December 16th, 2011
04:45 PM ET
My Take: An evangelical remembers his friend Hitchens
Editor's note: Larry Alex Taunton is the founder and executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation. This article is adapted from his book “The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief.”
By Larry Alex Taunton, Special to CNN
(CNN)– I first met Christopher Hitchens at the Edinburgh International Festival. We were both there for the same event, and foremost in my mind was the sort of man I would meet.
A journalist and polemicist, his reputation as a critic of religion, politics, Britain's royal family, and, well, just about everything else was unparalleled. As an evangelical, I was certain that he would hate me.
When the expected knock came at my hotel room door, I braced for the fire-breather who surely stood on the other side of it. With trepidation, I opened it and he burst forth into my room. Wheeling on me, he began the conversation as if it was the continuance of some earlier encounter:
“The Archbishop of Canterbury has effectively endorsed the adoption of Sharia law. Can you believe that? Whatever happened to a Church of England that believed in something?” He alternated between sips of his Johnnie Walker and steady tugs on a cigarette.
My eyebrows shot up. “‘Believed in something?’ Why, Christopher, you sound nostalgic for a church that actually took the Bible seriously.”
He considered me for a moment and smiled. “Indeed. Perhaps I do.”
There was never a formal introduction. There was no need for one. From that moment, I knew that I liked him. We immediately discovered that we had much in common. We were descendants of martial traditions; we loved literature and history; we enjoyed lively discussion with people who didn’t take opposition to a given opinion personally; and we both found small talk boring.
Over the next few years, we would meet irregularly. The location was invariably expensive, a Ritz Carlton or a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. He disliked cheap restaurants and cheap liquor. In his view, plastic menus were indicative of bad food. I never ate so well as when I was with Hitch.
More than bad food, however, he disliked unintelligent conversation. “What do you think about gay marriage?” He didn’t wait for a response. “I don’t get it. I really don’t. It’s like wanting the worst of both worlds.” He drank deeply of his whiskey. “I mean, if I was gay, I would console myself by saying, ‘Well, I’m gay, but at least I don’t have to get married.’” That was classic Hitch. Witty. Provocative. Unpredictable.
Calling him on his cell one day, he sounded like he was flat on his back. Breathing heavily, there was desperation in his voice.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, anticipating some tragedy.
“Only minutes ago, I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.” He was almost gasping.
I didn’t know what to say. No one ever does in such moments, so we resort to meaningless stock phrases like, “I’m sorry.” Instead, I just groaned. I will never forget his response:
“I had plans for the next decade of my life. I think I should cancel them.”
He asked me to keep the matter private until he could tell his family and make the news public. Hesitatingly, I told him that while I knew that he did not believe in such things, I would pray for him. He seemed genuinely moved by the thought.
“We are still on for our event in Birmingham, right?” He asked. I was stunned. Sensing my surprise, he continued. “I have made a commitment,” he insisted. “Besides, what else am I going to do? I can’t just sit around waiting to die.”
Hitchens brothers debate if civilization can survive without God
As time approached, he suggested a road trip from his D.C. apartment to my home in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Flying has become a humiliating experience, don’t you think?” He said. “Besides, I haven’t taken a road trip in 20 years and it will give us a chance to talk and for me to finally take you up on your challenge.”
Arriving in Washington some five months after his diagnosis, I was shocked by his appearance. Heavy doses of chemotherapy had left him emaciated, and hairless but for his eyelashes. His clothes hung off of him as though he were a boy wearing a man’s garments. He was, nonetheless, looking forward to our journey, having packed a picnic lunch and, predictably, enough Johnnie Walker for a battalion. After breakfast with his lovely wife, Carol, and his sweet daughter, Antonia, Hitch and I headed south on an eleven-hour road trip.
“Have you a copy of Saint John with you?” He asked with a smile. “If not, you know I do actually have one.” This was a reference to my challenge of two years before: a joint study of the Gospel of John. It was my assertion that he had never really read the Bible, but only cherry-picked it.
“Not necessary.” I was smiling, too. “I brought mine.”
A few hours later we were wending our way through the Shenandoah Valley on a beautiful fall morning. As I drove, Hitch read aloud from the first chapter of John’s Gospel. We then discussed its meaning. No cameras, no microphones, no audience. And that always made for better conversation with Hitch. When he referenced our journey in a televised debate with David Berlinski the next day, various media representatives descended on me to ask about our “argument.” When I said that we didn’t really argue, they lost interest.
But that was the truth. It was a civilized, rational discussion. I did my best to move through the prologue verse by verse, and Christopher asked thoughtful questions. That was it.
A bit put off by how the Berlinski event had played out, Hitch suggested we debate one another. Friend though he was, I knew that Hitch could be a savage debater. More than once I had chaired such engagements where Hitch went after his opponents remorselessly.
Hence, I was more than a bit anxious. Here he was, a celebrated public intellectual, an Oxonian, and bestselling author, and that is to say nothing of that Richard Burton-like, aristocratic, English-accented baritone. That always added a few I.Q. points in the minds of people. With hesitation, I agreed.
We met in Billings, Montana. Hitch had once told me that Montana was the only state he had never been in. I decided to complete his tour of the contiguous United States and arranged for the two of us to meet there. Before the debate, a local television station sent a camera crew over to interview us.
When he was asked what he thought of me, a Christian, and an evangelical at that, Hitch replied: “If everyone in the United States had the same qualities of loyalty and care and concern for others that Larry Taunton had, we'd be living in a much better society than we do.”
I was moved. Stunned, really. As we left, I told him that I really appreciated the gracious remark.
“I meant it and have been waiting for an opportunity to say it.”
Later that night we met one another in rhetorical combat. The hall was full. Christopher, not I, was of course the real attraction. He was at the peak of his fame. His fans had traveled near and far to see him demolish another Christian. Overall, it was a hard-fought but friendly affair. Unknown to the audience were the inside jokes. When I told a little story from our road trip, he loved it.
The debate over, I crossed the stage to shake Christopher’s hand. “You were quite good tonight,” he said with a charming smile as he accepted my proffered hand. “I think they enjoyed us.”
“You were gentle with me,” I said as we turned to walk off the stage.
He shook his head. “Oh, I held nothing back.” He then surveyed the auditorium that still pulsed with energy. “We are still having dinner?” he asked.
After a quick cigarette on the sidewalk near the backstage door, he went back inside to meet his fans and sign their books.
There was something macabre about it all. I had the unsettling feeling that these weren’t people who cared about him in the least. Instead, they seemed like a bunch of groupies who wanted to have a photo taken with a famous but dying man, so that one day they could show it to their buddies and say, “I knew him before he died.” It was a sad spectacle.
Turning away, I entered the foyer, where 30 or so Christians greeted me excitedly. Mostly students, they were encouraged by what had happened onstage that night. Someone had spoken for them, and it had put a bounce in their step. One young man told me that he had been close to abandoning his faith, but that the debate had restored his confidence in the truth of the gospel. Another student said that she saw how she could use some of the same arguments. It is a daunting task, really, debating someone of Hitchens' intellect and experience, but if this cheery gathering of believers thought I had done well, then all of the preparation and expense had been worth it.
The next day, the Fixed Point Foundation staff piled into a Suburban and headed for Yellowstone National Park. Christopher and I followed behind in a rented pick-up truck. Accompanied by Simon & Garfunkel (his choice), we drove through the park at a leisurely pace and enjoyed the grandeur of it all.
The second chapter of John’s Gospel was on the agenda: The wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine. “That is my favorite miracle,” Hitch quipped.
Lunching at a roadside grill, he regaled our staff with stories. Afterwards, he was in high spirits.
“That’s quite a - how shall I put it? A clan? - team that you’ve got there,” he said, watching the teenage members of our group clamber into the big Chevrolet.
“Yes, it is,” I said, starting the truck. “They enjoyed your stories.”
“I enjoy them.” He reclined his seat and we were off again. “Shall we do all of the national parks?”
“Yes, and maybe the whole Bible, too,” I suggested playfully. He gave a laugh.
“Oh, and Larry, I’ve looked at your book.” He added.
“Well, all that you say about our conversation is true, but you have one detail wrong.”
“And what is that?” I feared a total rewrite was coming.
“You have me drinking Johnnie Walker Red Label. That’s the cheap stuff. I only drink Black Label.”
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Larry Alex Taunton.
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Well, he could have become an important public policy figure, I think he failed in that respect, since we have just as many christians and muslims as to when he was alive...therefore...he came from nothing and returns to nothing.
Exactly as he claimed was the case. What's your point?
On his journey he lived a fuller life than you and has touched so many people in profound ways. That seems to upset you to no end.
I suspect that CH would not claim credit but in fact the percentage of believers has decreased over his lifetime. The number of "Nones" is growing faster than the number of believers and what god delusion one suffers from is almost entirely due to where they were born and what cult their parents indoctrinated them into without their permission, not by rationally examining the various tribal mythologies and consciously choosing one fairy tale over the others.
Religions are all theories. And none of them can ever be proven.
Actually, the existence of life, creation...some scientists grapple with the idea of a God created universe, in other words...
How on Earth (lol) could a universe begin??/ How? in other words, billions and billions of years ago, there was nothign, they just a void, even a void is something, it's darkness, it's blackness...even from that vantage point (this is too deep for liberals)...how did an un-intelligent universe begin with such Intelligence... Stars that give off light, A solar system that generates life, whether it's 100 ft. dinosaurs, or trees that are 200 ft high? How? Why? Liberals, keep scratching your monkey brains, the truth is...dis-Believers are at a huge disadvantage, because even a half believing scientist can generate more ideas and theories from possibilities, not discounting probabilities.
Confused much? "Liberal" is not equal to "atheist", silly git.
Furthermore, while science in general has some evidence for its claims, religion has exactly ZERO.
Religions are not "theories." Evolution is a theory. A theory is a hypothesis that has been validated by objective, repeatable testing. Religious beliefs aren't even valid hypotheses because they can't even be tested.
Another thing I find funny: You question the knowledge of others even though you display a lack of even the most basic knowledge of cosmology.
Thank you Maya. That was an eyesore that needed correction.
Even in death an atheist has the power to continue on the fight against religion. Christopher Hitchens time with us certainly has proven that!
Keep on denying the very words of truth from Christopher Hitchens you t-w-a-t religious morons. It only shows that you can't even beat a dead atheist never mind a live one.
...Jeez. You don't get the point of the author's article, any more than the various other zealots posting here. Try an actual DEBATE sometime.
spoken like a true psychotic atheist liberal. Even in death...how would you know?
And if you physically die, and most atheists believe, you live in the dirt for an eternity...but then again, the term "Eternity" denotes the existence of a Higher Power. No doubt, the conception that life is eternal is one of the cornerstones of christianity.
Liberals, atheists, they believe in what feels good right now, is what is the most important thing AND THAT'S WHY NORMAL PEOPLE THINK YOU'RE CRAZY...because you're children NEVER WANTING TO GROW UP INTO A MATURE LOGICAL INDIVIDUAL.
1) You are the only one claiming an eternal life for the Universe. Science, in fact, says nothing of the sort.
2) I'm a Deist, not an atheist.
3) I was chastising the poster for being as much of a zealot as YOU.
It is pretty funny that you accuse other people of being illogical when you say things like "'Eternity' denotes the existence of a Higher Power." Oh, really? Why is that? Or can't you be bothered to actually prove the truth of your premises?
Neutron we are not laughed at, but feared, as your unending presence on this discussion board proves. We are feared because we question everything and seek truth. It is painfully obvious that deep down, you realize that you are laughed at and thought of as an ignorant child who won't stop believing in Santa so you try to attribute those qualities to a people you secretly admire (atheists). You are unable to reconcile this thought and so we have to listen to the bi-product, ie your anger. When you come to terms with this you will see that anger subside.
Did i ever even state that I cared to voice my statements on the sole basis of having the need to follow the rules relating to this article? No.
I don't care to post my thoughts relating to the intent of the article itself. My thoughts did exactly the intended job it did.
It creates the fundamental response of the zealots to automatically link the hate towards any opinion expressed by an atheist. You are welcomed – I gave you insight to your hatred of us.
The legacy of Christopher's talent and various debates will forever be held in the vast realms of the internet. For all to see and hear on the proper foundations of the appeal of logic and reasoning that which we all atheists follow.
Why would Hitchens try to disprove his own positions..?
I know what you were (badly) try to say, but you've missed the main point of the author's article. Try reading it again. You know, the part about civilized discourse?
I'll give you an example, I simply won't make a half a**ed statement without backing it up, as you just did.
if I tell a group of people, there is no such thing as UFO's, I'll have to offer proof or disproof, in other words, if they exist, show me this alien space-ships, that's dis-proof. If other worldly aliens exist, where did they come from and if their intelligence exceeds ours, why can't they properly communicate with us. By disproving, I'm saying, there is no empirical evidence to suggest their existence. That's an example. Now, the bigger question, How do we know God exists, first off, prove it, well, I counter: the very Creation of not just our solar system, which is just a speck in the vastness of the universe, and even the most scholarly Scientist cannot tell you where it ends nor where it begins...Therefore, I can offer as proof, that Someone, or Something, and I say that is God, our Creator, who generated not just the monkeys we call humans...but stars, light, gravity, weight, dimension, all of it. and un-intelligent Being, could have no power to create, just as no liberal CAN EVER DISPROVE THE EXISTENCE, NEVER. IT'S NOT EVEN POSSIBLE, BECAUSE OUR BRAINS, CAN GENERATE AS MANY THEORIES THAT SAY OTHERWISE. Whether it's super-natural phenomena or your own life experiences in which you know that God played a hand, that could not have been without Him. That my friend, is belief, that is what Christians call Faith.
And before we knew about micro organisms your people attributed the Black Plague to the Rapture and God's punishment. You are simply proving everything Hitchens has said.
The only reason why CNN interviewed this Christian, who is not known in most Christian circles, is probably because not many Christians liked or even knew about Hitchens since he was anti-God. Why would any Christian associate with the opposite of what they believe?
therefore, they interview a Milquetoast guy, with soft opinions, and most making Hitchens look like Dr. Suess. You have to remember, Hitchens hated certain public political figures, like the Clintons, and Henry Kissinger, who he openly despised.
SO? LOTS of people hate Kissinger, or for that matter, any public figure. What's your point?
Look, you've made it completely clear – you're insane. We get it. There really is no need to keep reminding us with the same babble every two seconds.
As the man said " I never learned much from setting around people agreeing with me"
As a non- believer, I must say that Larry Taunton has my respect.
Sean, i can honestly say, as a Christian, I don't care who you respect, lol.
And your opinion on someone you don't know, is about as important to me as
my breakfast cereal. Which to me is pretty important.
Wow. Way to completely miss the entire point, Neutron grinch. Furthermore, why should anyone car if YOU care..? Well? You cared enough to respond to his post, now didn't you?
Next time, try not shooting your own argument down.
I'LL TELL YOU WHY CNN DOESN'T OPENLY ATTACK ISLAM LIKE THEY ATTACK CHRISTIANITY, BECAUSE MUSLIMS ARE MORE AGGRESSIVE, AND WOULD PHYSICALLY ASSAULT YOU OR SUE YOU FOR MILLIONS IF THEIR RELIGION IS ABUSED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, THAT'S THE TRUTH.
Don't worry, muslims are just as wrong as christians. You're not special in that sense.
Muslims are no more aggressive than history of their Christian counterparts.
CNN IS CLEARLY BIASED AGAINST, AND OPENLY ATTACKS THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION...NOT THE MUSLIM RELIGION EVEN THOUGH HITCHENS CLEARLY SAID ANY INVISIBLE GOD, SIMPLY DID NOT EXIST, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO EMPIRICAL PROOF, ALTHOUGH OUR DEAR HITCHENS NEVER SCIENTIFICALLY DISPROVED HIS ASSERTIONS EITHER.
All-caps does not make anyone pay one slight bit more attention to you.
ATHEIST SHOULD SHUT THE HELL UP FOR RELIGIOUS GROUPS CAN KEEP RUNNING TRAIN ON THIS COUNTRY!
Chris Hitchens was appalled at the religion of intolerance and hatred that epitomizes modern day atheism.
I think you have that backwards. Its religion that is intolerant. I respect what you want to believe but but do you respect what I don't believe?
Oh, Really, I enjoyed reading your transparent and infantile attempt at attributing what is rightly thought of your people, onto atheists. It just shows clearly that you are aware, but in denial of your own evil ways.
again, I'll point that CNN is clearly BIASED AGAINST CHRISTIANS...NO DOUBT. The head-lines just above the current one is all anti-Christianity: Some examples:
does God gap explain patriotism gap: gimme a break
why young Christians aren't waiting anymore: according to who? cnn, lol...cnn the authority on religion, laughable.
