing Collins' area of scientific expertise, I would have been surprised if he hadn't consulted him. Muramasa
QuiteID at 9, Oh, I don't know about that one. To judge from the awful impeachment hearings, which I endured from the misery of forced proximity to a blaring radio, I gather that lots of people had it in for Bill. The name Ken Starr jumps out at me suddenly, for some reason. If he wrote an anti-Clinton book, my guess would be that Hitch made his living as a contrarian. Guy like him should have loved Bill Clinton, but he gets off on .... it's a living, either way. But sometimes a better living that way, see? Mother T? Naw, that was a hit from way, way yonder, signalling something different, more complex. O'Leary
Joseph: LOL! I think Hitch wrote about Mother Theresa because he likes to tick people off, not because he has a repressed desire for conversion. Of course I would like it if he did acknowledge the reality of God (his brother is a believer after all, so anything's possible). QuiteID
quite possibly... Joseph
Did Hitchens write a book against Bill Clinton because he wanted to be seduced by him? QuiteID
Muramasa at 6, it's because a man does not write a book against Mother Theresa (Hitch did) unless he wants to be converted. Did the Dalai Lama write a book against her? Did Moshe Averick? Did Leif Jensen? Did the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem? Of COURSE not. Hitchens can get help from whoever can help, but his choice is interesting. By the way, didn't Richard Dawkins hold forth recently on the danger of Christians in science? Wonder what Hitch'd think of that now. O'Leary
Muramasa- The irony- Christians aren't supposed to know anything. Joseph
Denyse, I must not be clear on the point you are trying to make. Are you saying that Hitchens, as a atheist must only seek aid from atheists? And why is this suddenly about Mother Teresa? Muramasa
Muramasa stated; 'The treatment, though experimental, is based in science, not religion.' Muramasa whether you believe it or not, science would not be possible without God: This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place. Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video http://www.answersingenesis.org/media/video/ondemand/nuclear-strength-apologetics/nuclear-strength-apologetics Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place: Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/ THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010 Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes. http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201008/2080027241.html Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k ‘But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?’ – Charles Darwin THE HISTORIC ALLIANCE OF CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE Excerpt: Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga gives his opinion: “Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism.” http://www.reasons.org/historic-alliance-christianity-and-science ,,, You also state; 'Collins is not going to be laying on hands, speaking in tongues, or praying the cancer out of Hitchens.' Seeing as this a 'last ditch' effort perhaps Hitchens would be a little more accepting if Dr. Collins offered to pray with him? Medical Miracles Really Do Happen Excerpt: No one knows exactly how often such cases occur. Approximately 3,500 medically documented cases of seeming miracles -- based on reports from doctors in America and around the world dating to 1967 -- have appeared in 800 peer-reviewed medical journals and cover all major illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.* http://www.bottomlinesecrets.com/article.html?article_id=42254 It sure wouldn't hurt; Brain Differences Found Between Believers In God And Non-Believers Excerpt: Believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress, according to new University of Toronto research that shows distinct brain differences between believers and non-believers. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304160400.htm Dr. Ben Carson - The Humble Faith Of a Surgical Giant - Brain Surgeon http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/january-11-2008/dr-ben-carson/656/ bornagain77
Muramasa, you are enchantingly naive, doubtless an asset in your profession and not mine to judge. Why does a man write a book against Mother Theresa (?!) and not expect to die a Catholic? Well, maybe he will and maybe he won't, but he was signalling his position, if you see what I mean. Lots of atheists live and die and never say a word about Mother T. Of course Hitchens can say it's irrelevant that Collins is a Christian, but I doubt many will believe him. O'Leary
I am well aware of the planned treatment. The experimental nature of it changes things not one whit. Hitchens did not seek Collins' assistance because Collins is a Christian. He did not go to Collins seeking some kind of religion based treatment. Collins is not going to be laying on hands, speaking in tongues, or praying the cancer out of Hitchens. The treatment, though experimental, is based in science, not religion. I'm sure your friend was aiming for hyperbole, but in no sense did Hitchens go "crying" to Collins. Muramasa
Muramasa, if you actually read the linked story, you'll find out what treatment Collins is attempting (experimental, last ditch, I would say). O'Leary
Is Collins going to be providing some sort of religion based treatment? Faith healing or something? I doubt it. This is really a non-story. I would bet that religious folk get medical treatment from atheists every day, or get treatments that were developed by atheists. So what? Muramasa

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