August 10, 2010

Hitchens on Mortality

Who says, "there are no atheists in foxholes"? Certainly not Christopher Hitchens, who is undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer:

[King] Passion: (Smiling.) Uncivilized ignorant fools, who imagine that spirit is something different from body, and reaps the reward of actions in a future state ; we might as well expect to find excellent fruit drop from trees growing in the air.

But assuming the existence of what is the mere creature of their own imagination, they deceive the people. They falsely affirm the existence of that which does not exist; and by their frequent disputations endeavour to bring reproach upon the Nastikas [who do not believe in the Vedas; atheists or materialists] who maintain the words of truth.

Who has seen the soul existing in a state separate from the body? Does not life result from the ultimate configuration of matter? Consider this attentively. They not only deceive themselves, but like-wise deceive the world.

--- Krṣṇamiśra. Prabodha Chandrodhaya, 7th Century CE [transl. John Taylor. The Rise of the Moon Intellect. Tookaram Tatya, Bombay:1886, p. 19].
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