Lessons for evagelicals from Christopher Hitchens

1. Hitchens understood the power of ideas, and he never left a field of intellectual combat without giving his best.

Even as a boy, Christopher Hitchens understood that ideas matter. This conviction was only deepened as he was educated at Oxford University and then, as both journalist and public intellectual, entered the fray of public debate. He never ran from an idea, nor from the responsibility to defend and refine that idea in the combat of intellectual engagement. In his view, ideas rule the world, and he was determined to give his all to the cause of making certain that the superior ideas, in his view, triumphed over the inferior ideas. He never surrendered an idea with a shrug, though he was, on some issues, ready to change his mind, and to stand against his former intellectual allies…

3. Hitchens was a man of passion and personal intensity, and he made friends across ideological boundaries.

He was, as Tom Wolfe might describe him, a man in full. His passions were fully in view, if sometimes too much so. He delighted in human company, and made friends around the world. He had a host of Christian friends, including many who had debated him. He was never boring, always interesting, and just about everyone who knew him seems to recall his personal warmth and conviviality. At the very least, even when he attacked Christianity, he did not cut himself off from all Christians.