Two brothers, one atheist and the other Christian

Christopher Hitchens is currently one of the major evangelists (if one can use that word) for atheism.  His brother Peter, though, another British journalist, is a Christian.  You have got to read Peter’s account of how he changed from atheism to Christianity and how he now gets along with his brother:

How I found God and peace with my atheist brother: PETER HITCHENS traces his journey back to Christianity | Mail Online.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    This gets to the very heart of the mystery of conversion/election–the question of why some and not others. If we believe, it is solely on account of the work of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t believe, it is only our own fault. Peter didn’t say so, but I bet he is praying mightily for Christopher’s conversion.

  • Jonathan

    This gets to the very heart of the mystery of conversion/election–the question of why some and not others. If we believe, it is solely on account of the work of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t believe, it is only our own fault. Peter didn’t say so, but I bet he is praying mightily for Christopher’s conversion.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The picture with the article is interesting. Christopher looks haggard and troubled; Peter looks serious and somewhat serene.

    Christopher’s book God is Not Great is essentially an angry rant that comes from a rather despairing alcoholic. Compared to serious anti-Christian works it lacks, for example, Gibbons grace and felicity and Voltaire’s depth.

    Peter’s article reflects the influence of his Christianity and delight at patching things up with his brother. I agree with Jonathan that Peter probably hopes and prays that the influence of the Holy Spirit, so important to him, will come to Christopher.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The picture with the article is interesting. Christopher looks haggard and troubled; Peter looks serious and somewhat serene.

    Christopher’s book God is Not Great is essentially an angry rant that comes from a rather despairing alcoholic. Compared to serious anti-Christian works it lacks, for example, Gibbons grace and felicity and Voltaire’s depth.

    Peter’s article reflects the influence of his Christianity and delight at patching things up with his brother. I agree with Jonathan that Peter probably hopes and prays that the influence of the Holy Spirit, so important to him, will come to Christopher.

  • DonS

    I would not be a bit surprised at Christopher’s eventual conversion. He has a brother faithfully praying for him, and he is confronting his rejection of Christ head-on, rather than by mere neglect, as most do. Not so unlike Saul of Tarsus.

  • DonS

    I would not be a bit surprised at Christopher’s eventual conversion. He has a brother faithfully praying for him, and he is confronting his rejection of Christ head-on, rather than by mere neglect, as most do. Not so unlike Saul of Tarsus.

  • Jonathan

    It is also very evident in Peter’s piece how it was the Means of Grace through which the Holy Spirit worked the conversion in him. The Word, both law and gospel preached to him (in artwork, in hymns), and the sacraments, Holy Baptism (daughter and wife) and the Lord’s Supper (as he mentioned the “altar and rail.”)

  • Jonathan

    It is also very evident in Peter’s piece how it was the Means of Grace through which the Holy Spirit worked the conversion in him. The Word, both law and gospel preached to him (in artwork, in hymns), and the sacraments, Holy Baptism (daughter and wife) and the Lord’s Supper (as he mentioned the “altar and rail.”)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Interesting. Peter Hitchens managed to write 3300+ words about his faith and somehow, as far as I can tell, managed to completely avoid the topic of grace, forgiveness, or even sin (beyond a simple discussion of morality) — or, for that matter, the person and work of Christ.

    Hopefully, of course, Peter’s understanding of Christ goes beyond what he has written here, but I would like to suggest some caution in treating this man as more than what his own words suggest.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Interesting. Peter Hitchens managed to write 3300+ words about his faith and somehow, as far as I can tell, managed to completely avoid the topic of grace, forgiveness, or even sin (beyond a simple discussion of morality) — or, for that matter, the person and work of Christ.

    Hopefully, of course, Peter’s understanding of Christ goes beyond what he has written here, but I would like to suggest some caution in treating this man as more than what his own words suggest.

  • Andy

    tODD, interesting. Well worth it to compare yesterday’s reaction to Yousef, the ex-Muslim, with today’s to Hitchens.

  • Andy

    tODD, interesting. Well worth it to compare yesterday’s reaction to Yousef, the ex-Muslim, with today’s to Hitchens.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Peter Hitchens, being a sophisticated British Christian, a graduate of Oxford, would not be one to wear his religion on his sleeve, especially in an article about his relationship with his brother.

