Skip to main content

Prayer for a Dead Atheist

It was with sadness that I read about the death of famed atheist Christopher Hitchens who died after a battle with cancer on Thursday December 15th. As a Christian and a very flawed one at that, my “natural” instinct was to muse about how Mr. Hitchens is now face to face with the test of his theory of atheism. However I find myself praying for him and what he actually did with his waning days than anything else.

Not many people are given an opportunity by God to basically know for some time that they are about to die before the actual moment of death. For most, death comes unexpectedly i.e. accidents, violence etc. rather than via protracted illness the latter stages of which are spent in Hospice care. According to the Bible, for those who die with minimal or little warning, a life lived apart from accepting salvation through Christ is followed in rapid fashion by death and then judgment from God on that life: …as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27 NIV).

Later in his life, Christopher Hitchens did not come across to me as an arrogant God-bashing atheist. Instead, he appeared to be an intellectually prideful, but thoughtful, God-bashing atheist – and that is meant as a relative compliment (as atheists go). My prayer however is that as God “sat him down” as it were, this gift of thoughtfulness when faced with the naked reality of death, unencumbered by having to keep up appearances for the unbelieving world, would have caused him to turn that intellectual capacity towards an honest evaluation of the offer presented by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, God does not appear to give most unsaved sinners this option. It is a loving God’s final act of mercy to one who has rejected him entirely in life. The Bible does indeed state, …the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 NIV) The Lord absolutely wanted Christopher Hitchens to come to repentance. I pray that he did during the quiet time afforded to him by God’s mercy. It is interesting to note that the pure and absolute truth that is the Bible follows the merciful scripture listed previously with this next one: But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. (2 Peter 3:10) The unexpected day of the Lord for virtually all human beings is death…the end of their natural life. Mr. Hitchens experienced the truth of that scripture yesterday. People may demean the Bible consistently, however this scripture is pure truth that is irrefutable. Death is appointed to all. No disbelief in God can change that reality.

This issue ultimately comes down to the question: is it better to live for Christ and find out when you die that you were wrong or to live against Christ and find out when you die that you were wrong? Is it worse to be considered a fool by man in this life or a fool by God in the next one?

It is ironic that on this day as I was contemplating the eventual outcome of Christopher Hitchens’ life, I was greeted with the following daily devotional from the Love Worth Finding Ministry in my email inbox:

Just Passing Through

BIBLE MEDITATION:“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:17

The only thing that is going to last are the things of God. Period. 

The world is passing away. Our days are fleeting. One day we will all be gone from this earth as we know it. You see, we’re not citizens of earth trying to get to heaven. We are citizens of heaven sojourning here on earth. This earth is not our home.

Are you living for the pleasures of the flesh? Or for the joy of the Spirit? 
Are you living for the praise of men? Or for the glory of God? 
Are you living for time? Or are you living for eternity? 
Are you living for the things that can be seen? Or for the things that cannot be seen?

One of these days, this old world and all of its vaulted culture, proud philosophies, egocentric intellectualism, and godless materialism is going to be forgotten. But he that “doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Take stock: What are you really living for?


Popular posts from this blog

Funerals for the Unsaved or Unbelievers

I am not a leader of a church, but I oftentimes wonder how does one lead a funeral service for someone who dies without knowing Jesus Christ as Lord? Admittedly I have not been to many funerals in my lifetime, though they are appearing to come more frequently lately, but the fact is that funerals are held daily throughout the world and as such this is a pertinent question to someone just about every day.

I’ve been to the funeral where the person lived a fairly routine life, taking care of their families and other responsibilities as best they could, paying taxes and doing the average things that we as human beings do on a consistent basis. They however had no visible relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. When this person dies, the surviving family members are oftentimes left scrambling trying to find a person and a place to officiate the funeral services – generally because the deceased did not have a regular church that they attended. Funeral homes sometimes serve this f…

Scripture: Are You a Wheat or Weed?

(Matthew 23: 24-30 NIV): Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

(Matthew 23: 36-43 NIV): Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The…

Hal Lindsay off TBN

Christian author and broadcaster Hal Lindsay removed his weekly Christian television news broadcast "The International Intelligence Briefing" from the programming lineup on The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after network officials notified him that his shows would now be subject to pre-screening for censorship prior to broadcast approval. This unusual step was the result of TBN’s disapproval of a Lindsay broadcast in December 2005, which the network said was too inflammatory towards Muslims.

I have reviewed the transcript of Mr. Lindsay's broadcast and I find nothing in it’s content that is not backed up by God’s scripture, nor did I find anything that would be considered overly zealous or purposefully sensational with respect to potential attacks on Muslims. To the extent that TBN, one of the most widely available Christian TV networks would take this position is quite incredulous. One of the reasons for the need for ‘Christian’ TV networks is to enable the presenta…