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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.

Christopher Hitchens, standing, debates his friend Larry Taunton.

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.

“Absolutely.”

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.

“And?”

“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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (1,648 Responses)
  1. The Last Gasp

    More people are glad to see Hitchens gone than were ever glad he was here.

    December 18, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • Rick

      What effect did Hitchens have on your life that you should be glad he's gone? Because he disagreed with you?

      December 18, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • The whole world

      We are ALL glad he is gone

      December 18, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @the whole world: no we're not all glad that he is gone...you're only glad because it fits your delusions that a good man is burning when in fact you can't prove it that he is.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • The whole world

      Nope, we asked around and pretty much everyone agreed. Most common response was Christopher who?

      December 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who's "we", you feeb? You don't know enough people to make any statement about anyone but yourself and your pal, the gerbil.

      December 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  2. ashrakay

    Larry Alex Taunton: Coincidence, or proof of a higher power?
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTy2fYds5v4&w=560&h=315]

    December 18, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  3. Pet Sounds

    Here's something I've been thinking about lately. For something to exist there has to be an environment for it to exist in. You can't have the existent object/intelligence before you have somewhere for it to exist. You would have to assume god has some kind of environment for him to call home. My question is how did that get there? It's like the chicken before the egg paradox. If there already was space for god to exist how did it get there? He couldn't have made it himself because it would have had to be there in the first place to allow him to exist inside of it. It boggles the mind! It seems environment is responsible for creation.

    December 18, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      God works in mysteeeeeerious ways. OOOOOOH AAAAAH!

      December 18, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Pet Sounds

      Ha ha, that doesn't help GOLC.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Im sorry, I have been on too long. I need to just sign off, lol. I just have a feeling that the answer I gave will be the best these religious people can do. Goodnight, and Hitchens, you amazing man...you will be missed!

      December 18, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  4. Kenneth

    Atheists can't PROVE there is no God. It's as simple as that. I've been accused of beating off in public bathrooms, but they couldn't PROVE anything. Get it?

    December 17, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Kenneth

      I applaud the way you duped these tools earlier. Even when I told them the truth, they couldn't accept it.
      Kudos to you.

      And it's goats in a public restroom!

      December 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Kenneth (troll)

      OK, I'll stop. How can you have a sense of humor about something like this and get mad at atheists?

      December 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      They can't prove that Santa Claus was and always will be either. What's your point? The burden of proof is on YOU.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Burden of proof is not on Atheists...we're not the ones claiming there is a god. A good man, who is still around, by the name of Carl Sagan stated 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Bone Yard Barney

      Sagan is another dead one isn't he?

      December 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      Yes and I stand corrected (ty AtheistSteve)...either way Sagan's point is extremely valid.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  5. Mooo

    It was not a "miracle" but a lesson on socialism and sharing.
    Here's why: in a group of 5 thousand people, some of them would have been prepared and had some food on them.
    So if we hypothesize that it was a lesson on sharing, the people would have been told to keep just enough for themselves and share the rest by leaving it in the baskets they were handing around.
    Then you would have gotten the results of extra food left over.
    Take enough for yourself and pass the rest along to those who have none, was what they were probably told.
    The mis-translation of what probably happened sure seems more likely doesn't it?
    And Jesus started the sharing, started the lesson on his socialist message.
    And who keeps getting it wrong? Christians who think capitalism has morals. Gullible people.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  6. Reality

    Hitchens, Prothero, Crossan, Ludemann, et al in summary form thereby saving you from wasting any more time on religion or books on said subject:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life e.g. "DO NO HARM".

    No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, popes, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Okay.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      I think you hurt Kenny's feelings. lol

      December 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Kenneth

      I was just acknowledging with what they said.
      Does that scare you too?

      December 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Im frightened! IIIIIEEEEEE!

      December 18, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  7. Suzanne Jensen

    I started following Christopher Hichens after his so perfect right on comment about Jerry Falwell. "If you gave Falwell an enema, what would be left could be buried in a matchbox.". Direct and to the point. Genius, no doubt, and his opinions were beholding to no one and no group. I loved that about him. I didn't always agree but could never hold that against him cuz his arguments were based on fact and this incredible intuitive logic. Honest with an integrity that is not often seen now-a-days, intelligent, kind, and humorous. Doesn't get much better than that.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  8. jonathanstone

    I love the friendship and mutual respect between Hitchens and Taunton.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  9. John

    I've always thought that the imperfection in christians isn't that they believe in the bible or that they believe in jesus or that they believe sinners are going to hell or any other religious matter. The greatest imperfection, in fact, is that they're human.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Couldn't that be said to be the greatest imperfection in everyone?

      December 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • John

      Kenneth: Exactly.

      We like to put the blame on the obvious ones. They're the ones that de-cloaked. Deep down, we've all got a Hitler or a Charles Manson or a Bernard Madoff or a wife abuser or a "you name it we got it" sort of evil inside us. We play this life like it's a game, taking what works for us and those around us and leaving the rest. We're like a man that takes the compliments but discards the criticisms. If you play your cards right in this life, you can keep yourself cloaked long enough to be on your death bed outside of a jail or at the hands of an angry righteous mob.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  10. Edith

    Why were Hitchen's fan's uncaring groupies while the author's christian fans were not? This comment detracts from what is an otherwise a nice and thoughtful piece about a dear friend.

    I know people who have stood in line to have Mr. Hitchens sign their book. I can tell you for certain that they were genuinely concerned for his health when they learned of his diagnosis and clearly mourned his loss when it, sadly, came.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  11. John

    Outside of our genetic deficiencies and prejudices, we're ok.

    I can say the same mostly for anybody on earth, christian or no.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  12. The Nomadic Scientist

    I enjoyed the recap. Thank you sir.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  13. Joe from Indy

    Why is this in the "Belief" section? Somebody needs to tell CNN that Hitchens most certainly did NOT believe and that's one reason it is inappropriate to have the only write up on him immediately after his death be by some religious fool.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      It appears that the article was written by a person that was his friend. Is that enough to memorialize a man after his death that his friends speak to remember the good times they shared?

      December 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Dana Chilton

      @ Joe, read the article. It wasn't written by Hitchens, it was written by an evangelical christian who, on several occasions, tried to convert him. That's why it's on CNN's belief blog. one has to wonder if you read the article or just wanted to post something because you really dislike atheists.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Joe from Indy

      Are both of you morons? Did you read my post? People that hate atheists don't generally refer to the religious as fools. My problem is that Hitchens deserved better than to be put in the section that I generally consider to be on par with the National Enquirer and, though it may have been written by a friend (according to the author, but mind you that Hitchens isn't here to dispute the claim), it is wrong to put his stuff in this section.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      Wow ...name calling. So when many of us have known about these relationships with people of Faith, Hitchens spoke of the Christians that he had met with on friendly terms before and after his diagnosis...... Is it really that hard for you to accept that this guy ... And at least one known other .... Were on friendly if not friendship terms?

      Where better to place a article that shows folks can be tolerant and have a peaceful friendship?

      December 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Mark spare me the bs. You are intolerant of atheists and have called them names but here you are condemning someone who has been pushed around by religious freaks and won't stand for it.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Joe from Indy

      Marks, try reading just one of Hitch's books. He is nothing near tolerant of the religious. In fact, he vehemently professed intolerance with "God is not Great" (awesome book). And if you read my original post, the point is that the ONLY thing on CNN headlines about this highly controversial and influential man was in the very section he opposed most. It's a slap in the face and disrespectful to atheists everywhere.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      >>>"You are intolerant of atheists and have called them names but here you are condemning someone who has been pushed around by religious freaks and won't stand for it."

      Please point to when I have been intolerant towards Atheist? Point the name calling of all Atheist? 

      My friend, many of us have been pushed around by groups. It was not until I got into Middle School that I was not the only African American in the entire building and still experience pockets of racism. So I understand the pushed around feeling but at the same time unlike some others I do not hold all of White America accountable for the actions of some of their numbers. 

