Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Atheist Prepares to Meet God

Christopher Hitchens has been dubbed one of the “new” atheists along with the likes of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. These three have become the new face of atheism in recent years all authoring various books. Hitchens is most notable for his 2009 work, God is Not Dead: How Religion Poisons Everything.

A year and a half later, Hitchens is preparing to meet the God he does not believe in because his body is poisoned by cancer. The effects of esophageal cancer and chemotherapy have ravaged his body. Weak and frail, Hitchens is still resolute, "'Thanks but no thanks' is the reply to those who want me to convert and recognize a divinity or deity." No death bed conversions here. He has resigned himself to his coming death it seems.

Monday, was informally proclaimed “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day.” I did. Hitchens, himself, did not. He chose not to participate by bowing his head on the day set aside for him. Nevertheless, he seemed to be genuinely touched by those who did. "I say it's fine by me, I think of it as a nice gesture. And it may well make them feel better, which is a good thing in itself," says Hitchens. This is actually a startling statement from the man who claims in the subtitle of his own book that Religion Poisons Everything. Actually, sin is what has poisoned everything. I think that most people completely miss the level to which sin has altered our existence on this planet. The very presence of a lock on your door, something that we view as “normal”, is evidence of sin’s impact globally. The Bible tells us that the natural world itself has been impacted by our sin. And that means that ultimately sin is behind the very cancer from which Hitchens is suffering. Oh, I’m not saying that if a person sins they will get cancer. I am talking about something much more foundational, that sin has so disrupted the order of creation that diseases like cancer are now among us when, in a sinless world, a world that God intended for us, there would be no sin. This is the world, a sinless world, that God promises for those who trust in Christ. We Christians call this eternal life. The concept of eternity is something that Christopher Hitchens is also about to become intimately acquainted with as well. Not only will he be convinced that there is a God, but he will have an eternity to contemplate his separation from that God. I do not revel in this nor wish it upon Hitchens. And as long as he breathes it is still not too late for him. But the clock is ticking and time is running out.

No comments: