Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens has Died

"He didn't want to leave behind his rebellion against the One whom he saw as 'a celestial dictator,' and in truth, it’s literally a miracle that anyone does. Without God’s grace, none of us would see Him as He is." ~ Amy Hall, writer for Stand to Reason

When I woke up this morning and saw the news--Hitchens has died from pneumonia as a complication of his cancer--I was not sure how to really feel about it. In many respects Hitchens was a pain the neck for Christians as well as other religions. He was one of the "new atheists," an atheist evangelist, a man who made it his life's work to draw people away from belief in God. That would make it easy to hate him and to be happy when we hear about his death, but is that how we should react? Not at all.

In many ways, Hitchens and I are a lot alike. He firmly stood for what he believed; I stand for what I believe. He loved his family as best he could; I love my family as best I can. He had issues with rage; I have issues with rage. He was hated and loved by many; I am hated by many and like to think I am loved by some. His heart was rebellious against God; my heart is rebellious against God. In fact, the only substantial difference between Hitchens and I is that God replaced my heart of stone with one of flesh by His grace through faith that is not even my own, so I cannot boast (Eph. 2:8-9). We are a lot alike, Hitchens and I, and only by the grace of God is there any substantial difference. We should not be happy about his death. We should grieve that an image-bearer of God with a towering intellect was blinded by his heart-rebellion until his death. We should hope and pray that his death will be used by God to draw others to Himself and not drive them further away.

Pray... that brings up another thing that struck me this morning. I must confess that I never once, that I can remember, prayed for Hitchens. That is sad. In all the time I have spent debating his thought with people who followed him, I never once prayed for him. Hearing about his death this morning was a wake-up call. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matt. 5:44). Hitchens was never a personal enemy, but he was an ideological enemy. Hitchens never personally persecuted me, but he did persecute Christians. And I never prayed for him. Now, I will not go the route of saying, "What might have happened if I had prayed?" because God is sovereign, even over my sinful lack of prayer. However, this does remind me that I need to be praying for his peers like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett.

May the death of Hitchens cause all of us who are Christians to think, "There but for the grace of God, go I." May it also wake us up to pray for others like him. What would happen in the world if God changed Dawkins' heart and he became a Christian? Do not think it far-fetched to imagine. He changed me.

By His Grace,

1 comment:

Big Jen said...

Good post Taylor. FYI... You are not hated in our household.