The absence of redemption

Christopher Hitchens:

It will never be normal or safe to be Jewish. And I hope it never is.

Leo Strauss:

The Jewish people and their fate are the living witness for the absence of redemption. This, one could say, is the meaning of the chosen people; the Jews are chosen to prove the absence of redemption.

Brought to you me by YouTube. By an innocent romp through the web of Christopher Hitchens clips.

Though I know of Christopher Hitchen’s renown I haven’t read his writing or listened to his talks. Frankly, I’ve been scared. If he’s as good as everyone says, I have to be ready. But a 2.5 minute clip from Hitchens on Israel? I can do that. 30 seconds in he said of “Israel and the Jewish question” the first quote above, and then paraphrased Leo Strauss.

I felt punched. Physically punched. The absence of redemption, that’s what we are. Destined to wander and suffer and never be safe. Believing all the while that we’re the light, the chosen, that there’s reason and purpose to being hated or different or both. That there will be redemption, a redemption, one that vindicates everything we’ve endured at the hands of others and everything we’ve imposed on ourselves. May it be speedily in our days.

Without redemption, what is there?

In the clip before this one Hitchens responds to a girl in a Q+A session who asks why the world is so focused on Iran’s evilness versus Israel’s. Hitchens, “Does this (Israel’s guilt) in your mind make the destruction of human rights in Islamist countries okay? or not?”

He mentions that the Hezbollah flag (it was actually a banner at an event) has a mushroom cloud on it, with a threat to the Jews. So there’s knowing that many people want you dead – me dead – me, here in LA, with my first world problems and first world naivete and first world tolerance and liberalism towards all people. And there’s knowing that we’re the suckers, or the true believers.

Eli Weisel, as always, says it best:

Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out,
swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing…
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where He is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…”

  • Scared? Why are you scared of Hitchens? Granted that he’s an Atheist, but if what he says convinces you why would you be afraid of it? Afraid of the truth? Afraid of learning something new? Aren’t you looking for the truth? 

    • I’m susceptible to words, to anything that’s articulated well, whether or not it’s the truth. So it can be easier to discern the truth when I’m not blinded by presentation. Nevertheless, I’m not necessarily defending this mode of learning and I will read Hitchens if his work becomes relevant to what I’m studying/searching/contemplating.

  • I appreciate you honesty and I understand your point, but:

    1) Isn’t it a basic quality that a person is capable of discerning the truth from within eloquence? And by this I’m in no way implying that you don’t posses it rather the opposite; trying to ask if maybe when something is convincing it is not (merely) due to the clarity in which it was presented but rather due to the merit of the idea itself (which probably also makes it possible to present it in such eloquence).

    2) Aren’t all of you “studying/searching/contemplating” related to finding The (or the) truth?

    • If this is about Christopher Hitchens it’s simple to explain. He’s one of many, many authors, philosopher, atheists and believers and everything in between that I have yet to read. I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

      As to searching for The/the truth. No. I’m not looking for it because that would imply that I’m sure that it exists, and that is in itself questionable. All of this is quite apart from religion.

      While this is not something you asked, I’d like to clarify that I think religious thinking should be both explored and questioned just as would any other system of thought and shouldn’t be dismissed outright.

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