3 responses to “Symbolic immortality and atheism. Part 2 of ‘The consequences of Christopher Hitchens’ unfortunate illness.’

  1. Jesus seems to have done very well in this department, since he is the most famous and most remembered person in history. Belief in God certainly helped him would’nt you say? Also, most people are forgotten over time. Hitchens will be forgotten as well. His is not a household name now, nor will it ever be. No one I know has heard of him. he is cerrtainly not talked about in conversations. I came across his name only recently because I was googling ‘Atheists’. I suppose we all want to be remembered. Who would’nt? But saddly, except for a rare few, all of us will not be remembered, because the next ones that come along will be less concerned about remembering us than they will be in trying to be remembered themselves. Don’t you agree?

  2. @Dave

    I would disagree with your assertion that Jesus is “the most famous and most remembered person in history.” While I think that you would be hard-pressed to find people in Western society that have not heard of Jesus, I think that he is not remembered insofar as people actively think of him as a human doing human deeds. You can only be “remembered” by those who have physically experienced you, which is very different than thinking of what you have been told of a person. I will avoid diving into an argument in metaphysics, because that really is subject to everyone’s own interpretation of any number of issues.

    I would also like to point out that, more than likely, as many people have heard of Adolf Hitler as Jesus Christ. You would again be hard-pressed to find a person who has heard of one of them that hasn’t heard of the other. In this sense, I believe that your line applies to Hitler as well:

    Belief in God certainly helped him would’nt [sic] you say?

    While it is cliche and, I will admit, extremely topical to make that comparison, I believe that it is extremely valid in terms of this debate, in that the issue here is framed in the notions of remembrance and fame.

    As you stated here:
    I suppose we all want to be remembered. Who would’nt [sic]? But saddly [sic], except for a rare few, all of us will not be remembered, because the next ones that come along will be less concerned about remembering us than they will be in trying to be remembered themselves. Don’t you agree?

    I agree with you there, but not in the somewhat implicit assumption that such is not the case now. I think that, to varying degrees, most people would like to be remembered, although history is a very plastic and fickle thing. The ways and reasons for why different people are famous and/or remembered are very much at the twisting whims of subsequent generations, far more than they are of the individuals themselves.

  3. Adam K Fetterman

    “Jesus seems to have done very well in this department, since he is the most famous and most remembered person in history. Belief in God certainly helped him would’nt you say?”

    Sure. Although, I think some would argue with your claim about him being the most remembered and I don’t think it is necessarily his “belief in God” that helped him in his fame. I actually don’t see how any of this is relevant. This is about a need for symbolic immortality. The point of the post is that you do not need to believe in a god to strive for symbolic immortality. It is human nature.

    “Also, most people are forgotten over time. Hitchens will be forgotten as well.”

    Indeed most are forgotten, but it does not matter how many people remember you, but that someone remembers you or the thought someone remembers you. It can also just being a part of something important. For example, if you think your brand of religion is very important, you may feel that you are a part of that enduring entity forever, in a symbolic way.

    “His is not a household name now, nor will it ever be. No one I know has heard of him.”

    He may not be a household name for a lot of people, but for others, he is. My dad has no clue who Rhianna is, but that is because he doesn’t listen to pop music. Just because you may not know who someone is yourself, doesn’t mean they aren’t important or famous.

    “he is cerrtainly not talked about in conversations.”

    He is talked about in many conversations, which is why we are talking about him now, and probably how you came about his name on google.

    “because the next ones that come along will be less concerned about remembering us than they will be in trying to be remembered themselves. Don’t you agree?”

    I would agree with this statement. However, as I said, it is not that everyone or even lots of people remember you. It is the thought that someone may remember you. And it is also about being a part of something that will endure.

    Thanks for the comment Dave!

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