-Opening Hasidic Brooklyn to tourists: making fun of Jews...not all jews commercialize their faith for a few dollars.
And the Kicker: Preachers struggle with last taboo( WOW!...doesn't it draw you in??? not me...to me the last taboo is Death and if you read CNN long enough, you wind up a comatose lemming, like most liberals.
Has it even occurred to you that this might be about religion being stupid rather than CNN being biased? If CNN had a bunch of negative articles about serial killers, would you say they're biased against serial killers?
Don't you have some war to march off to whilst humming some battle hymn?
Neutron reminds me of a Nazi in WWII who complains of oppression because of the White Rose group.
Are you done shouting now LOL
Stop saying he faced his final judgment! We are all dying as a matter of fact we are racing towards death day after day! it has nothing to do with and Hinduism, Islam or Christianity!
this is the fallacy of most liberals AND ALL ATHEISTS...I've yet to encounter a SANE ATHEIST...THEY ARE CRAZY...NO DOUBT.
But just to prove you wrong, racing towards death? You mean, you're racing towards death, I'm not. I'm healthy, I eat right, 90% of the time, I exercise, I look 30, but I'm 40...I'm not racing towards anything, unless I'm on a bike.
I'll dissect your stupid arguments day and night and prove that words mean something, WHEN THEY MEAN SOMETHING, not because you fire off incongruous remarks that have little to do w/ the argument.
"Sane" people usually articulate their point without shouting.
Hey – Grinch – What happened to that ol " judge not, least... guess it doesn't apply to you?
Neutron thinks he is an immortal! lol
When anyone, including our now deceased Mr. Hitchens, says there is no God.
IT'S THE SAME THING AS SAYING, THERE IS NO GOD FOR ANY RELIGION, THAT'S LOGIC CORRECT? if you have half a brain, that's what Hitchens was implying. If God didn't or doesn't exist for Christians, He doesn't exist for any religion.
IN OTHER WORDS, MUSLIMS FOOLISHLY PRAY TO AN INVISIBLE GOD, CALLED ALLAH, BHUDDISTS WORSHIP A FAT LITTLE STATUE FOR BLESSINGS, HINDUS WORSHIP WOMEN WITH MULTIPLE ARMS, AND PLACE RED DOTS ON THEIR HEAD...
THAT'S WHAT CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS WAS SAYING, NOT WHAT I am SAYING.
MY PREMISE IS THIS, WHILE HITCHENS SPENT A LIFETIME SAYING PERSONAL FREEDOM WAS MORE IMPORTANT, HE ATTEMPTED, AND FAILED TO TELL BILLIONS OF EARTHLINGS THAT GOD, A GOD, DID NOT EXIST.
Muslims will continually to pray to their invisible God, just as this Christian, Jeff Stone will pray to His Invisible God, and thanking Him everyday for the mystery of life.
You are correct – all of those made up "gods" don't exist. But what is your point?
@Neutron Grinch it is clear you're a spoiled child who has no business on the internet but, you might have better luck if you stop using CAPS to make an inane point you're trying to espouse. Now go on proving you are just a child by trying to control the post of others on here.
Scream away, idiot.
It is the greatest insult that CNN would put Hitchens in their belief column as it is Hitchens did not nor would have appreciated having a religious person talking about how he would have appreciated them praying for him when he stated he did not.
Christopher is a intellect that spoke the truth about how religion and god is nothing but a fairy tale and he did it with intelligence and logical thinking not some made up belief from those who use religion to control and manipulate weak willed people.
Well said, said the recovering catholic school boy.
He was a caustic loudmouth who was wrong on all fronts including his drinking and smoking as well as his disbelief. But he was also really wrong on the Iraq War. The US knocked off a mostly secular dictator, and watch a radical muslim be elected now the the US has left.
While this article and related video DO NOT OBJECTIVELY CRITIQUE THIS MAN'S LIFE...I have seen him debate back in the 90's when he was famous...In its totality, explain to me, what he accomplished by writing anti God books, or having lengthy debates on how their wasn't a creator? What did he accomplish? Nothing. Suppose there is a Judgement Day, FOR EVERYONE...including God hating liberals. let me continue...
What did he accomplish? Well, if he got people to think, he made the world a better place. Even you would agree with that, wouldn't you?
