Earlier this year I called Christopher Hitchens a “faith bully.” He bullied people with his thoughts and words for decades. Yesterday, Hitchens died. Early reports say the cause was pneumonia, a complication of cancer of the esophagus.
I heard the news this morning and feel very sad about Hitchens death. Christopher and I had much in common. We were both journalists and the same age (he was a year younger). We both became atheists and saw the world through similar glasses. I look at Christopher Hitchens and think, “there but for the Grace of God go I.”
I was also a faith bully and have never thought myself any better than Hitchens, or Dawkins, or Russell. I know the power of their ideas, their words, and presence. Bertrand Russell’s writings had a profound impact on me as a teenager and young adult. I made his thoughts my thoughts, his beliefs my beliefs. In the same way, a new generation of atheists have looked up to Christopher Hitchens and cheered as he attacked Christianity with his anger and rage.
I believe in the possibility that anyone, even the angriest atheist, can be saved. I’ve often said that if God could save me, He could save anybody. I still believe that, but am saddened when someone who knew the truth suppressed it to the end. How many times did Christopher Hitchens hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Hundreds of times? Thousands of times? He had so many chances.
I am not happy that Christopher Hitchens is dead. He’s not here to rail against Christ, but his anger and hate will be repeated in the minds and mouths of others who will take up his cause. As long as Christopher was alive, I thought, there was a chance for him to change. He said it wouldn’t happen and, as far as we know, it didn’t. He died an atheist. According to the Word of God that he hated, Christopher Hitchens will stand before God “without defense.” Those words are frightening to consider. I am so thankful to God that Jesus Christ is my Advocate and Defender.
Christopher Hitchens did not live in a vacuum. He left behind a wife, children, and many friends. Christians are a people of compassion because our God is a God of great compassion. I feel for the loss Hitchens’ family and friends are feeling today. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Here are the thoughts of Peter Hitchens, Christopher’s brother.
Other reflections from Christians, especially those involved in Christian apologetics:
- Tom Gilson, On the Passing of Christopher Hitchens
- Rob Lundberg, The Passing of One of the “Four Horsemen”
- Dr. Jay Wile, Christopher Hitchens Is Dead
- Christianity Today, Christopher Hitchens Has Died, Doug Wilson Reflects
- Carson Weitnauer, Responding to Hitchens’ Passing
- The Aristophrenium, Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)
- James White, Thoughts on the Death of Christopher Hitchens (video)
In Christ’s Love and Grace,