Mentor #14: Sir Christopher Hitchens

I have met 3 semi-celebrities in my life: John Eldredge, Donald Miller, and Christopher Hitchens (video here).  They are celebrities as authors and speakers I admire.

A few years ago Mr. Hitchens was in St. Louis for a debate, and afterwards (through my great friend Robbie) I was able to get a drink with him and a few others from around St. Louis.  Now that Mr. Hitchens has cancer I have been approached by a few people either asking me what I think or sending me an article he has written, etc.  An old friend (who should have called me and talked for 10 minutes then just watched the end of the video) sent me this link and I finally got around to watching it.

First, I will explain why I consider him a mentor.  I respect him and his belief system.  At our table (4 Christians, 1 professor of New Testament, 1 college student, 1 pastor, and myself – seminary-student at the time) Mr. Hitchens evoked the Liar, Lunatic, Savior argument about Jesus (Quoting CS Lewis).  Then, he said it seemed clear that Jesus was a lunatic.  I have never heard the argument used except in defense of Christianity.  I told him that if I were an atheist I would want to be his kind.  He went on to say that the rest of Lewis’ arguments are shallow.  If you haven’t been around conservative evangelicals very much I don’t know if you can grasp this…  proverbial jaws fell off of hinges at that comment!   It was a fun evening.  His drink was also curious: white wine, soda, and a splash of scotch on top (Glenfiddich, white wine).  We also talked about evolution and creation, the number of people who were ‘walking dead’ in the end of Matthew’s Gospel.  It was an enjoyable evening.

Second, his depiction of cancer and chemotherapy in particular resonate with me.  “Fighting cancer” actually is the most boring process ever.  You watch poison seep into your body, you begin to feel worse, etc.  Also, I resonated with the way he handled “Did you ask, ‘why me?'”  I found the question irrelevant, although for different reasons than he did.

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