The Plight of Christopher Hitchens
Sometime around the 1990’s, Christopher Hitchens would become the champion of atheist everywhere with his powerful refutations of the Christian faith. His well crafted argument rooted in the textual inconsistency in the bible, as well as issues with religious dogma and problems with the church, ect. In the context of the time, the arguments of this self described social democrat and arbiter of absolute truth may have had more resonance, but after a few decades it sounds more like a teenager rebelling against his well meaning parents who don’t have the words to express the reality that is human existence to their angry and dejected son.
Like many Liberals, and Hitchens was definitely a Liberal in every sense of the word, the man who would seek to tear down all religion never really did so with an honest rationality. His motives seemed fueled more by hatred of religion than an objective understanding of its role in shaping society and that becomes especially true when taken into the context of the moral flexibility he allowed himself. Like many intellectuals, his philosophy revolves around human beings being completely rational creatures who can build a case for morality based solely on “truth” and all of humanity will surely follow. It’s a child’s dream. The truth as we know it is constantly evolving and human beings are very capable justifying their own actions to meet certain perceived positive outcomes. “The ends justify the means”
The Hitch isn’t alive to defend himself, but his legacy will stand on its own. He was an atheist who lived in a largely Christian country. He was a socialist, who made his living in through capitalism (although he might argue against that). He was an English-American citizen, who sided with communist on more than one occasion. As he grow older, his politics “evolved“, but with so many contradictions it becomes difficult to reason exactly what his thinking was, but the love of arguments follows him through it all.
In the end, Hitchens intellectual tantrums don’t resolve the fact that Christianity built the house that he grew up in. For most of the world, faith in God and the belief in something worthwhile beyond the individual is more appealing than spending your life fighting to destroy the social fabric of a 2000 year old semi-flexible tradition only to replace it with your own version of ‘collectivism’ and morality. It is deeply ironic, that the prodigal son was never able to fully recognize himself in a world he spent so much time deconstructing.