Dying Christopher Hitchens considered Christianity, new book claims

Print More
“The Faith of Christopher Hitchens,” by Larry Alex Taunton. Photo courtesy of Fixed Point Foundation

“The Faith of Christopher Hitchens,” by Larry Alex Taunton. Photo courtesy of Fixed Point Foundation

(RNS) Before his death at 62, Christopher Hitchens, the uber-atheist and best-selling author of “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” considered becoming a Christian.

That is the provocative claim of “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist,” a controversial new book winning both applause and scorn while underscoring, again, the divide between believers and atheists that Hitchens’ own life and work often displayed.

The author is Larry Alex Taunton, an evangelical Christian who knew Hitchens for three years and, he says, had private, unrecorded conversations with him about Christianity.

Those 2010 conversations, shortly after Hitchens was diagnosed with the esophageal cancer that would kill him 18 months later, took a serious turn.

Once, he asked Taunton if his friend understood why he, Hitchens, did not believe in God.

“His tone was marked by a sincerity that wasn’t typical of the man,” Taunton writes. “Not on this subject anyway. A lifetime of rebellion against God had brought him to a moment where he was staring into the depths of eternity, teetering on the edge of belief.”

Larry Alex Taunton, an evangelical Christian who authored "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World's Most Notorious Atheist.” Photo courtesy of Fixed Point Foundation

Larry Alex Taunton, an evangelical Christian who authored “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist.” Photo courtesy of Fixed Point Foundation

Taunton, 48, founder of Fixed Point Foundation, an organization that defends Christianity, acknowledges in the book there are “no reports of a deathbed conversion” for Hitchens.

But Taunton writes that during the same time period, “Christopher had doubts … and those doubts led him to seek out Christians and contemplate, among other things, religious conversion.”

“At the end of his life, Christopher’s searches had brought him willingly, if secretly, to the altar,” Taunton writes at the end of the book. “Precisely what he did there, no one knows.”

The book, published by Christian publishing house Thomas Nelson, is proving popular among evangelicals, winning praise from Douglas Wilson, another of Hitchens’ Christian friends and debate partners, and from Chris Matthews, a Catholic, who said during an interview with Taunton on his MSNBC show, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” that the book is “beautifully written.”

But among members of Hitchens’ inner circle, the book’s claims that Hitchens was too famous an atheist to admit his late-in-life change of heart, that he was privately “entering forbidden territory, crossing enemy lines, exploring what he had ignored or misrepresented for so long,” are getting a decidedly different reception.

Steve Wasserman, who was Hitchens’ friend for 30 years, co-executor of his estate and with Hitchens’ family at his death, called the book’s claims “petty” and “appalling” when they were read to him.

“I am not in the position to dispute what Taunton says were private conversations,” he said by phone from New Haven, Conn., where he is executive editor-at-large for Yale University Press. “But I really think it is a shabby business. It reveals a lack of respect. This is not a way to debate Christopher Hitchens’ beliefs — to report unverifiable conversations, which amazingly contradict everything Christopher Hitchens ever said or stood for.”

Benjamin Schwarz, Hitchens’ editor at The Atlantic, where he published some of his best work, said, “That Christopher had friends who were evangelicals is testimony to his intellectual tolerance and largeness of heart, not to any covert religiosity.”

And Michael Shermer, an atheist and founder of Skeptic magazine, who read the book’s manuscript and liked its description of the friendship between the two men — enough to give it a favorable jacket blurb — said Taunton’s claims of Hitchens’ flirtation with conversion were “exaggerated.”

Reached by phone at his home in Birmingham, Ala., Taunton stood firm in the face of such criticism. Asked about the fairness of publishing such claims about Hitchens after his death, he said: “The things that I relate, I think by and large I substantiate. What I am saying is this: If Christopher Hitchens is a lock, the tumblers don’t line up with the atheist key and that upsets a lot of atheists. They want Christopher Hitchens to be defined by his atheism, and he wasn’t.”

Taunton first met Hitchens in 2008 in Edinburgh, Scotland, where both were involved in a debate about religion. Hitchens famously said he would debate anyone, and Taunton often arranged and moderated debates between Hitchens and noteworthy Christians.

The two men became friends and spoke warmly of each other in public — Hitchens once said in an interview, “If everyone in the United States had the same qualities of loyalty and care and concern for others that Larry Taunton has, we’d be living in a much better society than we do.”

Taunton writes of his deep concern for Hitchens — for both his soul and his physical well-being. The two took two cross-country road trips after Hitchens became ill, and Taunton’s recollections of those trips and the conversations they had — untaped and unwitnessed by anyone else — form the heart of the book.

