Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Rage against God

I first became aware of Peter Hitchens through his appearances on Question Time. He is a right-wing columnist, author and international journalist and he writes a column for the Daily Mail. He very often says things that offend audiences. Now at this point, you may have already stopped reading but please don't.

Peter Hitchens has written a book about God. The reason for writing it seems to be to contradict and challenge the views of the primary nemesis in his life- his brother Christopher. Christopher, probably the better known of the two, has become famous as one of the New-atheist's. He has also written a book called God is not great and has made a movie with Doug Wilson called Collision.

The Rage against God is not an apologetic nor is it a work of theology, it is a spiritual life story. I can't see Christopher falling to his knees in repentance due to his brother's argument but, as I have witnessed on many occasions, the story his brother tells may soften his heart a little. Peter tells of his rejection of God at the age of 15 and his ceremonial burning of a KJV Bible and then his earnest pursuit of Marxism as the answer to the world's woes. His heart begun to change age 30 on holiday while looking at Roger Van de Weyden's Last Judgement.

Peter Hitchens talks often about 'religion' and very little (unless I missed it) does he speak of Jesus. He loves church buildings and hymns and tradition but aside from his art gallery moment it is not clear how his spiritual encounter has worked itself out in his life. I enjoyed this book for a very particular reason that will most likely be less interesting to you. Hitchens uses as his main argument in favour of God the example of the failed atheism of Russia in the 20th Century. He lived in Moscow for many years , as did I (seemingly at the same time though we never met), so his story-telling on this had great resonance with me.

Sometimes I don't finish books but I did finish this one. I am glad I did too. On the very last page, Peter describes a simple meal he had with his brother in Washington DC. Through this meal he comes at last to a place of peace with his brother and lays down the war he has fought with him for nearly 60 years. Maybe this is the moment I had been seeking for all the way through the book, a Jesus moment. I think I found it and it really moved me.

You can watch the story of the book here .

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