Essay: Atheism and Christopher Hitchens' death

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Christopher Hitchens died on December 15, 2011, the cause of his death was cancer which resulted from heavy drinking and smoking.

The possibility that Hitchens' unfortunate death from cancer could have been directly or indirectly influenced by his atheism remains open. In the indirect sense, it is known that the atheistic philosophy of apathy and the meaninglessness of life leads to vices and mental unwellness. Atheists and secular Americans are known to have higher rates of drug abuse (which, in a broad sense, could include smoking and drinking as well), while regular churchgoers are known to have much lower rates of mental illness and depression. The depression that atheism causes could easily result in using harmful matericalistic pleasures like tobacco and alcohol as a coping mechanism, since an avowed atheist like Hitchens would never consider seeking spiritual health, such as attending a Christian church or looking for answers in the Bible. This provides much evidence that atheism could have been the roots of Hitchens' bad habits, which lead to his cancer death.

Whether Hitchens' cancer death was influenced in any direct sense remains more uncertain. While a Christian should not speak directly for God, the Bible does show that, in specific instances, God has been known to punish sinners and the unrepentant with disease.[1] The Bible has also made it clear that those who wish evil on others deserve no better themselves; as Hitchens praised the sudden and unexpected death of Rev. Jerry Falwell, the possibility of divine retribution remains as well depending on a Christian's interpretation of God's word and actions.

And on the flip side, God has been shown to bestow mercy on those who are sick and seek His help. The many stories of Jesus healing the blind, crippled, and ill are the first examples. Even during today's times, there have been claims of modern-day miracles as well, such as the possible "curing" of a person's cancer by a Roman Catholic priest, through the power of prayer - something which Hitchens likely rejected to his deathbed.[2] Again it would be presumptuous for a Christian to speak directly on God's behalf, as is Hitchens' most obvious eternal fate according to the Bible (for only God knows for a fact whether or not he repented on his deathbed); nevertheless, the possibilities are a good topic of discussion among Christians and non-Christians alike.