Catholic Piers Morgan said it well in a tweet this morning:
"RIP Christopher Hitchens – greatest literary provocateur of my lifetime. Huge talent, huge loss.”
And from Vanity Fair (the place to read much about Hitchens today):
In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011
Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.
. . . “My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.
And the AFP is reporting this morning:
NEW DELHI — India’s Missionaries of Charity order said it would pray for British writer Christopher Hitchens’ soul, despite his aggressive campaign against its Nobel prize-winning founder, Mother Teresa.
"We will pray for him and for his family," spokeswoman Sister Christie told AFP on Friday, upon hearing of Hitchens’ death at the age of 62 after a battle against cancer of the oesophagus.
Asked whether Hitchens, an avowed atheist, would welcome such prayers, she declined to comment.
The iconoclastic Hitchens, who enjoyed great success as a columnist, was among the strongest critics of Roman Catholic saint-in-waiting Mother Teresa, calling her "a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud".
Pray for Christopher.
An avowed atheist… that hurts, doesn’t it. Unbelievers don’t know the frustration that Christians feel, knowing how different it could have been.
The Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” This verse makes me think that God Himself is on the other side of the chasm, waiting and anticipating each precious soul when it’s their time to die. He wants to see this transition for Himself, and be the first to welcome His spiritual children. People who have had near-death experiences often say that Jesus is there to meet them. What a relief to know this!
But… what if God wasn’t waiting for me? In fact, what if nobody was there. They say that hell is the absence of God. What if I died and I found myself unbelievably ALONE. And none of the comforts that God has so lavishly provided on this earth to provide for every need?
I don’t know if the typical description of hell is accurate. Some people say that the demons will torment us. How can that be right, when the demons will share in the same punishment that we do? I wonder if each will suffer in torment alone, and without comfort, until the spiritual light goes out.
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Spiritual death must be a far worse process than the kind of death we experience in our own flesh.
Atheists want to believe that death is merely sleep and annihilation, but the Bible makes it clear that it’s not that easy. Not by any means.
I do hope and pray that Mr. Hitchens made his peace with God in the past year.
Wikipedia already has his date of death and past tense phrasing. Amazing. Wikipedia has this to say about Christopher Hitchens:
Identified as a champion of the “New Atheism” movement, Hitchens described himself as an antitheist and a believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Hitchens said that a person “could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct,” but that “an antitheist, a term I’m trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there’s no evidence for such an assertion.” He argued that the concept of god or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization. He wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in his 2007 book God Is Not Great.
— I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Hitchens would like to add another chapter to his book, now.
Annie, I am unable to reconcile belief in a completely loving God with the belief that we must have been baptized, have confessed to some latest sin or accepted some formulaic belief to attain salvation. I think God knows the heart and mind and everyone.
“Father, forgive them,” says the agonizing Christ, “for they know not what they do.” Those words resonate with my beliefs. This is where I think the church and especially my church, the Anglican Communion, doesn’t have it quite right. Oh, well, they have only had 2000 years to work on it.
I didn’t like Hitchens’ highly aggressive antitheism. But he did argue for it out of what he believed was best for the world. I think he was wrong. But despite his insulting manner, I don’t think he wished or sought to do harm as he promulgated his worldview. I like to think he can still make peace with God and even if it is a struggle, he is hopefully with God — if indeed his heart was in the right place. I even sometimes think I like the Roman Catholic notion of purgatory for people like Hitchens. Should I light a candle for him?
Better light 3 candles Dan! …I can just picture Hitchens debating ernestly with the Lord, on why he should allow him into heaven ;-)
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.'” – C.S. Lewis.
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