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We've lost a giant PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

I'm very, very, saddened as I learned that Christopher Hitchens has left us after only 62 years of a brilliant, dedicated life.

Before I type one more word, I'll point out that those angry, frustrated, hateful, frightened, detractors were simply wrong when they predicted that he would turn to some deity or other before he died; that would not have been the Christopher that I knew, the brave warrior who wielded his pen as a sword and thereby cut such a shining path before him. I'm certain that as he closed his eyes he was aware that he'd done an excellent job, he'd said his piece, he'd reached so many people around the world who needed to know that they were not under the command of any jealous, vengeful, insecure, capricious, cruel, god who created them and then played with them like helpless toys to satisfy divine whims.  Christopher was one of my giants...

I'll miss him, but I'll try to carry his message to others who've not yet heard it, though my words will not read as well, nor will my phrasing of them approach Christopher's standards.  However, I choose to respect him by always referring to him as "Christopher," since he seriously disliked "Chris."  Please join me in that nicety.

Yes, it could be said that Hitchens was unwise about his heavy smoking and drinking, which may have brought about his too-early demise, but he was a fully mature adult who made those decisions for himself.  I have inveighed in the past against those unwise practices because they have cost me other good friends and family, and I myself am certainly not free enough of “sin” to cast any stone in his direction.

As I write this, I'm told that The New York Times has stopped the presses to include Christopher's obituary on their front page, and I swear that I could hear him guffawing at that. We so much enjoyed his wit and wise words at the The Amaz!ng Meetings he graced with his presence, and we will feel this loss every time we stand before a TAM audience.

Goodbye, Christopher.  These tears in my eyes are of pure joy at having known you.

James Randi.

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A legacy
written by CoffeeLovingSkeptic, December 16, 2011
to all of us, his readers, Christopher Hitchens will be remembered for the millions of words he left behind. They are his legacy.
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written by Quilled Mind, December 16, 2011
A year ago I lost my beloved cat on the 14th (his birthday two days later) and now Hitchens on the 15th. Today is my birthday (the 16th, along with my cat) and I find no happiness. I will raise three glasses.
This is why the poets write of woe.
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written by Phatchick96, December 16, 2011
smilies/sad.gif May he rest in peace, the world is poorer for his passing.
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A sad day and a brilliant man
written by revdroog, December 16, 2011
I count myself fortunate to have been alive at the same time as Christopher Hitchens, whose way with words and unflinching principles have strengthened the cause of logic and reason. I will miss him, but take comfort that future generations will also have access to him through his writings. Thank you, Mr. Randi, and thank you Christopher. A giant indeed.
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written by Monkey Man, December 16, 2011
That was one of the best things I've read about Christopher all day. Thanks Randi. I've cried a lot of tears today, like a lot of you. The idea that we can share his message and understanding and learn from his hard-eared faculties makes it possible to carry on. Shalom!
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written by Matt_D, December 16, 2011
This was a lovely piece. Thank you. Though I didn't know him personally, I loved Hitch and will sincerely miss him.
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written by Matt_D, December 16, 2011
And yes, he would have been tickled pink to know his death stopped the NYT presses, and that his obituary has appeared alongside "all the news that's fit to print".
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written by TickleMeCthulhu, December 16, 2011
I first came to know of Christopher through one of the TAM videos and was an instant fan. Mr. Randi, these were beautiful words for a man with a beautiful mind.
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written by Christine, December 16, 2011
I have been reading his books and essays for many years and always marvel at his knowledge of so many things. He is a pleasure to read and must have been a joy to know. So many of us will miss Christopher Hitchens and his insights. Thank you, Randi for such a moving "good-bye".
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written by Cdat88, December 16, 2011
Thank you Randi. A wonderful tribute. I had never met Christopher, and am sad I will now never have the chance. He truly was a bright light to guide those who think for themselves, free of contrary moral guidelines set by mythical, cruel, ancient dogma. I think all of us will do our best to carry on his words that can teach you to think for yourself. We cannot come close to his abilities, but we can keep the idea alive. It is true he set high standards, but that is what it takes to make people strive to their maximum potential.
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written by Roadtoad, December 16, 2011
No tears, here. I've too much respect for the man. Just a nod, a couple of toots on the air horn, and pressing on. We've lost a giant, but we lose far more if we wallow and forget to carry on the work.

Thank you, Mr. Hitchens. It was one hell of a ride.
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written by latsot, December 17, 2011
He was a complicated man and the world needs more complicated people, not fewer. Of all his achievements I think his greatest was that he forced the rest of us to try harder.

We're often content with wishing we were more like our heroes. Hitchens inspired me - and many others - to actually try to be more like him in practice.
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written by 99520, December 17, 2011
Thank you James for an uplifting and comforting piece on Hitch. He was the greatest thinker of our generation, or perhaps, the century. His brother, Peter, wrote what he admired most about Christopher was his courage of convictions, even as a young boy. He will be greatly missed!
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written by Curmudgeon, December 22, 2011
At a time like this one must wonder, if there is a god, why he would kill someone with the intellectual integrity and honesty of Christopher Hitchens while allowing continued life to the likes of Harold Camping, Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, and thousands of pedophile priests.
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