I just lost a young friend to cancer, I watched my own stepfather die of the type of cancer that is now afflicting Christopher Hitchens, I am only concerned here with two things- his conversion and his bodily healing.
I never “hated” Hitchens, I didn’t always disagree with his politics, but his extreme views against Faith/Belief in God were indicative of something missing on the inside for him. In this interview he speaks a little about the trauma of suicide in his family- particularly his mother. It seems to me that the little child within all of us eventually wins out- if that child longs for love and innocence then faith will come more easily. If that little child is damaged by traumatic events very much outside of his control- well he may well give over to a sort of hopelessness and despair.
I really and truly hope that this probable last road of Hitchens does not turn into a circus where the believers line up on blogs to smirk “I told you so” to a dying man. I believe our role is to be good Samaritans, like the Mother Teresa that Hitchens claimed to hate, she didn’t give a litmus test on the dying before offering compassion, prayer and some comfort. The best witness for Christ we can give right now is not to begin a new debate on whether God gave Hitchens cancer, or take bets on when or if the pain of chemotherapy will finally bring this prideful man to his knees- the kind of pain whereupon God speaks to Christopher through a megaphone (CS Lewis).
In watching the debates between D’Souza and Hitchens, I always felt that the missing ingredient for the pro-God side was an expression of authentic concern and compassion for the atheist who was up there attempting to trash Our Loving Creator and His Son, Our Lord. It may not have fit in well with the format of a formal debate, but in something so important as deciding to be for God or against Him, you really have to live and think outside the box much of the time.
So, I offer a humble prayer for Christopher Hitchens, and I see his humanity in his expression of regret for the sake of his children- that is a very intense point of personal contact for me. I will not make any artificial judgments on the state of his immortal soul- the man is obviously damaged, and just like when I have known someone who has committed a bodily suicide, I make the assumption that something was just not healthy or right in that person- there is a good probability that something got into the mix of that person that robbed them of some of their free will. I could be wrong- but it is Christ’s call ultimately not mine. I would only propose to Christopher Hitchens to consider that God is Love, he is a man who has love for his children- so that may be his ultimate pathway to God- somehow. I would urge him not to keep the straw man Christian in his mind when contemplating Faith in Christ. Not all Christians are mean-spirited, ignorant, superstitious or hypocritical. There are saints among us- consider their witness as the better imitators of Christ.
So, I pray thee well Christopher Hitchens, well in body and in the spirit you do not claim to believe exists. Lord have mercy on you and on us all.