The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist is a riveting read that’s sure to spark the sort of controversy that was common to its central figure “the Contrarian.” It’s likely to expose many modern Free Thinkers as anything but as it demonstrates that their patron saint of secularism was more open minded than they care to admit. Readers will either love or hate it.
I loved it. To get a behind the scenes view into the world of the celebrated atheist known by friends as “Hitch” is fascinating. Larry’s close relationship with Christopher, particularly at the end of his life, is inspirational in a way that might be lost on some. It reminds me of the kind of relationship that George Bernard Shaw, an outspoken skeptic, and G.K. Chesterton, an equally outspoken believer, seemed to share.
What Larry does in the book is tell the story from his perspective without watering down his convictions to placate a broader audience. That’s what will make it controversial. What he doesn’t do is try to convince readers that Hitchens had a secret conversion.
The title of the book with words like faith and soul shouldn’t strike skeptics as misplaced. Larry, as a Christian, believes that Christopher’s atheism was indeed a faith commitment. It was a fundamental orientation of the heart regarding the nature of reality, a commitment that could not be verified or falsified through science. And Larry believes Christopher has a soul. That’s why faith and soul are apt descriptions. I recommend this book as a valuable exploration of both in the life of a man who described himself as an antitheist.
I interviewed Taunton about his book at Boyce College’s event “Dialogue with the Dean.” The audio s available here.