On the Death of Christopher Hitchens
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Christopher Hitchens, outspoken atheist and journalist, died of complications with esophageal cancer on Thursday, December 15, 2011. In some instances, death is not necessarily an event to be mourned. Psalm 116:15 explains: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” The apostle Paul insisted that it was better for him to die and be with Christ than to continue his earthly life (Philippians 1:23). In other cases, however, death is profoundly sad. Such is the case with the passing of Christopher Hitchens. A veil of immense sadness drapes itself over his death due to the fact that he was an evil man who chose to fight against his Creator. These words afford no pleasure to the Christian, and while I express my deepest sympathy to the family at their immense loss, the world needs to be reminded that Hitchens was not a hero in any shape, form, or fashion. He was a wicked man who wasted his God-given life to fight against truth, and he should be remembered as such.
Writing this article about a month after his death, I have been afforded the opportunity to see what others have written about his life. Most have praised his superior intellect, quick wit, and willingness to enter into any number of political, governmental, or religious frays. His fellow atheist, Richard Dawkins, suggested that he might have been “the finest orator of our time” and a “valiant fighter against all tyrants including God” (“Christopher Hitchens…,” 2011). Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, who debated Hitchens on religion, said: “He was an extraordinary, compelling and colourful human being whom it was a privilege to know” (2011). Such comments by Blair, Dawkins, and so many others attempt to throw a favorable light on Hitchens’ life. But that light turns a sickening color when it shines on Hitchens’ real impact on society and the devastating harm that he did.
Hitchens dedicated a massive amount of his time and energy to spreading the lie that there is no God, and that the God depicted in the Bible is a cruel tyrant. He ranted and raved about God’s alleged moral inconsistency, and he accused the God of the Bible of having a “sick mind” (Hitchens, 2007, p. 219). Hitchens advocated the murder of unborn children in the form of abortion as a check on population growth (2007, p. 222). Furthermore, he made a complete mockery of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (2007, pp. 208-210). He promoted sexual promiscuity and tacitly approved of other deviant sexual practices such as homosexuality and adultery (2007, pp. 40, 54). His writings against Christianity were filled with contradictions, inaccuracies, and misrepresentations of the truth. Christopher Hitchens ranked among the highest eschelons of enemies of truth.
In our sentimental, 21st-century, pluralistic society we are pressured to tone down such speech and find something good and laudable to commend in the life of Hitchens. We should not yield to such pressure, but we should heed the words of Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Isaiah 5:20-22). Hitchens was an evil man who lived a life in defiance of his Creator, and who used his divinely bestowed wit to bite the heavenly hand that sustained his existence. Neither God, nor any faithful Christian, has any delight or pleasure in the passing of such a man (Ezekiel 18:23). It was God’s desire that Hitchens repent of his rebellion and turn to the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). But Hitchens would not do so. Is it not amazing that for all Hitchens did to destroy belief in God, our loving, heavenly Father would have still accepted Hitchens as His child if Hitchens would have repented and turned to Him (Acts 2:36-47)? But Hitchens would have none of it. As one writer said: “[H]e maintained his devout atheism after being diagnosed with cancer” (2011). How sad. How very profoundly, utterly, tragically sad. What a waste.
“Christopher Hitchens Dies at 62 After Suffering Cancer” (2011), BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16212418.
Hitchens, Christopher (2007), god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: Twelve).