The British Humanist Association (BHA) is today mourning the death of Christopher Hitchens, a great loss to humanism, who brought some of the clearest, most eloquent arguments for reason, political secularism, and humanist ethics to a worldwide audience.
A prolific writer and inspiring orator, Hitchens brought his own brand of unbelief to mass audiences, becoming part of the ‘new atheist’ publishing phenomenon with his 2007 work ‘God Is Not Great’, but had for many years been an activist for secularism and many of the other causes dear to humanists.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:
‘The life and contribution of Christopher Hitchens will be celebrated not only by humanists but all those who prize freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of belief were all things valued and defended by him. Hitch was fearless in his challenges to authority, orthodoxy and conformity and his death brings the loss of a great cheerleader for liberal as well as secular causes.
‘His attitude to death and his resolute maintenance of the non-existence of a god or afterlife became an extra inspiration for non-religious people in his final months, bringing to mind words of Bertrand Russell which he himself quoted with approval:
“Religion, since it has its source in terror, has dignified certain sorts of fear and made people think them not disgraceful. In this it has done mankind a great disservice – all fear is bad. I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation… Many a man has borne himself proudly on the scaffold; surely the same pride should teach us to think truly about our place in the world.”
‘Christopher Hitchens helped millions to think more truly about our place in the world and he will be missed.’