Someone I’ve never heard of named Mark Judge writes a profoundly silly article at the Daily Caller speculating that Christopher Hitchens may be headed toward converting to Christianity. The argument he offers for this conclusion is, shall we say, less than compelling.
Could Christopher Hitchens become a Christian?
It’s a possibility that doesn’t seem laughable anymore. Hitchens, the celebrated British journalist, angry atheist and roué, has a very powerful piece in the January issue of Vanity Fair. Hitchens has been in Houston undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2010.
In his essay, Hitchens rejects a popular aphorism attributed to Nietzsche: “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Hitchens had thought of the phrase at different points in his life where he narrowly escaped death — experiences told well in his memoir “Hitch-22.” After enduring chemotherapy and radiation treatments that made swallowing unbearable and left his entire body a rash, Hitchens rejects Nietzsche’s slogan. “In the brute physical world,” Hitchens writes, “and the one encompassed by medicine, there are all too many things that could kill you, don’t kill you, and then leave you considerably weaker.” Hitchens speculates that some maladies are so devastating that it may be better to have not lived, while acknowledging that sometimes we push through the pain and reach the other side glad that we hadn’t given up.
Rejecting one of the more sophomoric of Nietzsche’s aphorisms may seem small, but out of such moments are great conversions made…
Perhaps Hitchens’s admission that Nietzsche might have been wrong, even about something small, will lead him to a healthy curiosity about Christianity.
Really? That’s it? Yep, that’s it. Perhaps Judge is preparing to cast himself into the role of Lady Hope, who invented the story of Darwin’s deathbed conversion. Throughout history, few prominent non-Christians have been allowed to die without someone inventing such a story. Such stories hold no currency with intelligent people, of course, any more than the notion that there are no atheists in foxholes should be taken seriously by anyone (even if it was true). But such is the feeble wishful thinking of far too many people.
The weirdest thing about this is that someone actually published it. I can’t imagine why.