Hitchens Won’t Be Attending Hitchens Prayer Day

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Shannon Stapleton / REUTERS

Much to the disappointment of those praying for him, best-selling author and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens does not plan on participating in today’s designated “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day.”

As it turns out Hitchens, whose 2007 book “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” says he’s fine with people who are actually praying for him, or those who want him to have a divine epiphany and jubilantly find religion, and thus a cure for the esophageal cancer that has stricken him. But he is not willing to participate, apart from him not believing in God, because he doesn’t feel it will do him any good.

“I’m perfectly sure that there is nothing to be gained from it in point of my health, but perhaps I shouldn’t even say that,” he told the Associated Press. “If it would do something for my morale possibly it would do something for my health. We all know that morale is an element in recovery,” he said. “But incantations, I don’t think, have any effect on the material world.”

Hitchens has been taking chemotherapy treatments, which began shortly after his diagnosis earlier this summer. The prayers, he says,  are okay even if he feels they hold no material effect on his health.

“I say it’s fine by me, I think of it as a nice gesture. And it may well make them feel better, which is a good thing in itself.”