I once actually was a fan of his. Not that I ever read any of his books, but he was a regular token intellectual on the talk show circuit a generation back and I enjoyed listing to him express his thoughts in an intelligent and often biting style. This was all before I became a believer, so as he was a confirmed atheist, and although I have not seen or heard him in many years, I am sure that now I would disagree with many things he would have said.
Here, from one report of his death...
...age and illness did not bring Vidal closer to God. Wheelchair-bound in his 80s and saddened by the death of Austen [his former live-in companion, JK] and many peers and close friends, the author still looked to no existence beyond this one.
"Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy's edge," he once wrote, "all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. "Because there is nothing else. No thing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all."There is a time to die for all of us, and either there is something for us after that time or there is not.
It brings to mind what is known as 'Pascal's Wager'. It is not a proof for the existence of God, but it is an interesting thought. It might be expressed something like this:
Either God exists or He doesn't. Upon death, then,RIP Gore Vidal. It was interesting having you around. In any case, either you are now no longer an atheist, or you are now no longer; period.
- If God does not exist, but you erroneously believed in God, you lose nothing.
- If He does exist and you correctly believed in Him, you gain everything (eternal life).
- If God does not exist and you disbelieved in Him, you gain nothing (death ends all),
- But if He does exist and you disbelieved in Him, you lose everything (eternal damnation).