Dec 16, 2011
neil

How to think about the death of an outspoken atheist

Christopher Hitchens died yesterday on the same day as I was reading his last piece of journalist written for Vanity Fair.

Always controversial and an outspoken atheist his ideas have impacted and infuriated many.

His entry in Wikipedia notes that he was included in ‘The Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll’ The poll ‘was conducted in November 2005 and June 2008 by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (US) on the basis of responding readers’ ballot. The objective was to determine the 100 most important public intellectuals who are still alive and active in public life.’

I remember watching the documentary Collision which followed Christopher Hitchens (author of God is not great) and Doug Wilson as they debated ‘Is God good for the world?‘.  It’s not a particularly good documentary in some senses but what you can’t miss as you do watch it is what a friendly relationship they enjoyed.

In an article in Christianity Today on the death of Hitchens Wilson writes ‘During the time we spent together, he never said an unkind thing to me—except on stage, up in front of everybody. After doing this, he didn’t wink at me, but he might as well have.’

As we reflect on the death of a godless man we remember the word of the Lord in Ezekiel:

‘Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?’

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