    Mr, Hitchens is a quite devout orthodox Christian who has had the courage in a dominant politically correct British culture to affirm his Christianity and opposition to the assorted pieties of social and political liberals. A reading of his book The Abolition of Britain would dispel any carping about the depth of his devoutness. Questioning his Christian faith could only come risibly from a provincial, American Christian who knows little about the man.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Peter Hitchens, being a sophisticated British Christian, a graduate of Oxford, would not be one to wear his religion on his sleeve, especially in an article about his relationship with his brother.

    Mr, Hitchens is a quite devout orthodox Christian who has had the courage in a dominant politically correct British culture to affirm his Christianity and opposition to the assorted pieties of social and political liberals. A reading of his book The Abolition of Britain would dispel any carping about the depth of his devoutness. Questioning his Christian faith could only come risibly from a provincial, American Christian who knows little about the man.

  • Andy

    Leavitt, I’m entertained, in so many of your comments, by what appears to be your ability to read someone’s mind. Here, you’ve conducted the thoughts both of P. Hitches, the sophisticated Oxfordian who keeps his religion close to the vest, especially when he talks about brother Chris, and young tODD, the provincial who knows little about said sophisticated Brit.

  • Andy

    Leavitt, I’m entertained, in so many of your comments, by what appears to be your ability to read someone’s mind. Here, you’ve conducted the thoughts both of P. Hitches, the sophisticated Oxfordian who keeps his religion close to the vest, especially when he talks about brother Chris, and young tODD, the provincial who knows little about said sophisticated Brit.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@7), come now, you’re not even trying. First you claim that Peter Hitchens “would not be one to wear his religion on his sleeve, especially in an article about his relationship with his brother.” Yeah, um, try again. The article is titled “How I found God and peace with my atheist brother: PETER HITCHENS traces his journey back to Christianity“. How did you manage to miss that? The article is about his faith, and what’s more, the man has written a book on the topic, and yet somehow you claim beyond all evidence that he’s not “one to wear his religion on his sleeve”.

    Though you then go on in the next paragraph and contradict yourself, anyhow, noting that P. Hitchens has “had the courage in a dominant politically correct British culture to affirm his Christianity” — but apparently without “wearing his religion on his sleeve”. Neat trick, that. What, exactly, is your position here?

    I find an odd trend in Christian circles to play up conversion stories as if they always bolstered our own personal ideas, no matter what the person involved actually manages to say.

    But then, as Andy noted (@8), I do lack your gift of clairvoyance, risible provincial that I am.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@7), come now, you’re not even trying. First you claim that Peter Hitchens “would not be one to wear his religion on his sleeve, especially in an article about his relationship with his brother.” Yeah, um, try again. The article is titled “How I found God and peace with my atheist brother: PETER HITCHENS traces his journey back to Christianity“. How did you manage to miss that? The article is about his faith, and what’s more, the man has written a book on the topic, and yet somehow you claim beyond all evidence that he’s not “one to wear his religion on his sleeve”.

    Though you then go on in the next paragraph and contradict yourself, anyhow, noting that P. Hitchens has “had the courage in a dominant politically correct British culture to affirm his Christianity” — but apparently without “wearing his religion on his sleeve”. Neat trick, that. What, exactly, is your position here?

    I find an odd trend in Christian circles to play up conversion stories as if they always bolstered our own personal ideas, no matter what the person involved actually manages to say.

    But then, as Andy noted (@8), I do lack your gift of clairvoyance, risible provincial that I am.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, before pontificating about or questioning Peter Hitchen’s faith, you might read at least one of his books, The Abolition of Man or the Abolition of Liberty, both of which make clear the depth of his Christian devoutness and his opposition to social and political liberal pieties. Pete Hitchens is actually one of the better Christian apologists of our time. Knowledgeable Christians would do well to pay attention to him

    His is not your ordinary sentimental Christian conversion told on Oprah; rather, very much like C.S. Lewis, he came through a difficult process to a profound conversion to Christian faith that he articulates well in his books and life.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, before pontificating about or questioning Peter Hitchen’s faith, you might read at least one of his books, The Abolition of Man or the Abolition of Liberty, both of which make clear the depth of his Christian devoutness and his opposition to social and political liberal pieties. Pete Hitchens is actually one of the better Christian apologists of our time. Knowledgeable Christians would do well to pay attention to him

    His is not your ordinary sentimental Christian conversion told on Oprah; rather, very much like C.S. Lewis, he came through a difficult process to a profound conversion to Christian faith that he articulates well in his books and life.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@10), Lewis wrote The Abolition of Man. Hitchens wrote The Abolition of Britain, as well as A Brief History of Crime, which was later re-titled The Abolition of Liberty.

