Three Off the Wall Responses to Christopher Hitchens' Death

Christopher Hitchens was a controversial man.  I suppose most prominent people are, but I think he was especially controversial.  When he died the other day, not everyone observed the custom of refusing to speak ill of the dead.

Of course, it is not a matter of morality, but rather a matter of etiquette that we refrain for a brief period from speaking ill of those who have recently died.  And etiquette commands no legion of bayonets: Nothing forces us to obey it unless we respond as cowards to our aunt's raised eyebrow.

Consequently, you can sometimes discover a lot about someone by observing how well and in what manner they follow the common etiquette.  One man, named only "Keith", appears to be a whiner with a vicious streak. Soon after Hitchens' death, he felt it was necessary to tweet: "Atheists are disgusting human beings. They can't let us have our faith in peace. They need to shove their indoctrination down our throats." 

Not all of the off the wall responses to Hitchens' death were vicious.  Some were merely self-serving. The President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, could not refrain even for a few hours from attempting to exploit Hitchens' death in order to sell his services as an ordained salvation-slinger.

He began a series of tweets by saying Hitchens' death "is an excruciating reminder of the consequences of unbelief. We can only pray others will believe.”

Mohler immediately added, “Few things are so valued in this life as brilliance & eloquence. Neither will matter in the world to come.”

“The point about Christopher Hitchens is not that he died of unbelief,” he concluded, “but that his unbelief is all that matters now. Unspeakably sad.”

Then there was Lane Bowman. Bowman, who appears to be a young man studying for the ministry, was smug in his declaration that, "Hitchens will be forgotten. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth."  

I think if Bowman ever flunks out of the seminary, he can always get a job as a stand up comic.


  1. I always found Hitchens to be interesting and eloquent. While I often disagreed with him -- and sometimes didn't understand him -- I always read him.

  2. Mohler's quote about brilliance & eloquence not mattering in the world to come was humorous to me. It reminded of something Ingersoll said to the effect that he would rather to go the Hell using his reason than to Heaven without it. An after life without brillance would be a hell for me, personally speaking.

    Hitchens was always thought provoking to me, even when I didn't agree with him. I was saddened to hear about his cancer and sad now to hear that he is gone.

  3. Did you hear about Rick Warren's tweet following Hitchens' death? Talk about a cheap shot!

  4. In terms of the tweet you mentioned (by Keith): "Atheists are disgusting human beings. They can't let us have our faith in peace. They need to shove their indoctrination down our throats."

    I hope someone reminds him of this quote by Diderot:
    "The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers."

  5. Jerry, we see eye to eye on Hitchens. I could not have stated my views of him any more concisely than you just did.

  6. Excellent point, Doug! Mohler's heaven isn't worth it. Only his hell is interesting.

    What kind of person imagines being bored for eternity as "salvation"?

  7. Thanks for the link, Ahab! Good Grief! Rick Warren is sappy enough to make the sap in the aspen trees here in Colorado run in December.

    I will pray for Rick.

    (tee hee!)

  8. An excellent quote, Jon! Perfectly appropriate and true, too.

    I cannot prove it, but I suspect Keith is either very young or very much a case of arrested development. I mean, he just talks like an angry teenager, no?

  9. Thanks, Kuri! That sure puts Hitchens into perspective.

    Personally, I think Falwell deserved ever nasty thing said about him.

  10. Paul -- Heh heh. May Thor and Odin have mercy on his soul.

  11. Thor and Odin both like to drink. I'm sure Hitchens will fit right in.

  12. Not even the most arrogant atheist can hold a candle to the arrogance of a believer. Maybe arrogance is a form of over-compensation for the fact that deep down, even a believer knows s/he doesn't know?

  13. That's a good point, CD. I think one would need to be very much mentally challenged not to realize on some level that one simply doesn't know. And, if -- as you suggest -- some believers over-compensate for their feelings of uncertainty, well then, it wouldn't be the first time our species has indulged it that folly.


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