Christopher Hitchens, who passed away Thursday, Dec. 15, may have been a noted atheist, but those who knew him remember his wit and intelligence the most, according to the many tributes written about him in various publications today.
Among those mourning “Hitch,” are Christian figures, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who debated the intellectual atheist on religion and morality in 2007.
During the debate, Sharpton argued that God must exist because without God, there would be no morality. Hitchens disagreed, arguing that rather than creating morality, God, and religion in general, corrupts the innate morality that is within all of human beings.
“When you see something otherwise surprising to you, such as a good person acting in a wicked manner, it's very often that they believe they're under divine orders to do so,” Hitchens argued. “Steven Weinberg puts it very well. He says, 'Good people do good things. Evil people do evil things. If you want a good person to do an evil thing, that takes religion.'”
Despite their disagreements, Sharton has deep respect for Hitchens and told The Christian Post Friday what he thinks about the passing of the man who authored God is Not Great.
“I found him very intelligent. He was certainly an intellectual of the highest order, but we vehemently disagreed on issues of faith,” Sharpton told CP. “And I think that even though he was a nonbeliever I could love and respect him despite that I felt he did not believe in the principles that I guide my life by and the things I believed in.”
Sharpton continued: “I would only have wished that he would have had a different view before his passing, but I give my condolences to his family and I would hope that his intellectual and literary contributions could be regarded and respected even though on the theological side, I might disagree with them. I think we can disagree without being disagreeable.”
Hitchens passed away on Thursday due to pneumonia, as a result of complications from esophageal cancer. He was 62.