Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christopher Hitchens

I wasn't aware of this, but a friend sent me a news story on Christopher Hitchens having cancer and a prayer day for him. Check out the article here: Christopher Hitchens Skipping Prayer Day In His Honor

A couple of thoughts from the article.

"For some of his critics, it might be satisfying to see a man who has made a career of skewering organized religion switch sides near the end of his life and pray silently for help fighting a ravaging disease."

Satisfying? Well, maybe, but not for the reasons that the world might think. As Christians, we know there is no hope apart from Jesus Christ, and that there is still hope through Him, even for an outspoken atheist. Hitchens will probably never come to faith - it becomes a pride issue now, how would that look to all of his loyal atheist fans? But then again, nothing is impossible with God. A Christian should not see a change of heart as a "win" for our side, but rather, the salvation of a man who deserves eternal punishment just like the rest of us, to the glory of the Lord who saves.

Hitchens may not know it or want to believe it, but he will glorify God at the end of his life in one way or another. Either as a demonstration of God's holy righteousness as justice is done through eternal punishment, or as a demonstration of God's holy grace and mercy in salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Those are the only two options, and God is glorified either way.

"The way the English-born Hitchens sees it, the people praying for him break down into three basic groups: those who seem genuinely glad he's suffering and dying from cancer; those who want him to become a believer in their religious faith; and those who are asking God to heal him."

His first group couldn't be Christians. Any group that is held together by their hatred of another group simply cannot have the love of Christ in them. If these are professed believers, they are hypocrites, false teachers and deceivers.

The last group, asking God to heal him, would buy him more time but that in itself would not change his eternal fate. Paul asked to be healed from the thorn in his flesh and the Lord told him no. All the disciples, and many others faced martyrdom for their beliefs. This is part of living under the curse of sin. I wouldn't be a part of this group.

The middle group, those who "want him to become a believer in their religious faith" could probably be better defined. Why do they want him to become a believer? Is it because they want a big hit against the other side, that when it really comes down to it, even atheists will turn? The "no atheists in foxholes" sort of argument? That would only strengthen the stubbornness of the rest of them.

Or is it because they know his fate without Jesus Christ in his life, and know that we all deserve eternal punishment in hell because we've all sinned against an eternal God? Is it because God has provided a way out of this fate that we deserve and it is available to any who would call on His name? Is it for this man's salvation and the glory of God alone that we'd like to see him come to faith? That's the group I would fit into.

1 comment:

Miss Szymanski said...

I think that some people rejoice, because they feel like Hitchen (in this case) "deserves it"; God is probably punishing Him for all of his evil. But the bottom line is that we shouldn't be judgmental towards people in that way. I've learned that behind every label, there is a soul; behind Hitchens' label of "atheist" there is a soul. As Christians, we must be very careful how we present ourselves, making sure that it is representative of Christ; otherwise, we may end up turning people away from God. So I would agree that those who are glad about Hitchen's suffering are hypocritical and deceptive.

The last paragraph would be my stance on things, too. However, I do believe the Lord can heal Hitchens; it is possible that those praying for his healing hope that he will see that it was the Lord who healed him, causing his repentance. (In that sense, his eternal fate could be "changed," but I do get your point.) Jesus did say, after all, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Of course, that doesn't include those who are praying against others (because it must be according to His will, not ours); but Jesus never specified that these prayers were just for ourselves. In other words, we can pray for others and see results, too. So I'll agree with you in prayer for Hitchens' salvation that God may receive all the glory! :D

Have a blessed day!

~ Miss S.