The following is an insightful article by Dr. Del Tackett on the recent death of outspoken atheist and social critic Christopher Hitchens. RMF
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” Ezek 33:11
On December 15, 2011, one of the most vocal opponents of Christianity walked through the door that separates mortal life from the immortal.
Christopher Hitchens book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” was one of many openly hostile atheistic books that have become popular in recent years. “Hitch” as he was called, was one of the champions of the “New Atheism” although he personally tagged himself as an “antitheist” because an atheist, as he saw it, could deny God but wish he were wrong, whereas an antitheist is one who delights in finding no evidence for Him.
Hitch stated that the Bible “was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.”
He didn’t soften or hide his hostility to religion:
“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”
“Organised religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.”
Dr. Mark Roberts analyzed Hitchen’s book “God is Not Great” and found that just in the areas where Hitch made truth claims about the New Testament (all derogatory), there were 15 errors and 16 distortions. For example, his claim that the four gospels couldn’t agree on anything of importance is blatantly false by even the most hostile of literary critic’s examination.
But this isn’t surprising in many ways. Hitch had a deep hostility toward religion and hostility can cloud observations and stimulate gross overstatements and false charges. It would be very good for Christians to keep this in mind when writers hostile to a biblical wordview speak or write. The same goes for most of the media.
It should also temper us when we write about our own opponents.
It may surprise people that one of my favorite quotes actually comes from Hitch:
“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” The Portable Atheist
That won’t win me any friends with cat-people, but I think it is actually quite a good observation of the stark difference between cats and dogs!
This is also the man who deeply loved his daughters and said that he would calmly and unquestionably lay down his life for them.
He also spoke of death as “being certain” and of life as “there is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”
When Hitch announced that he had esophageal cancer in 2010, much to his surprise, he was deluged with support and prayer from religious people. That should warm your heart. It did mine.
Because we see the worth of every human being, even those who openly deny and hate the One we love.
Because we do not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, because neither does our God, even though Hitch hated Him.
Because that is what we once were.
That should drive our perspective. Our Book demands it.
“Remind the people…to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:1-5