Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P. by Joe Heschmeyer The prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens has died, at age 62, from pneumonia, a complication from the cancer he’d been fighting for some time. May God have mercy on his soul. Share this article:FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail 5 Comments It’s strange, but I’m filled with sadness at his passing. I had always hoped that by some miracle he would come into the light. Reply I am grieved by his passing, too. I immediately thought of Fr. George Rutler’s response to him, that he’d “die a Catholic or a madman.” Reply Requiem Aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen. Reply One thing Hitchens taught me was difficulty of maintaining a Christianity that could not incorporate the idea that our full purgation and sanctification are essential and that suffering accomplishes these things. When justification is forensic and purgation unnecessary to glorification, as in the Lutheran scheme, suffering makes no sense. And Hitchens attacks are powerful, like this: “Let’s say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I’ll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks ‘That’s enough of that. It’s time to intervene.’“ I never hear this brought up as an attack on forensic justification, so maybe I’m missing something. But, nonetheless, I can truly say that Hitchens’ thoughts on theology–misguided as they were–really changed my thinking. Reply One never knows what a person thinks before he takes the last breath.Perhaps in that moment of time, truth is revealed, forgiveness is requested, and salvation is granted.Bill Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email.