Numerous eulogies have been written in the last 48 hours for Christopher Hitchens: here and here. Perhaps most moving for me is the tribute by Douglas Wilson, Hitchens’ sparring partner, co-author and friend.
Hitchens was perhaps the most reflective and thoughtful of the New Atheists. I appreciated his essays in Vanity Fair and The Atlantic, particularly his thoughts on politics and literary criticism. One of my favorite EconTalk episodes contains his reflections on my favorite book, 1984.
Paul Ricoeur’s three-stage biblical hermeneutic begins with a period of naïve reflection, followed by a critical detour, and finally a return to a faith perspective. In my thoughtful examination of my own religious perspective on the world, Hitchens was at times a key part of my “critical detour,” a challenging exercise, lifting me out of my navel-gazing stupor. I saw him speak once with Wilson at an event promoting their book, and I was impressed by their regard for each other as human beings.
As a writer, Hitchens had few peers in wit, elegance and style. His mind and pen bore unwilling, unwitting tribute to common grace, the image of the Creator reflected in the creature. It is a shame that this creature never acknowledged the Creator whose blessings he enjoyed. The world will miss you, Hitch.