Youre in for a surprise when they close the lid. Either you believe or you dont..there is really no agnostic angle to this. He accomplished so much, if anything..for himself.
While youre overly opinionated self may say "oh he accomplished nothing because its nothing I agree with" maybe he restored faith into many people, or helped a lot of people sort out where their faith lies. Maybe his accomplishments aren't drastic but what have YOU done? NOTHING I'm sure. He changed peoples lives more than he probably ever knew.
He has had a huge positive impact on my life. Please take your hatred and blissful ignorance to a church or prayer meeting, where it is appreciated.
All this time praying and going to church, what did you accomplish really? Nothing. Imagine if there was a nuke war tomorrow and we all died, including god fearing christians. No returning jesus, and after death there was just nothing.
If you believe so completely why does someone questioning your belief get under your skin so much? Is it a knee-jerk reaction to logical thought undermining your religious faith?
Fantastic article – thanks for that. I have always been fascinated to listen to Hitch, as his critics about the dangers of religion are right on. As a follower of Jesus and the love and grace that this author experienced with Hitch, its okay to disagree even on important matters. Thanks CNN for posting this!
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
I hope that Hitchens found forgivenss in Chirst before he died....so sad.
This is the exact type of comment that has turned me off to religion. It's passive aggressive, self-righteous and is not born from a place of tolerance or understanding, but from a place where you feel like you are right, and this man is wrong and really you just want to rub it in peoples faces. You're like the woman who had been a man's mistress for years, the man dies then she wants to tell his wife because she feels it's 'the right thing to do'. You don't feel like it's right, you want to win. You want to walk up to that woman who he wouldn't leave for you and ruin the memory of her marriage at a time when she is feeling vulnerable and is probably remembering the best parts of that marriage. It's petty, if you're gonna be that way at least be honest about it. Just say 'hahaha hitchens is burning in hell'.
That righteous feeling you have gives you a sense of self-assurance and security, but you have faith only because you are afraid.
Just GODAMN ADMIT IT! YOU GUYS JUST WANT ATHEIST TO SHUT UP FOR YOU CAN FILL THE VOID AND VACUUM WITH ALL YOUR RELIGIOUS BULL CRAP.
Merry Christmas to you.
Atheist 1...... Spoken like a true intellectual. :). Tell us please why you are so bitter, especially towards those who are religious. Is it that perhaps you've realized that you've been missing something all along. Maybe not. But perhaps you could articulate some as to why you feel so sure of your own beliefs.
You mean Happy Solstice!
Christopher cherished and derived a great deal of satisfaction from his disparaging remarks about God. Little did he knew that death was awaiting him in the corner. When you utter disparaging words against God, you shouldn't be surprised if you get esophageal Cancer. For those of you who supporte him in his ignorance and arrogance, you will end up with the same fate, should you fail correct yourselves. God is not unjust, it is man who does injustice to himself.
I definitely want nothing to do with either you or your version of god. What a hateful pair!
So only non-Christians get esophageal cancer? Do you have any evidence to back that up?
Hitchens was a very intelligent man...I'd say he knew that he would someday die.
Word of advice. Don't put words into god's mouth.
There is no God: I die, oh well!
There is a God. I die, oh Hell!
Your choice! God bless you with the salvation only found in the historical Jesus of Nazareth!
seriously? because religious people never get cancer? Ignorant comment
what about about people who honor and love God and still get cancer? Answer that one please...
Do you really believe that? Sure hope not. Can't find the part in the bible that says "Believe in me or cancer will follow." Perhaps your beliefs have created the ignorance inside your head.
If god is so just please explain famine in Africa. I'm no scientist but hitch probably acquired esophageal cancer from smoking.
@ Woow: So if a Christian gets cancer, they just aren't praying hard enough... right?
Yours is a simple matter of rationalization. Anything that does or doesn't happen in this world, no matter how big or how small, is rationalized by the "God" element. It's simplistic thinking at its finest.
A good friend of mine just passed away from esophageal cancer, 5 days ago. He was an evangelical Christian and did everything right. I'm an atheist and I am fine. Your's is such an unbelievably ignorant comment. Why do you hate others who don't think like you?
you're an idiot religious fanatic; you and your ilk give Christianity a bad name; no wonder there are so many atheists!
Sweet story. A story of acceptance and tolerance, of free will.