    Anyhow, if either or both of these books “make clear the depth of his Christian devoutness”, it makes your claim that Hitchens “would not be one to wear his religion on his sleeve” all the more ridiculous. I can only take your word for it that in those books, he displays a better understanding of Christianity than he does in this article (the first work of his I’ve read), though having read summaries of those books, which largely seem to function as conservative polemics, I wonder how, exactly, he works in the topic of grace, forgiveness, sin, or the person and work of Christ.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@10), Lewis wrote The Abolition of Man. Hitchens wrote The Abolition of Britain, as well as A Brief History of Crime, which was later re-titled The Abolition of Liberty.

    Anyhow, if either or both of these books “make clear the depth of his Christian devoutness”, it makes your claim that Hitchens “would not be one to wear his religion on his sleeve” all the more ridiculous. I can only take your word for it that in those books, he displays a better understanding of Christianity than he does in this article (the first work of his I’ve read), though having read summaries of those books, which largely seem to function as conservative polemics, I wonder how, exactly, he works in the topic of grace, forgiveness, sin, or the person and work of Christ.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, both of Peter Hitchen’s books go into the depth of his Christian belief. Serious Christians, whether in articles or in conversation with people in secular society, become boorish if they wear their faith on their sleeve.

    If you insist on some evidence, read the, as usual, shallow Wiki article on Peter Hitchens that includes the following:

    Hitchens is an Anglican, and he defends the use of the Church of England’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised (or King James) version of the Bible not only because he believes they are beautiful and memorable, but also because he feels that they are the indispensable foundations of Anglicanism’s “powerful combination of scripture, tradition and reason”. However he opposes the liberal positions of the current Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, both of Peter Hitchen’s books go into the depth of his Christian belief. Serious Christians, whether in articles or in conversation with people in secular society, become boorish if they wear their faith on their sleeve.

    If you insist on some evidence, read the, as usual, shallow Wiki article on Peter Hitchens that includes the following:

    Hitchens is an Anglican, and he defends the use of the Church of England’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised (or King James) version of the Bible not only because he believes they are beautiful and memorable, but also because he feels that they are the indispensable foundations of Anglicanism’s “powerful combination of scripture, tradition and reason”. However he opposes the liberal positions of the current Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

  • A.D.P.

    Actually, he does mention his own sin-
    “My large catalogue of misdeeds replayed themselves rapidly in my head. I had absolutely no doubt that I was among the damned, if there were any damned. Van der Weyden was still earning his fee, nearly 500 years after his death.” This rings true to how the Holy Spirit convicts sinners.

    He does, however, rather neatly avoid discussing the person and work of Christ. I think that this is because the article wasn’t intended to evangelize, but to convince people that a reasonable person can indeed be a Christian. He realizes- maybe subconsciously- that there is no part of the Christian faith more offensive to pagans than the cross itself, and doesn’t want them to write him off as a religious fanatic. That’s my take on it, anyway.

  • A.D.P.

    Actually, he does mention his own sin-
    “My large catalogue of misdeeds replayed themselves rapidly in my head. I had absolutely no doubt that I was among the damned, if there were any damned. Van der Weyden was still earning his fee, nearly 500 years after his death.” This rings true to how the Holy Spirit convicts sinners.

    He does, however, rather neatly avoid discussing the person and work of Christ. I think that this is because the article wasn’t intended to evangelize, but to convince people that a reasonable person can indeed be a Christian. He realizes- maybe subconsciously- that there is no part of the Christian faith more offensive to pagans than the cross itself, and doesn’t want them to write him off as a religious fanatic. That’s my take on it, anyway.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    It seems a little more subtle and gentle apologetics, which seems to have its place in my mind, hence his emphasis on art, etc. Everyone has their own approach and he is just using his.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    It seems a little more subtle and gentle apologetics, which seems to have its place in my mind, hence his emphasis on art, etc. Everyone has their own approach and he is just using his.


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