      Other than that my post throughout the year and the Atheist that I have been blessed to have respectful exchanges with. The Christians that I have challenged.... Heck, a few days ago a Atheist scolded me for disagreeing with another Christian because we are supposed to be on the same side. After my year plus here .... I do laugh at your claims concerning me and will continue doing what I do. 

      December 17, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      If it is not you then it is someone with the same user name. I remember it was on an article about the Holiday tree. I can't find that article but I do remember you calling names and or damning to hell.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"If it is not you then it is someone with the same user name. I remember it was on an article about the Holiday tree. I can't find that article but I do remember you calling names and or damning to hell."

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/10/the-christmas-tree-fight/comment-page-1/#comments

      Well, then here is the link for the article. Take the time to find the post and report back. I am really interested, if you do not wish to do it to back up your claim ..let me know and tomorrow night I will search for you. The words do not even sound like me, but I welcome with respect your challenge. 🙂

      -–

      >>>"and if you read my original post, the point is that the ONLY thing on CNN headlines about this highly controversial and influential man was in the very section he opposed most. It's a slap in the face and disrespectful to atheists everywhere."

      Hi Joe, every now and then a Christian post too question why are there Atheist on the Belief Blog. Quickly many Atheist dog pile on top to declare they have as much right to post here as those who believe. I agree, if you are a Person of Faith and can not handle a few Atheist, then you need them here to strengthen, sharpen, and refine your Faith.

      Joe, just because I do not agree with you, please do not feel that I did not read your article. Trust me in this, I spent a good part of today reading many of the post on this blog on a small PDA screen. You know how hard that is with a single bar WiFi signal? 🙂

      This article deserves to be here on the Belief Blog. Hitchens was mentioned here many many times. Through the last year of Cancer struggle the Belief Blog editors posted articles on the man which many Atheist did not have a problem with. Mostly because it was still a Hitchens vs Faithful debate. The cry that those articles appeared here, I just do not remember seeing.

      Then came along his sad death and it appears that the thing that is killing a few Atheist ... probubly worst than I could ever thought... is how they came into this article, and only finding a article of "kindness" and "friendship", they did not know how to react. Part of me laughs at the "slap in the face" part and the "CNN is biased against Atheist" comments because now the Atheist are saying the same things that the Catholics, Muslims, and general Christians have been saying.

      Come on Joe, get a grip on reality. Hitchens had Christian and Jewish friends. Get a grip that one of his Christian friends thought enough of Hitchens to write a memorial about him as a friend. Get a grip that when able to speak of an Atheist ... a Christian spoke kindly and respectfully.

      Get a grip Joe.... Friendships ... they can happen.

      L'Chaim.

      December 18, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  14. GodofLunaticsCreation

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGEh-fQS9Sk&w=640&h=360]

    December 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Ian

      It's an interesting point he makes about vicarious redemption, one I haven't thought about, but I think if he were to keep thinking about that concept he would realize that the people being vicariously redeemed did not ask for it to happen in such a way (and of course rarely did they even know they needed redemption). Now I think it's necessary to say that I really hate when a fellow Christian of mine says we are as responsible for Jesus' death on the cross as the Romans who actually did it, it was something Jesus took on Himself. I think the idea only becomes repulsive when it's viewed as Christians sacrificing Jesus, but the Bible teaches that it is Jesus sacrificing himself.
      I reccomend that you look up some of the different Christian soteriologies. You'll find that Christians aren't as uniform in their belief of how that cross works as you think they are.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  15. L.D. in Denver

    The fool says in his heart, "There is a God." You poor, deluded, slavish saps! If you dare to read any of the excellent anti-religious writings by Mr. Hitchens, you might really learn something, vs. the silly mythology in your Bible.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  16. ashrakay

    As I was saying yesterday how difficult it is to distinguish some of these religious posts from blatant trolls. I think that it just speaks to the level of insanity that is often presented as fact. It's so far out there, I have a hard time accepting that people actually believe this stuff let alone that they would feel no shame in posting comments about it.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Absolutely. It's kind of a fitting tribute to Hitchens that the response of the ultra-religious to his death has been rife with Poe's Law.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      Ashrakay – A few pages back an Atheist stated that he wished to destroy all religions and I could not believe such in my heart. Even further back there were cries from some atheist on why CNN allowed an article from a person of Faith to memorialize Hitchens and that another Atheist should have replaced this article.

