Russell and Duenes

On the Deaths of Vaclav Havel, Christopher Hitchens, and Kim Jong Il

with 4 comments

Hard to say it better than Douglas Wilson does in his reflection on the deaths of the above men. Here’s a taste, but you can read the whole brief piece here.

We often say, when someone passes away, that they have “gone to their reward.” But given atheism, what is that reward exactly? It is exactly the same for Havel, Hitchens, and Kim Jong Il. All three have now entered into nothingness, which is to say that, given atheism, there are no rewards for anything — good, bad or anywhere in the middle. Havel was an anti-communist hero, Hitchens was a courageous but infidel journelist, and Kim Jong Il was a murderous and genocidal thug. They all graduated from this class called earth, and they all got exactly the same grade. Is that justice?



Written by Michael Duenes

December 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Duenes, Theology

4 Responses

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  1. The chances of there being any sort of life after death have always struck me as microscopically small. This post touches on probably the two main reasons for religious belief. One, all animals (including self-aware animals such as human beings) want to stay alive. A deer or a coyote (or whatever) in its mindless way strives to stay alive by fight or flight. Humans, aware of our inevitable mortality, invent (what are most likely) delusions such as life after death.

    The other awareness we have that other animals don’t is that life is not fair (as many people tell their children). Sometimes the wicked, and the weak, and the crazy win and prosper. Sometimes the good and the strong and the sane suffer and lose. Again, the deer and the coyotes don’t imagine that good deeds and sensible behavior and irrational belief in a “savior” will be rewarded for eternity, nor do they imagine that predators and hunters and rabid creatures will be sent to an eternal punishment. I have always been amazed that anybody believes for 10 seconds that either of these beliefs are true. (Actually, I strongly suspect that most adults don’t in fact believe, but pretend to believe for the sake of their children and on the wishful hope that maybe it’s really true.) As usual, you have my permission to delete my comment.


    December 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    • Modesty, we haven’t deleted one of your comments yet, so there’s no need to keep bringing it up. Suffice it to say that if we ever feel like deleting one, it won’t be a problem.

      But as usual, you keep smuggling terms like “fair,” “good,” “suffer,” and “good deeds” into your comments. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. After all, there’s no God, so there cannot be “good” and “bad.” Chemicals can’t “suffer.”


      russell and duenes

      December 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

  2. I appreciate that you don’t delete my comments. I used to think that my comments were so carefully crafted that no one would have reason to delete them, but as I get older, my eyes and grip are not as good as they once were, so I often miss the mark.

    You are correct. Words such as “fair,” “good,” “suffer,” and “good deeds” have no meaning. It’s interesting to me that I watched a video of a crow caring for a baby kitten, and feeding the kitten and playing with the kitten. Obviously “good deeds,” etc. have no meaning to a crow or a kitten. Given a few million years of evolution, crows (among the most intelligent of birds) will develop abstract thinking and a more sophisticated language. Some “uber-crow” will say to the other crows, “Why the bleep are we feeding and playing with cats? Exterminate the cats! Steal their food!” Yet another crow will say back, “No, the great crow in the sky wants all animals to care for each other. That is why His chick sacrificed itself to an Eagle; so all animals (and birds) will live in peace and harmony with each other.” Anyway, watch the video. It’s cute and takes about two minutes to watch.

    By the way, you have not responded to my question about addictive proselytizing. I am sure you can stop trying to convince me of the truthiness of your belief system any time you really want to stop.


    December 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm

  3. Modesty, now that my semester has ended, I will respond to your “addictive proselytizing” comment. Look for it.


    russell and duenes

    December 21, 2011 at 6:16 am

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