Two Utterly Different Men

Fr. Stephen had a beautiful quote on his blog yesterday (here) which, I’ll admit, I had to read twice out of, if nothing else, sheer astonishment. The reason is because its a quote from Hitchens and in it he paints a beautiful picture of the power of Christianity today, or, why Christianity is still such a powerful force in the world after all this time. My astonishment? For those of you who have not heard of the famous author and journalist you probably don’t know that he is also the leading atheist who, among other things, considers the Bible to “contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre.”

Well, when I read the quote I guess I wasn’t paying attention. Yes, it was written by Hitchens but not by the famous atheist Christopher (a name which ironically means “bearing Christ inside”) but by his, I guess not-so famous brother Peter Hitchens (at least I’ve never heard of him). Some of us might have family members who aren’t as active in the life of the Church as we might be, they might not be as perfect in attendance as us, but how would you like to have a brother known worldwide for his hatred for the Church, God, and all things related to Christianity?

Here is an intriguing  article about the two mismatched brothers or as Peter himself says “two utterly different men”. In this beautiful article Peter talks about his own rebellion against the church and faith. He then describes his return to the church which he did when he married his then girlfriend. He writes:

I was entering into my inheritance, as a Christian Englishman, as a man, and as a human being. It was the first properly grown-up thing that I had ever done.

In closing he quotes T.S. Eliot: “the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.

5 thoughts on “Two Utterly Different Men

  1. Modernity has set her sights on the cooling down of love (to absolute zero, if possible) and has been rewarded with the blindness of egotism.

    Christ is in our midst!

  2. He matches Christopher Hitchens’ arrogance and condescension, but David Bentley Hart’s Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale University Press, 2009) does a rather wicked job of debunking a lot of the New Atheists’ claims for rationality and logic. He also makes much the same argument Peter Hitchens does and that you comment on: Christianity is to be thanked for much of the good in modern society, and much of the vaunted ‘human rights’ liberals so loudly proclaim – denuded of their Christian roots, of course, or how could one win an argument against Christianity and religion?

  3. Amen, Fr. Stephen and Fr. Milovan.

    Christ knocks on the door, but it is always a miracle when the door opens, as it does, from the inside.

    Christ is in our midst!

  4. It is perhaps sadly interesting to note that atheist Christopher Hitchens was chrismated a member of the Greek Orthodox Church before marriage.

    There are some great perspectives in Peter’s article. I posted a few myself, but I also especially liked:

    “It is also my view that, as with all atheists, he is his own chief opponent. As long as he can convince himself, nobody else will persuade him. His arguments are to some extent internally coherent and are a sort of explanation – if not the best explanation – of the world and the universe.

    He often assumes that moral truths are self-evident, attributing purpose to the universe and swerving dangerously round the problem of conscience – which surely cannot be conscience if he is right since the idea of conscience depends on it being implanted by God. If there is no God then your moral qualms might just as easily be the result of indigestion.

    Yet Christopher is astonishingly unable to grasp that these assumptions are problems for his argument. This inability closes his mind to a great part of the debate, and so makes his atheist faith insuperable for as long as he himself chooses to accept it.

    …I am not hoping for a late conversion because he has won the battle against cigarettes. He has bricked himself up high in his atheist tower, with slits instead of windows from which to shoot arrows at the faithful, and would find it rather hard to climb down out of it.

    I have, however, the more modest hope that he might one day arrive at some sort of acceptance that belief in God is not necessarily a character fault, and that religion does not poison everything.”

  5. Fr. Milovan,
    Thank you for running this link as well. My wife first brought it to my attention. Many of our readers within our culture come from divided families – not just divided between Orthodoxy and some heterodox form of the faith – but between faith and unbelief. Of course, this is also true within tradition areas of the Orthodox world. I think it is a particular burden which a believer carries (the weight of his brother’s unbelief). But faith has a much stronger back than unbelief. I pray God bless his servant Peter, to bear his brother well, and, by God’s grace, to bear him all the way to the Kingdom. I pray that each of us has the grace of God to bear as many as we can carry with us and that together we may meet around God’s good and gracious table in His kingdom.

    May the rest of your Lent be filled with grace. Pray for me a sinner, and carry me in your heart, if you will.

    Fr. Stephen

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