      In some ways I think the shock over Hitchens death isn't that much of an issue when many atheist have to come to grips that their hero had Jewish and Christians that he was on friendly terms with.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Mark you are another troll. I have seen your "work" and it is nothing beyond a high school dropout level. All atheists have Christian and Jewish friends! What planet do you live on you disgusting thing? I have made many statements in the past and supported my arguments but my patience has been run thin with your level of stupidity. You are either a child or a successfully indoctrinated religious nut.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Marks from Middle River, Personally I see religion as an illness and I feel sorry for people who suffer from the affliction. If there were a way to cure people, I would support it as strongly as I would the fight to eradicate polio and AIDS. I may not use the language "destroy" but I understand the sentiment as well as the frustration behind the words. As Realists (atheists) I think it's far more effective to deal with religious people from a sympathetic position, but at the same time, we must attack the disease affecting the person with all of the ferocity at our disposal.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Andrew

      Above someone accused someone of being indoctrinated. Why does every follower of a Religion have to be indoctrinated into it? Research the converts of many people to different religions of the world, wikipedia has pages and pages. President Obama himself is Christian, and was raised Atheist! not all religious people have been indoctrinated. Don't make ignorant claims like that. Although A LOT of religious people are, you can't be sure.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      How many children do you know that came out of the womb clamoring for Jesus?

      December 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      Hi Ashrakay. Then do you not find yourself in the company of some pretty nasty folks both in the past and in the present? What you have expressed is right out of the 700 club in the 90s and 80s in their call to attack hom'ose'xuality. It is another echo of the past and chances are very high that you will have the same luck as every dictator and stormtrooper that has ever placed someone under his boot.

      Try this my friend. The 9/11 terrorist and all those who were backing them proclaimed the same reasoning. To them the United States was the disease that was infecting the world. To them all else had failed and they had to attack with a similar " ferocity". There are entire towns in Africa that are just being wiped out because some other group has declared who they are to be as an disease.

      That is and will always be the failing of ones such as you on both sides. You rhetoric opens the door to atrocities when that which you claim as an diease does not go away or refuses to submit.

      There is always going to be the call for peace and tolerance. One says destroy another attempts to clean it up and make it sound mote clinical. Sorta "final solution". Time for peace will only occur when we decide.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Mooo

      Let me just take a big dump here to commemorate another useless post by Mark.
      @

      December 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Marks from Middle River, I guess you conveniently ignore that it was religious ideology that inspired the terrorists on 911. Ideology that is taken from a book that has almost 1:1 accounts of violence and aggression as the bible has poured out on non-believers. If you mother started telling you that she believed there were fairies in the bathtub drain who are offering her eternal life, would you not be at all interested in seeking professional help for her? Realists ARE here to help you, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. We know that what happens to you happens to all of mankind. As someone pointed out earlier, if you believe that 3+3=5, those who know the truth have a responsibility to stand up, resist and ultimately eliminate such faulty logic. To do anything less would be irresponsible to mankind as a whole.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Ashrakay. Think of it as I am here to help you. I point out the 9/11 terrorist and their words of cleansing a disease and successfully comparing them to the words here to show you how much in common those words are. I am here because I do not wish to see Atheist go down the same road but more so to show that it is not the Faithful or the Atheist but those on the extremes who are the true ones that wish to tear apart our society. I am not saying that you would do such but you should be careful of your words. Some people are out looking for an all out war but why? Just because someone is of Faith or not of Faith? Is that something to shed blood over?

