Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Foxhole Question

He may have no faith, but the man certainly has talent. Christopher Hitchens' Vanity Fair piece, "Topic of Cancer," addresses the personal disaster of the disease with articulate description, wry humor, and his incomparable style. Famous as much for his strident atheism as his elegant writing, Hitchens deals with the prospect of a slow, painful death with an impressive practicality and matter-of-fact courage.

As Hitchens faces his own mortality and journeys through his sad illness, the old question springs to mind: Are there any atheists in foxholes? It's a hard question to ask, and an even harder one to answer.

In the end, probably he will be the only one who knows the answer. A foxhole is a lonely place.