The death of Christopher Hitchens causes me to reflect on his extreme dislike of religion. He was really such a gifted writer, and a great observer of human nature. Yet his own bias was never more evident than in his book, god is not Great.
In the book, Hitchens let it be known what he thought of eschatology, or, the study of last things. He called it a special branch of religion:
“It calls itself ‘eschatology,’ and broods incessantly on the passing away of all earthly things. This death cult refuses to abate, even though we have every reason to think that ‘earthly things’ are all that we have, or are ever going to have.”
How ironic that Hitchens wrote with such certainty. Even he surely knew that he didn’t have enough evidence of his own view to say that we have “every reason” to think that the Bible’s predictions of Earth’s end are fantasy.
He was making his own predictions about a future he claimed didn’t exist.
Like many people, Hitchens did not believe in the Bible’s predictive prophecy. His views on Israel were no doubt part of this, yet it’s amazing that such a mind could not see the miracle of Israel’s modern rebirth and conclude that the Bible predicted it all along. It must have rankled him that many liberal Christians shared his views on these subjects.
Hitchens, usually such a clear thinker and devastating debater, allowed his bias to trip him up on this subject. He was sure that religious people couldn’t be sure of their own beliefs! Notice the further illogic of god is not Great:
“The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species.”
But as with many skeptics who try to dismiss belief in the Bible, it was Hitchen’s thorough belief in evolutionary theory that drove his hatred of the Bible. Thus his views on origins affected his views on the future, on the afterlife.
He was sure that he was sure. In the 24 hours, religious commentators have variously written that Hitchens now knows the truth.
As far as the English rascal/writer is concerned, though, it doesn’t matter any more.
It only matters what you think about your future.