Larry Taunton, a Christian author in Birmingham, has recently made TV appearances on the right-leaning Fox News and on the left-leaning MSNBC.
Taunton’s new book on famous atheist Christopher Hitchens, who died in 2011, has gotten rave reviews from prominent atheists, and prominent Christians.
I hadn’t even heard of this book, and I doubt it will go on my reading list. I don’t care for books that are going to make me want to toss them out a window.
Their friendship became so close they went on two long road trips together, with Hitchens reading aloud from the Gospel of John on one of them.
As Hitchens suffered and died from esophageal cancer, Taunton believes he was giving Christianity a kind of final review. Hitchens, who was baptized as a child in the Church of England but declared himself an atheist and burned his Bible at 15, never recanted his atheism.
But Taunton believes Hitchens gained a new appreciation for evangelical Christians who actually believe the Bible. “For the first time in his life, he was engaging evangelical Christians,” Taunton said. “He found them to be different from the veneer of Christianity in Britain. When he began debating these evangelicals, he began to like them.”
That’s news to me, but I didn’t exactly follow what Hitchens’ was or wasn’t doing. I don’t think it’s terribly surprising that you can end up liking people you also disagree with on some issues. That happens to most people, doesn’t it?
I don’t know if I can write anything ever again that gets universal praise from both the left and the right. This book is getting quite a reaction. The reception has been so kind, no nice. The atheist Michael Schermer loved the book.”
Yeah, okay, the book is a definite skip for me.
“I discovered Christopher is not defined by his atheism,” Taunton said. “Atheism is a negative and you can’t build a philosophy around a negative. Christopher was searching for a unifying system of thought. They’re accusing me of saying he converted. I make no such claim. It’s not my claim that Christopher converted, it’s that Christopher was contemplating conversion. I think I substantiate it in the book.”
In the end, Hitchens had created too big a reputation on his atheism to convert to Christianity, Taunton said.
“Christopher was in a difficult place,” Taunton said. “He’s a dying man. He asked me why I thought he didn’t convert. I said, ‘You’ve created a global reputation as an atheist, your fortune, your reputation is based on it. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to admit you were wrong. You created a prison for yourself.'”
I’m not saying he converted! Wait, I am too saying he converted! No, just that he wanted to convert! I’d think more of this “good Christian” if he wasn’t picking the bones of the dead to make a profit. Full Article Here.
If you really want to get to know someone intimately, go on a multi-day cross-country road trip, share fine food and expensive spirits, and have open and honest conversations about the most important issues in life. And then engage them in public debate before thousands of people on those very topics. In this engrossing narrative about his friendship with the atheist activist Christopher Hitchens, the evangelical Christian Larry Taunton shows us a side of the man very few of us knew. Apparent contradictions dissolve before Taunton’s penetrating insight into the psychology of man fiercely loyal to his friends and passionately devoted to leading a life of integrity. This book should be read by every atheist and theist passionate about the truth, and by anyone who really wants to understand Hitch, one of the greatest minds and literary geniuses of our time.