Christopher Hitchens, essayist, civil libertarian, and prominent New Atheist, died on December 15, 2011, after a battle with esophageal cancer.
I asked readers of this blog to pray for Hitchens last year, contrary to his stated wishes. Hitchens was an outstanding stylist and debater, quick on his feet and always ready with a bon mot. I had the opportunity to see him speak in Oxford in the spring of 2007 and later wrote a piece about the occasion that appeared in Chronicles magazine. I thought Hitchens was right on several things and wrong on many others. Unfortunately, he was wrong on the biggest question of all, as evidenced in the title of his book god is not Great.
If you’d like to see Hitchens debate religion, check out the DVD Collision, in which he meets his match on the Christian side in Douglas Wilson.
The American Conservative recently summarized Hitchens’s influence on Anglo-American letters in the context of a review of his most recent collection of essays. You can also read the tribute to him that appeared on the website of Vanity Fair, the publication for which Hitchens was a contributing editor for many years.
Christopher Hitchens’s Christian brother, Peter, is still with us. He is a fine journalist in his own right, and one with whom I more often agree. I’d like to express my condolences to him and to wish him many more years with which to grace us with his prose. Check out his book The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith.