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Christopher Hitchens, My Son and a Story

christopher hitchens
Christopher Hitchens

Guest post by Logan.  You can read his blog at Life After 40: Reflections on Life and Faith After 40.

I heard today that Christopher Hitchens died on this date [December 16] back in 2011. I was technically still a Christian at that time. But today, I am very grateful for the impact that Hitchens made on me, my oldest son and the world. He is missed.

With this being an anniversary of sorts, I thought I’d share a little story that involves Christopher Hitchens, my son and the start of my journey.

The year was 2009. I discovered that my oldest son had bought and read Hitchens’ book entitled God is Not Great. As a Christian, I was offended. “What!? How dare this man write a book with such a title!” I also certainly didn’t like the notion that “religion poisons everything”.

After discovering the book in my son’s room, I lightly skimmed it but I was literally too scared to seriously read it. I feared for my soul and the potential influence of the book.

So what did I do?

Using a poor attempt at humor, I printed up a fake book cover entitled “Atheism, And the Morons who believe it” with a fictional author name of “I.B. Wright”. I put the fake cover over a Scott Adams’ book (probably a Dilbert book).*

I wrote something stupid on the back page cover too, a feeble attempt to support my revised book title. I left my creative work in my son’s room for him to admire.

So what happened?

My son took a picture of my handiwork and posted it to the atheism group on reddit.

atheism morons who believe it

His post got over 1000 points, which in the Reddit world, is quite a lot. I didn’t know about the Reddit posting for quite a while, but after discovering it and reading through the comments, I was skewered. Severely. And rightly so.

The text I put on my back cover said: “In Mr. Wright’s latest book, I.B. shows that God is truly good and that through His son, Jesus, the world was rocked by a mere three years of ministry that culminated in Christ rising from the dead, which skeptics have been unable to disprove or rationally dispute.”

I look back on all of this with embarrassment. Unfortunately, indoctrination shuts off critical thinking, and I was very indoctrinated during my early years. I’m just grateful now that my son didn’t hide his change in beliefs and that eventually, I broke the spell. And as Christopher Hitchens said so well, religion poisons everything.

Tonight I will raise a glass to the late Hitchens.

* It was ironic for me to use a Scott Adams book since Mr. Adams is an atheist (which I didn’t realize at the time).

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