Goodbye, Mr. Hitchens

I've spent the better part of my morning reading Christopher Hitchens' obituaries. Fitting that such a great writer should draw so much articulate praise. I admired him greatly, and I will miss his work very much.

I also indulged in a little Twitter trolling around Hitch's death, and was disgusted by the reactions of those who took exception to his anti-theism. These people adopt some permutation of three basic arguments: 'God killed him with Cancer', 'Only now does Hitchens know the truth', and 'He died, so that means there is a god'. The last one is particularly weird, since I have never know an atheist anywhere to claim he was immortal.

These reactions made me think of an idea that was at the core of Hitchens' work - when you challenge a powerful idea or person, you become as powerful as they are thought to be. Hitchens' targets - Reagan, Clinton, Mother Theresa, Henry Kissinger, Princess Diana, God, among others - are powerful because we agree that they are. When that agreement is confronted, a crack forms in the mantle of  their authority. Put another way, when you fight 'God', you become as mighty as God because you dare to fight him on his own terms. Hitchens dared, and dared, and then dared some more.  This, I think, is why he drives religious people crazy.

So, thank you. We'll try to keep up the good work.