‘The Faith of Christopher Hitchens’ (Part II): What Are Atheists So Afraid of?


‘The Faith of Christopher Hitchens’ (Part II): What Are Atheists So Afraid of?

By Eric Metaxas

It’s interesting when atheists do just what they accuse so-called “religious fanatics” (that’s you and me) of doing.

The late Christopher Hitchens was one of the world’s foremost and most committed atheists. You may remember him for his best-selling, outrageous polemic against monotheism: “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.” Hitchens, who died of esophageal cancer in 2011, was one of the sharpest public intellectuals in the world. Hitch was master of quips such as “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence,” and “Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.” In his rampage against the Christian faith, Hitchens lustily debated some of the world’s greatest Christian apologists.

And one of them was my friend Larry Alex Taunton. Larry is on the best-seller lists because of his sensitive and powerfully written new book, “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist.” He’s also in the news. And that’s because the book’s depiction of Hitchens as someone who took Christians and the Christian faith seriously is dangerous heresy for many who see the New Atheism as the only acceptable orthodoxy.

Yesterday I told you about the book itself, which describes Larry’s unlikely friendship with the famed atheist, including two long road trips in which they actually studied the Gospel of John together. (Taunton drove while the ailing Hitchens read aloud and drank Scotch.) Some who knew and debated Hitchens,such as Doug Wilson, say that the book is spot on.

But I want to focus for a minute on the response of the critics—or trolls, is more like it. For example, avenging anti-God hordes have crashed the book’s Amazon page, fulminating with one-star reviews labeling the book as “tripe” and “dishonest” and “morally reprehensible”—accusing the author of merely riding the beloved Hitch’s coattails “to make a fast buck.” But it’s pretty obvious that none of these “reviewers” has actually read the book. The question is: why haven’t they? What are they so afraid of?

Do they fear that Taunton is some Bible-believing Svengali, whose nefarious power over their ailing colleague was crass opportunism? Are they afraid that actually engaging with him and his ideas would put them in the same danger as their dear departed ally?

How can people so vocal about believing in “evidence” and “reason” behave like this? Yet there they are, posting their angry, one-star reviews, and then clicking away in an indignant huff. Yes, they are afraid—of where the facts might lead them.

One example was a BBC “conversation” with Taunton, which seemed disturbingly like a Saturday Night Live parody, with the ultra-smug host seated imperiously on an onyx-colored set, from which he asked withering questions. Then he turned to atheist activist, Laurence Krause, who actually claimed Hitchens was not Taunton’s friend at all, but was only paid to be in Taunton’s company! Of course Krause neglects to mention that apart from the “paid” debates between them there was all that time together on those two long, voluntary road trips. And then there was the fact that Hitchens actually slept in Taunton’s home. But to know this, one must actually have read the book.

Perhaps these folks should listen to Hitchens when he said, “We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.” The intellectually dishonest critics, however, are doing what they say they most despise in Christians—attempting to shut down uncomfortable ideas and yes, debates, that contradict their own beliefs.



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  • odin2

    A lack of awareness on the left is the rule rather than the exception.

    • I think they’ve learned how to weaponize stupidity.

      • odin2

        LOL. So true.

    • MadeInMichigan

      Atheists aren’t all leftists.

      • odin2

        You are right. The vast majority seem to be globalists, communists or marxists, so I forgot that there are some atheists who do fit in those categories.

        • MadeInMichigan

          There are also conservative atheists. Atheism has nothing to do with a person’s political leanings.

          • odin2

            I agree, but those atheists who are the most vocal and anti-Christian seem to be from the left. Are there any conservative atheists who seem to be on a campaign against Christians?

          • Those so called atheists on the left attacking Christians are really secular humanists

          • odin2

            Thanks. Now I have something new to research – secular humanists. 🙂

          • They says they are Atheists but they are indeed a religion, even the USSC said they are a religion

          • MadeInMichigan

            What atheists are on a campaign against Christians?

          • odin2
          • Steveglen

            Another question might be, are leftists disproportionately represented in the atheist community? They are clearly lovers of darkness, terrified of enlightenment.

          • But secular Humanism, the religion of the left is all about political ideology

          • MadeInMichigan

            Most liberals in the US are Christians.

      • No one said they are. But secular humanists on the left are not really atheists, even though they say they are

  • I haven’t read the book, but from what I gather in this article, it reminds me of Charles Evers, Medger Evers’s brother who befriended some of the worst racists, including Governor Wallace and whose friendship with those people in many cases changed their hearts. That is extremely difficult to do as most of us can only see the animosity…or we see that person as a personification of that animosity. I know there’s people here on line that I really dislike…and I honestly can’t see myself doing what Taunton or Evers did. And that’s something I should work on.

  • MadeInMichigan

    I don’t think the author of this article read Hitchens’ book.