      That is why this article and others that have appeared since Hitchens death are so valuable. They show that folks can disagree and not want to destroy the other. See, out there in society there are folks that in their minds they formulate the same words that you and others use. They call the person that does not sound, look, believe or even love differently ..a illness that:

      “we must attack the disease affecting the person with all of the ferocity at our disposal.”

      Think of all of the extremist nuts both inside and outside of the Faiths, that have seen words like that and considered those same words marching orders? If tomorrow an Atheist goes and blows up a church or a synagogue because he or she personally view “religion as an illness“... how would you feel? I mean, really. Do you feel such will bring peace or do you think it will consume us all as a multi-culture and diverse society, because it is silly to think it would stop there.

      I would recommend The Hangman by..I think Maurice Ogden.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZSS3yxpnFU&w=640&h=360]

      “For who has served more faithfully?
      With your coward's hope." said He,
      "And where are the others that might have stood side by your side, in the common good?"

      "Dead!" I answered, and amiably "Murdered," the Hangman corrected me. "First the alien ... then the Jew. I did no more than you let me do."”

      December 18, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Think of it as I am here to help you."

      Bwahahhhahha. What a crock of poo you are, Mark.

      December 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  17. Proverbs31

    because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    Professing to be wise, they became fools
    and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

    ROMANS 1:21-23

    December 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Go pray to your Mullah!

      December 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  18. Proverbs31

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—
    have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,
    so that men are without excuse.

    ROMANS 1:20

    December 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Zeus is also cool.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  19. Tiger Stripes

    For Kenneth, George, and all the other idiot believers here who have commented on Hitchens' relatively short life due to his smoking and drinking and other excesses:

    Sure, his early death was a tragedy and possibly avoidable (perhaps not with the same Hitch), but still, in his 62 years, he did more living than you will ever do, no matter how long your dull, boring, cowardly and deluded lives last.

    So go back to your dull, deluded lives, you simpleton believers in your absurd myths. As for me, I'm going to toast the life of the great Christopher Hitchens at a party with some people who are far smarter and more full of life than you are.

    Bye now, losers.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Andrew

      I am by no means religious, but you cannot claim that all religious people are dumb and living "dull, boring, cowardly and deluded lives" look at Simon Morris, Martin Nowak, Francis Collins, and Stanley Cohen. These people are all theists and I think the argument could be made that they do not lead dull, boring, or cowardly lives. Sure they believe in some questionable concepts, but they have encouraged thinking. They are scientific men who have devoted their lives to furthering the knowledge of mankind. Francis Collins has been revolutionary in his journey to decode the human genome. Id say thats very "smart and full of life" Im not making an argument that there beliefs are correct, but you can't be ignorant and claim all religious people lead dull lives.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Tell ya what there, Tigger, if you can find anything in what I wrote that was anything but respectful to Hitch, I'll gladly renounce my faith.
      We may not have shared the same beliefs, but I respected his viewpoints. And I never saw him disrespect anyone who would speak openly with him. Not saying he didn't, just saying I never saw it.
      So, why don't you try using a scalpel instead of an axe when you are posting?

      December 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Considering Jesus only lived to 33 years, he must have been a pretty horrible person.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Kenneth

      And this is one of the people calling Christians 'hate-filled"?
      Are you toasting Hitchens with a glass of hypocrisy?

      December 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Kenneth would know. Hes the biggest hypocrite on this board, as his past statements prove.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Also, Hitchens himself was intolerant of you religious nuts. So toast away! : )

      December 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Hitchens was intolerant of anyone who couldn't back up what they said.
      If you watch the vid of him and Taunton, you will see it was respectful dialogue. Something you are too butt-sniffing stupid to understand.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Butt sniffing? Excuse me as I bask in your mental superiority. I hate to break it to you but I have known about their friendship for some time now and have seen their videos. Next!

      December 18, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  20. Proverbs31

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
    – PSALM 14:1

    December 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Observer

      God also killed virtually every man, woman (pregnant or not), child, and fetus on the face of the earth at one time.

      What was your point?

      December 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • ashrakay

      "corrupt" like god ordering the murder of women and children? Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT

      December 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.