I want to use this first post to express my gratitude to the first of “The Four Horsemen of Modern Atheism” that I became aware of, and the one through which I was able to understand the anger and resentment I continue to feel toward religion, Christopher Hitchens. Today, April 13, 2012, would have been Hitch’s 63rd birthday.
My affinity for Hitchens’ work began when I first heard the title of his book God is Not Great. I had come to terms with my own lack of belief in the christian god (and all gods, for that matter) but was not inclined to be particularly vocal about it, given the family I was raised in and the nature of life in America. But here was a guy with balls the size of grapefruits saying not only that he didn’t believe, but additionally that God is not deserving of the adoration Christians give him. I had to check this book out…literally. I went to the library and picked up a copy. Now, I consider myself an intelligent, literate dude, but Hitchens’ work was more than I was prepared for as a casual read. I ended up getting the book in audio format. Life changing book. Every chapter had many reaffirming ideas in it. For the first time in my recovery from faith, I felt like I wasn’t alone.
That book led me to search the YouTube for Hitchens, which, of course, introduced me to the myriad debates that he participated in on the subject of the existence of God, the morality of religion, and more. If you are reading this blog, you’ve likely seen all the same debates I have. Brilliant. I didn’t see a single one in which I thought, “Well, I don’t know. That (insert religious title here) really scored some points with that argument.” Hitch destroyed them all.
Those debates introduced me to Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, the remaining three Horsemen. These four men continue to help me in my journey of recovery. Hitchens opened the door of the growing global atheist community to me. The loss of Hitch to cancer in 2011 was an emotional one for the atheist (or as he might say, and I often do, ‘anti-theist’) movement. He was a brash, argumentative, brilliant man who made it okay for me, personally, to directly and publicly confront and challenge religious ideology. Now you know who to blame.
Thank you, Chris. I miss you.