Evangelicals react to Christopher Hitchens’ death plus video clips of Hitchens debate (part 1)

DEBATE William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens Does God Exist 01

Below are some reactions of evangelical leaders to the news of Christopher Hitchens’ death:

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 | by Michael Foust

Author and speaker Christopher Hitchens, a leader of an aggressive form of atheism that eventually was dubbed “New Atheism,” died Thursday from pneumonia, a complication of his oesophageal cancer. He was 62.

Hitchens’ interests were varied and he wrote extensively about politics, but it was his outspoken, confrontational words on God’s existence that caught the attention of the Christian community. Hitchens and other members of the New Atheism movement — such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris — went beyond the centuries-old arguments against God and religion. Hitchens wasn’t simply arguing against God’s existence; he said that the world’s greatest problems were caused by religion. Society, he argued, should cleanse itself of all religious beliefs. Hitchens’ most famous book on the subject summed up his thoughts in the title: “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.”

He once said of families who raise their children to believe in God: “How can we ever know how many children had their psychological and physical lives irreparably maimed by the compulsory inculcation of faith?”

He wrote that religion was “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.”

Hitchens, who had dual British and U.S. citizenship, regularly took part in debates over God’s existence. For example, in November 2010 he debated Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor William Dembski and in April 2009 he sparred with Christian apologist William Lane Craig.

After Hitchens’ death, Christian leaders were mostly gracious in their response….

“When my dad died, Chris Hitchens had horrible things to say,” Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., wrote in a Tweet. “All I can say is that I’m praying for Mr. Hitchens’ family in their loss.”

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, said Hitchens was a friend.

“I loved & prayed for him constantly & grieve his loss. He knows the Truth now,” Warren wrote in a Tweet.

DEBATE William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens Does God Exist 02

Below is a reaction from a Christian about the news concerning the death of Christopher Hitchens:

December 15, 2011

Christopher Hitchens Has Died

I really had hope that he was just contrary enough to defy everyone and become a Christian before the end. So much so, that I was actually shocked when I heard he died. I was praying for him just this morning and thinking how strange it would be when one of the “Four Horsemen” was gone.

I’m not really sure why I have such affection for him, but I think it has something to do with what’s on the video Justin Taylor posted tonight after hearing the news. It’s a moment from Collision (a documentary about Hitchens’s series of debates with Doug Wilson) that I think of pretty much every time I think of Hitchens.

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.

Here’s a post I wrote a while back about the contribution Hitchens and the rest of the Four Horsemen have made to apologetics:

Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris are actually doing us a favor. The thing I appreciate about these men is that they don’t view religion as a relativistic, subjective enterprise. They take the claims of Christianity seriously by addressing them as truth claims, not preferences. In the first ten minutes of a video they’ve titled The Four Horsemen, they express frustration about the fact that people have made religion untouchable–that if a person tries to argue against the truthfulness of a religion, even the non-religious will shake a finger at him for criticizing it. I couldn’t agree more with their frustration. Religions make claims about reality, and we must examine them rigorously in that light, not talk about them with a wink and a nudge as if we’re comparing Middle-earth to Narnia. If Christianity is not worthy of attempts to prove it wrong, then it’s not worthy of my life or anyone else’s.

So let these men shake up our culture’s view of religion. Even though they’re arguing that Christianity is false, saying it’s false is still a step up from saying it’s “true for you” (which is really just a way of saying all religions are false). They’re bringing the discussion back up to a level of truth and falsehood, and that is where a discussion of reality needs to be.

Posted by Amy Hall on December 15, 2011 at 11:55 PM in AA:Amy, Apologetics | Permalink

DEBATE William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens Does God Exist 03

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