Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Memorium: Christopher Hitchens 1949 - 2011

Blogging has been tough the last couple weeks as the Christmas holiday means a lot of extra work for me. what you may have heard I am not, in fact, Santa Claus.

But the passing of Christopher Hitchens of esophageal cancer this week has lit a fire under me so to speak as I will most certainly miss his wit, his humor, and yes, his damn near mastery of the English language.

But wait Steve you ask,  "how can you be a fan of such a vocal Atheist?" 

Let me put it this way...other prominent (and vocal) atheists, namely Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, I find to be rather shrill and boring.  Hitchens was certainly not shrill, and he was never boring.  (Ok, admitedly he could be boorish at times...but that was the Scotch :)

I can easily imagine Harris & Dawkins passing away one day and rocking up to the Pearly Gates only to be overcome with distress at the Kingdom of Heaven's mere existence.  Not unlike the Dwarves in C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle who still refuse to believe in Aslan even when it is no longer an issue of faith. 

By contrast one can imagine Hitchens seeing Heaven's gate and smiling with a bit of a wink, "Oh, Good Lord, my brother was right on that one now wasn't he...oh well, right then... um Lord, no hard feelings eh?  The bar's still open you say?...Good, can one of the angel's bring me a Scotch...I rather think I'll be needing one right about now..."

I've been following Hitchens for years.  Did I always agree with him?  Certainly not  (he was in favor of abolishing the British Monarchy after all which many of you know would NOT be my position.)

..but I did appreciate his well thought out and articulated views. He forced me to examine my own beliefs in a number of areas...(Thankfully,  I still happened to be right in all my positions... but he forced me to examine them just the same :)

I also appreciated Hitchens in that you could never put him in a "neat" box.  Nearly everyone I know, if you tell me some viewpoint they have, I will be able to guess with almost near certainty their view on many other areas. 

Not so with Christopher Hitchens.  Its one thing to despise Henry Kissinger...anyone can do that.  But to despise Henry Kissinger and Mother Teresa that...that..takes chutzpah!  One moment he is denouncing God and organized religion and in the same debate is praising George W. Bush for his pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. Anyone who can single handly tick off Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, AND Conservatives in the same always going to get a bit of applause and a "Good show ol' boy" from me.

Yes, Christopher, you will be missed.  I do hope you are in heaven as I for one, look forward to sharing an evening with you of stout lager, cigars, and good conversation.


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