Yes, I do realise I'm slightly late but I've only now read the latest developments about Christopher Hitchens' health conditions and I wanted to publicly wish him all the best in his battle against cancer. Not that I believe in the power of wishes, of course. That would be an insult to everything Christopher stands for. It's funny though. It's funny - or maybe sad? - that my first thought was that quite a few people out there will probably be secretly cheering at the thought of supposed divine retribution being long due, possibly giggling, even praying their respective deities to give Christopher's cancer a winning edge over him. Yes, it does sound awful, but we know it's true. After all we're talking about one of the few people on this planet truly not afraid of speaking their mind, a man whose particular mind is as sharp as a katana but who has somehow become famous for being as abrasive and coarse as sandpaper. Someone who never spared the most worshipped individuals of our time the harshest of critiques, bringing uncomfortable truths to light the way a proper reporter should. A bit of a modern Oscar Wilde, perhaps with a bit more substance to him than just a dandy spirit and a wee bit less subtlety. Don't get me wrong now, I love Oscar Wilde, I'm just saying.
This, however, is not meant to be an apology - much less an eulogy - for Mr Hitchens. After all, he doesn't need the former and the latter would be an awful display of morbidity on my part. Not to mention that even I find myself quite often at odds with him on certain subjects - the Middle-Eastern conflict, to name one - so I'd never go as far as to adulate him. Not that he'd like it, anyway. Hopefully that will go to show those pesky theists that we don't blindly follow what they love to call the leaders of our movement. Hell, wouldn't it be great if we really were a movement as they claim we are? Think of what we could accomplish. That, however, is still wishful thinking at present.
On an entirely unrelated subject, today I found myself contemplating an interesting - and definitely blog-worthy - thought. It came to mind as I was watching the Nth debate on gay marriage and gay rights. You might or might not know that this country, Italy, still ranks among the most homophobic in Europe, second only to Romania if I remember correctly. When debating the subject of homosexuality and gay marriage one of the most common "rebuttals" coming from the religiously-driven opposition is homosexuality's supposed being "unnatural." Don't bother to explain them that homosexuality is quite a widespread phenomenon in the natural world, they won't listen.
The rationale behind their stance seems to be that homosexuality is unnatural since it does not lead to fruitful procreation and new life. That's when the realisation dawned on me. Aren't we atheists usually the ones being defined as soulless beasts driven by instincts and with no intellectual or moral depth whatsoever? Weird, considering the way they handle the subject. It's not so much the fact that they find homosexuality unnatural, but on what grounds and what it actually entails. Looking at it from the opposite angle we find the tacit assumption that interpersonal relationships between men and women are only truly of any consequence when procreation occurs. What's even worse is what follows from that in terms of gender roles. According to such a world view women's worth is only measured by the fertility of their ova, the capacity of their uteri and their mothering skills, men of any value only insofar as the power of their pelvic thrust and the energy of their swimming little Navy Seals allow them to conform to some abstract understanding of the notion of "natural." Wouldn't you expect a lot more from a mob of self-proclaimed moral individuals, always so keen to criticise the supposed sterility of a naturalistic world view? It's sad to realise that some people will never really be able to see the beauty in nature for what it really is, busy as they are building theological constructs upon it and trying to redefine things in a way that might please them more than reality itself.