Atheist Christopher Hitchens has died

The popular atheist and public debater and author of God Is Not Great has died of pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer. One who debated with Hitchens, Douglas Wilson, has written a piece on “How to think about the death of the outspoken atheist” over at the Christianity Today blog.

It is one of those quirky human realities that often atheists are more civil and “good” in the way they befriend others and live their lives than are people of faith. We ought not to be gleeful at the death of such a person as Hitchens, and, worse yet, judgemental of his ultimate destiny. Rather, as one of my seminary professors once told us—who himself liked to debate atheists—it is often better to be around atheists than Christians. Why? Because they keep us Christians honest in our faith, and make us think more deeply about the what and why of our beliefs when our beliefs are called into question. Moreover, most likely they are also able to see through our hypocrisy whenever our beliefs fail to match up with the way we live our lives.

Although I believe that most likely no matter how qualified and brilliant a debater you or I might become; I don’t think we can argue and debate a person into faith—only the work of God’s Spirit can give them the gift of faith. Why you or I have it and folks like Christopher Hitchens do not still remains a mystery. A mystery, by design, not to make the faithful puffed up with pride and superiority—rather, humbled, awed, and constantly grateful for the gift so generously given us beyond our deserving it.

About dimlamp
I am, among other things, a sojourner, a sinner-saint, a baptized, life-long learner and follower of Jesus, and Lutheran pastor. Dim Lamp: gwh photos:

6 Responses to Atheist Christopher Hitchens has died

  1. kirby olson says:

    Hitchens has a fervently believing brother. He is also a writer, but he’s not as bellicose. I liked Christopher Hitchens when he was beating up on hardcore Marxists, but not so much when he went after the likes of Mother Theresa. He seemed to care about logic to the exclusion of all else, which is a funny problem to have. I think it’s why Luther called reason the devil’s whore. It’s very seductive to think it can take care of all problems when of course it can’t build anything, it can only tear down.

    Still, I liked him when he tore down Marxists. I hate Marxists.

    Generally, I like people from other faiths, too, though.

  2. Amen. Faith truly is a gift to be treasured. Unfortunately, our human emotions get the best of us at times, causing our ‘righteous indignation’ to morph into something more sinful…

  3. Wallace Jans says:

    Truly the workings of salvation are a mystery. Thankfully God has chosen to reveal himself to us. It is also a wise statement that we should not judge Christopher Hitchens. That is God’s sole right.

  4. Kirby Olson says:

    God is great. Hitchens? Not so much.

  5. dimlamp says:

    Kirby, Hal, & Wallace,

    Thanks for sharing your comments.

    Kirby, with your last comment, I’d agree, as Jesus himself said not even he was good, only God the Father was. Although it is a bit of a mystery that Jesus said he himself was not good, since he was without sin, according the the NT witness. Yet, I am certain God was active in the life of Christopher Hitchens whether he knew or admitted it or not.

  6. jdhanson says:

    hitchens died? where was i? i don’t know anything anymore? anyway we have to think about the capacity for faith…could it be that some are indisposed to it? my sense is that if many many people have opted for a life of faith then the capacity is universal…something inherent in being human…to resist it is an odd western european preoccupation…i tend to think pascal’s wager is still relevant…in an interview i heard hitchens go off on a dismissal rebuttal on the audacity of such a thing when i found it interesting that in fact pascal says…once you’ve taken up the wager you must wager…that is part of the wager…to even consider it is to step into the betting circle…thus the interview left me with this amazing feeling that hitchens was in the wager and he was completely naive…striking contrast for soemone so bold..who knows…maybe mother theresa and christopher are sipping tea in heaven jh

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