Christopher Hitchens, atheist writer, dies: A roundup of reactions

Christopher Hitchens, the famous writer and polemicist whose later years were known for his fierce arguments against religious belief, died of cancer on December 15, 2011 at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 62 and was a leader in the New Atheist movement. His best-known book on unbelief is his 2007 work, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. His death was mourned in the growing ranks of atheists, agnostics, humanists and freethinkers. 

Hitchens had a regular column in Vanity Fair, and he continued to write as his struggle with cancer progressed. In fact, his last column for Vanity Fair attacked the philosophy behind the adage, attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, that “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Hitchens’ tone in that column led one writer to speculate that Hitchens was preparing to embrace religious belief, something Hitchens expressly said he would not do at the end of his life, and a suggestion that was rejected by many believers and nonbelievers alike.

ReligionLink will maintain a roundup of links to those stories and more.

Hitchens and mortality

Tributes, responses from freethinker community

Reactions from others

  • “In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011”

    Read a column by Peter Hitchens, who is a devout Anglican and apologist for Christianity. Hitchens remembers his brother Christopher and reflects on how their views on faith — and other matters — divided and united them.

  • “Could Christopher Hitchens be in heaven?”

    Read an essay by Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary reflecting on Christopher Hitchens’ death.

  • “My Take: An evangelical remembers his friend Hitchens”

    Read a column at by Larry Alex Taunton, a Christian apologist and head of the Fixed Point Foundation who frequently debated Christopher Hitchens on religion. Taunton reflects on Hitchens’ death.

  • “The Tenth Man”

    At The Tablet, the online Jewish periodical, Marc Tracy explores how Christopher Hitchens’ late-in-life discovery of his Jewish roots affected his writing.

  • “The Believer’s Atheist”

    Read a column by New York Times op-ed writer Ross Douthat reflecting on Christopher Hitchens’ life.

  • “Hitchens on his way”

    Read a column at the Spiritual Politics blog by Mark Silk about Christopher Hitchens. Silk writes about Hitchens as “America’s favorite atheist” and about the affection so many people of faith had for him.

  • “Christopher Hitchens: A humanist at heart”

    Read Washington Post columnist and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson’s tribute to Christopher Hitchens written more than a year before Hitchens’ death.

  • “Remembering Christopher Hitchens”

    Read Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s remembrance of Christopher Hitchens at The Forward.

  • “Christopher Hitchens Has Died, Doug Wilson Reflects”

    Douglas Wilson, who participated in a series of debates with Hitchens in 2007, reflected on the death with an essay posted by Christianity Today.

  • “Benjamin McNutt: Remembering Hitchens, a round-up”

    The Call & Response blog at Duke Divinity School’s website has a round-up of reactions to Christopher Hitchens’ death.

  • “Regarding Christopher”

    Read a column from The Nation, the liberal periodical where Hitchens wrote before he broke with that camp, in which Katha Pollitt tempers some of the praise with critical recollections of Hitchens’ drinking, writing and approach to women.

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