George Michalopulos sent this piece along that offers a prayer for Christopher Hitchens, one of the more well known “New Atheists.” I’m not a Hitchens basher although I’m a Hitchens critic, (i.e.: How can anyone really believe that Troskyite Marxism is defensible?). I’ve listened to some of the debates between Hitchens and Dinesh D’Souza and, while D’Souza offers an adequate defense of Christianity, I’m not sure the apologetics of the pre-post-Christian age work that well anymore. More on this some other time. Hitchens’ over-reliance on the philosophical materialism of Marx, Freud and Darwin, is not sufficient either, but I believe that even in his disparagement of Christianity, he has not embraced the darkness of nihilism. Both men seem to be arguing for a cultural certainty that may no longer exist. In any case, I agree with the author of the piece: Hitchens may be someone to pray for. God is merciful after all.
I know he doesn’t want me to and I know he thinks it is useless but, Christopher Hitchens, I am praying for you.
Christopher Hitchens can be smart, acerbic, funny, mean, insightful, and thick. He defends Western Civilization while, via his outspoken atheism, semantically chipping away at the Christian pillars that support it. In short, Christopher Hitchens is a frustrating person. Christopher Hitchens is also very sick. He writes…
I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me. I regret having had to cancel so many engagements at such short notice.
There are no good cancers to have, but if you were forced to make a list of ‘good’ cancers to have, esophageal cancer would not be on the list.
I know he doesn’t want them, but he needs our prayers.
It is understandable that many have seen Hitchens as the enemy, a leading proponent of a proud and energetic atheism. He has often used his considerable wit to mock religion and in particular Christianity. In doing so, he has been an intellectual enabler of many non-intellectuals helping them to be grossly comfortable with their own impiety. These are not good things.
But Christopher Hitchens is not the enemy. God created him because He loves him. We need to love him too. We should continue to oppose his wrongheaded and destructive ideas at every turn using our gifts, to whatever degree we have been granted them, to undo what Hitchens has done with his.
But we can and should do something more. Something that he can’t or rather won’t do. We can pray for him. And pray for him some more. Let’s love him as much as we can. Let’s us love him with a patient unrequited love.
For him I will pray for very different things.
I pray for his healing.
I pray for his soul.
I pray he doesn’t suffer much while knowing suffering is unavoidable.
I pray that that he realizes the redemptive power of suffering when united with the suffering of our Lord.
I pray that in whatever times he has left, and I pray that is a long time, that he puts his myriad gifts into the service of the Lord.
I pray that he realizes the love of the God who created him.
I must confess that I smile when I ponder what a wonderful Christian Hitchens would make if ever he were to believe. I hope he doesn’t take offense at that. I often wonder the same thing about myself.