If . . .

August 18, 2010 at 2:16 am (By Amba)

Hitchens has a deathbed conversion after all, and swears that the him who told us that wouldn’t be the real him wasn’t the real him, which one do we believe?

(My answer in the comments.)


  1. amba12 said,

    Whichever one we want to, of course.

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  3. Ron said,

    I thought he asked us not to trust him when he gets to that point…

  4. wj said,

    While dead-bed conversions can be sincere, my inclination is to assume that they are just a case of someone wanting to have it both ways: Atheist while alive, to avoid constraints. Believer at the end, to avoid the consequences. It seems like a case of being just a little too convenient.

  5. realpc said,

    “Atheist while alive, to avoid constraints.”

    Atheists are not usually trying to avoid constraints. They are probably just as likely to have modern liberal humanistic moral values as religious believers. It is really just a myth that religion prevents immoral behavior. All social animals have moral codes. No group can survive without constraints.

    And that reminds me why I wrote the post about caring what people think. Our moral codes are inherited from our primitive human ancestors, and from their pre-human ancestors. They did not come from Moses, or Buddha, or Jesus.

    And we have to care what people, in general, think, because we have no other frame of reference. We are a kind of social animal.

    But I also think social groups are guided by super-physical structures which you could call morphic fields, or Platonic ideals, or gods, or whatever. (And so are individuals, and the components of individuals, etc.)

    The non-physical structures you resonate with can give you a sense of what is the “right thing” even if your social group has gone astray.

  6. Maxwell James said,

    This whole topic makes me think of Kurt Vonnegut’s wonderful/creepy image of people as seen from outside of time in Slaughterhouse-Five. I don’t have the book handy, but IIRC the Tralfamadorians saw humans as appearing like giant centipedes, with their fetal selves at one end and old, withered bodies at the other, and every lived moment of their lives filling out the middle.

    (Which is to say: much like the blind men & the elephant, no one moment is ever enough to tell the human story in full).

  7. Randy said,

    Whichever one we want to, of course.

    Well said!

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