Hitchens at the Horns of the Altar

Today at Mere Orthodoxy I have a review of the new book The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist. It’s by Larry Taunton, a Christian and an academic who became close with Hitchens in the last few years of his life.

Part intellectual biography, part spiritual memoir, part “road trip,” Taunton’s book is a pleasure. Here’s an excerpt from my review:

September 11 may not have been have been Hitchens’s Damascus Road moment, but it did much to disarm his innate hostility to those outside his ideological family tree. By pivoting to the right on terror, Hitchens was forced to doubt the categorical identity politics that so often dominate American discourse. This doubt—this shaken faith in the inherited doctrines of the Left—created the space into which Christian friendship, and Taunton himself, entered….

…What Taunton accomplishes here is marvelous, equally for what it is not as much as it what it is. It is not the melodrama of an unbeliever humbled to submission by either his reading or his inner demons. Neither is Taunton’s work a shrine to the value of apologetics. Rather, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens is that most difficult, and most valuable, of memoirs: A record of virtue and of vice, of faith and faithlessness.

You can read the whole review at Mere Orthodoxy.