Christopher Hitchens and Cancer |

TBC Staff

Christopher Hitchens welcomes your encouragement, even though it makes him feel worse [Excerpts]

Christopher Hitchens' cancer prognosis (not good) has drawn support from both sides of the religious world: the Christians who are praying for him to be healed and his loyal fans from the new atheism movement that he's helped pioneer.

Despite dismissing the messages sent to a "deaf heaven" on Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day last month, the author appreciates the support... as long as you don't expect him to convert.

"The expressions of solidarity are very welcome and very touching to me, whatever form they take," Hitchens said during a visit to Washington Tuesday, in between treatments for cancer in his esophagus, lungs and lymph nodes.

He referenced a study about how intercessory prayer makes some dying patients feel worse, causing them to feel guilty about their condition. Even non-religious well-wishes are doing that to him now.

"I get a lot of secular encouragement. 'Cancer picked the wrong foe'... I get a lot of that, and it does give me the blues," he said.

His unbelief remains unshaken, despite starting chemotherapy for his spreading cancer (thought to be life-threatening) in June.

"I don't think my own tenor has changed," said Hitchens. "My contempt for the forced consultation of religion has increased now that I know I don't have very long to live."