Hosting a 2014 Hitchmas party? Let us know (date, place, link) and we'll list it here.

If Hitchens didn't exist, we wouldn't be able to invent him.

— Ian McEwan

HITCHENS ON CHRISTMAS

TREES—FINE, GOD—NOT SO MUCH

"The tree long predates Christmas. There's been a festival of light, in fact, and of trees (yule log trees—that's why they're all from Scandinavia) since the winter solstice was first thought of, long before any mythical event in the Middle East, a birth the date of which even the Bible cannot get right and repeatedly gets wrong.

That's fine. They can celebrate it all they like. It would be impossible to live in this country and not notice that there are a lot of Christians who like to celebrate the birthdate of the person they believe is their saviour. You cannot possibly escape it. But we don't want it to enjoy any public preference or subsidy and the Constitution says that we don't have to.

And the progress you're talking about ... this guy from Lynchberg [Mat Staver, Liberty Councel President] defines progress as teaching junk science to our children. leaving us the mockery of the world by pretending that we did not evolve. That's progress to him.

He's a front man for fat-faced reverend who applauded the destruction of the World Trade Center. Front man for Fallwell. Fallwell said the World Trade Center was brought down by God."

—Christopher Hitchens (Scarborough Country, MSNBC)

Hitchens comments on his performance on Q&A (C-SPAN):

"I think I left that one. I actually walked out on that one. Either have me on and have my view, or don't. But don't tell me what to say. Don't tell me what you think all the time. I actually corrected Mr. Scarborough, I improved him slightly, as a host and as a talk show person. He made an obvious mistake. Everyone gives themselves permission to behave absurdly when religion is mentioned and he's just another one of those who do."

Hitchmas churl

Sing it

On the first day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a rational outlook on life.

On the second day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label.

On the third day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
complete works of Christopher Hitchens, and a kiss.

On the fourth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a full set of irony bath products.

On the fifth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
front row tickets to gloat over the misery of others.

On the sixth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
Intelligent Design vs Evolution board game.

On the seventh day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
reasons to believe not to believe.

On the eigth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
an assortment of like-minded friends, and unlike-minded enemies.

On the ninth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
the right words, at the right time.

On the tenth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a Joseph Ratzinger pinata.

On the eleventh day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a hitchslap t-shirt and matching hip flask.

On the twelfth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
hope for humanity, but not all of it.

Closing remarks

Nobody ends better than Hitchens

When Socrates was sentenced to death for his philosophical investigations and for blasphemy for challenging the gods of the city, and he accepted his death, he did say, "Well, if we're lucky perhaps I'll be able to hold conversation with other great thinkers and philosophers and doubters too." In other words, that the discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble, what is pure and what is true could always go on.

Why is that important? Why would i like to do that? Because that's the only conversation worth having. And whether it goes on or not after I die, I don't know. But I do know it's the conversation I want to have while I'm still alive. Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can't give way, is an offer of something not worth having.

I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don't know anything like enough yet. That I haven't understood enough. That I can't know enough. That I'm always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn't have it any other way.

And I urge you to look at people who tell you at your age that you're dead till you believe as they do. What a terrible thing to be telling to children. That you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don't think of that as a gift. Think of is as a poisoned chalice. Push it aside, however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way.

—Christopher Hitchens (Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX, Nov 18 2010)

Happy Hitchmas: Santa's second home • Think for yourself