Christopher Hitchens with Angel Wings
English-American author, essayist and journalist, Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) had a career over four decades. In 2005, a Prospect/Foreign Policy poll voted him the world's fifth top public intellectual. He appeared on talk shows and lecture circuits, and was columnist and literary critic for The Atlantic, Free Inquiry, The Nation, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, and World Affairs. He was a media fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was also an atheist.
On learning that Christopher Hitchens was dying of cancer, Reverend Rick Warren prayed that the atheist repent and see that the disease was visited on him by God for disbelief. "I loved and prayed for him constantly and grieve his loss," said Warren, then adding, "He knows the truth now."
Despite the prayers of Warren and other Christian evangelists, Hitchens never changed his views. As Art Levine put it, "The vulgarity of the idea that a vengeful deity would somehow stoop to inflicting a cancer" on Hitchens "boggles" the mind, especially because Hitchens caused his cancer by a "long, happy, and prodigious career as a smoker of cigarettes and drinker of spirits."
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, used Hitchens' unbelief and death "as an opportunity to stoke the fear of damnation among the credulous."
But for Hitchens, "visions of an afterlife were no more verifiable than any other bedtime tales designed to offer false hope to toddlers frightened of the dark. They are the ultimate embodiment of the solipsism at the heart of all religions. This infantilizing fiction comes in various guises, from orthodox religions with their fabricated consolations of fairytale heavens—whether it is the Islamic fanatic’s seventy-two celestial virgins or the Christian fantasia of winged angels."
"It is only a matter of time before some New Age or Christian publishing huckster sees the lucre to be made by publishing the spurious recantations of dead atheists and freethinkers. Expect him to conscript bogus mediums to fabricate tract after tract of Hume, Voltaire, Paine, Orwell, Mencken" in which the huckster drearily drones about the errors of their "godless ways."
In Hitchens' dying moments, George Orwell spoke to him, "This is all a delusion, my dear boy, but enjoy it while you can." More
Subscribe in a reader