I don't pay attention to a lot of things: modern atheists, young earth creationists, and battles over law vs grace, at least not any more. But Claude Mariottini has noted in a post an essay by Christopher Hitchens that is very touching. The essay quotes some of my favorite authors.
Illness - it has hit me in various ways. I do a specialty on brain damage. God knows me very well. There are huge issues with governance and law and permissions that we have not solved in our terrorizing biases towards each other. I do not hide from the Invisible. Hitchens would say there was no Invisible to hide from. But I read Bertrand Russell when I was a child and I expect Hitchens has nothing to add to his arguments. Arguments are futile.
Russell was right. And so are lots of Christians, Jews, and Moslems, and others too. So what. Is there a point at which the distraction of being right will give way to the joy of being loved?
I also love Britten and Auden and Eliot - which some would not allow for 'religious reasons' whatever that phrase means. No, Beloved, law comes out of love and policy out of the engagement in faithfulness with the Invisible. This is the one who shows you what you see and what you have not seen. This is the one whom you hear in a form of words without sound.
Illness - it appears at the end of Book 1 in the psalms. (Perhaps.) They say psalm 38 is about illness.
there is no completeness in my flesh (verse 4)
my lovers and my friends stand apart from my contagion
and my family distant they stand (verse 12)But I think it is more about presence in guilt and memory.
Psalm 39 has a touch of illness too
with corrections of iniquity
you chasten a human
and its attractiveness dissolves like a moth
surely every earthling is futilityAs an atheist, this conclusion might be comforting.
But the last verse is better
look at me
and I will smile before I go
and there is no mePsalm 41 too has a touch of illness
יְהוָה will confirm him on a bed of sorrow
all his couch you change in his illness
and enemies that wish for the demise of the ill (careful now)
my enemies say evil of me
when will he die and his name perish?
Prufrock's whispering may be in psalm 41
together against me they whisper
all those hating me against me
they plan evil for me
A worthless thing is poured out in him
and which he lies in
he will not rise up againBut it does not end on that note
but you יְהוָה
have mercy on
me him and raise me him up
Amen and Amen