“I would say to any would-be critics, read the book,” Taunton said. “You will see that this a gentle treatment of Christopher Hitchens, far more gentle than his (book-length) assaults on the Clintons or Mother Teresa. I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt.” 

Hitchens tried to ensure that anyone claiming he turned to religion at the end of his life would be discredited. In 2010, he made a video with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in which he said, “In the event of anyone ever hearing or reading a rumor of such a thing, it would not have been made by me. … No one recognizable as myself would ever make such a ridiculous remark.”

  • Joe Cogan

    Hitch fully expected this sort of claim to happen post mortem, and wrote before he died not to believe any deathbed conversion tales.

  • Sure he considered Christianity. He considered it beneath contempt, despicable, immoral.

  • ThunderRoad66

    Typical of the religious: lying to prop up their way of thinking.

  • LeftOCenter

    I’m not buying it, the book or the story.

  • Hitchens was prescient. He knew that theists would crop up after his passing to announce he’d undergone a “deathbed conversion.” He also warned that any such pronouncement would be a lie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgCq2T-v-Mo

    I continue to be amazed at the number of supposedly devout Christians who have no shame and who will freely and willfully lie in order to promote their religionism. Because Jesus. I guess.

  • StarTrekLivz

    This is EXACTLY what Hitchens warned about, that Christians would try to claim he had made a death-bed conversion when such a thing was furthest from his mind

  • colleend219

    Its shameful to use a friendship to try to sell books. So much for Christian ethics.

  • simon

    They always have the excuse they are not lying. It is called deeply held belief and personal revelation. It will disappear in thin air once it is shared or exposed.

  • news guy

    Like yourself?

  • news guy

    You must be speaking from your own experience… 🙂

  • James

    ^^^ Childish, grade school retort.

  • Hitchens specifically warned people NOT to believe any B.S. like this.

  • Scott Myers

    What a crock of shite.

  • ThunderRoad66

    I am, I see it all the time from christians.

  • ThunderRoad66

    I think Ramon may feel like Hitch did, so your answer is yes.

  • Psygn

    Hitchens prophesied religious deceivers would make these types of dishonest claims after he was no longer alive to refute them.

    Without lies and deception religion would collapse.

  • muffler

    So it seems it takes a book to prove something where there is no direct evidence to prove it. Contrary to the book CH has a lifetime that says otherwise in print, action and video to offer as evidence against the book. Maybe the author should spend time trying to prove the Bible, because that makes unsubstantiated claims, but in its case the burden of proof isn’t required. CH has demanded that the proof be shown before anyone should accept the claim. So far – crickets!

  • oldnavy

    You cannot listen to what Hitchens himself says and then give any credence whatsoever to what some book-selling Thumper wrote. Taunton should excise the word “ethical” from his personal vocabulary.

  • SecularHumanist199

    I have absolutely NO reason to believe in god, and I haven’t written about it or spent as much time thinking about it as Hitchens. I doubt very highly that any of the things heard by Taunton actually meant that Hitch was considering “turning to religion” in any way. I suspect that it is pure projection on Taunton’s part. If I were to find out tomorrow that I had terminal cancer, the LAST thing I would possibly contemplate is that some bronze age myths would provide any hope or solace in my death.

    Since I was raised Jewish I never bought into the whole “original sin” nonsense and jebus as some aspect of a god. If fact, as a Jew, I was taught that it is not for us to know what happens when we die. I am OK with that. Even being raised Jewish, I never bought into any of the god myths we were being taught about. None of those stories just made any sense. It is only those who have simple minds and who were brainwashed at an early age who have such strong beliefs that it is inconceivable that someone wouldn’t even consider turning to their god as they were dying.

    I don’t know what will happen when I die. I do think that there is a possibility, however slim, that there is some part of us that continues on after the body dies. However, I don’t believe that what one believes when they die determines anything. It is an idiotic belief that was clearly created by humans to control other people. I would venture to say that Hitchens probably felt very much the same way. In fact you can see that he did in his speeches and his writings. This story is just total revisionist nonsense, written by someone who is incapable of independent thought on this matter.

  • Brandon Osborn

    “Religion is poison. All religion, and christianity is worse than most.”
    ~Hitch

  • Tracey Harden

    No big surprise that Christians are lapping this up. Of COURSE they would believe the unsubstantiated, unverifiable claims of a coreligionist over actual video footage of Hitchens specifically denying such a thing is possible. To quote the man himself: It’s called faith because it’s not knowledge.

  • Mike Bozart

    Just sounds like a way to sell a book. Enjoy the profits.

  • Joe Silvia

    Obvious to anyone with common sense that this is fluff to promote a book and push an agenda – all in the name of Taunton’s real god that he worships: money.

    Look around you and it’s one “holy” roller after another asking for your money. If it’s not your church, it’s the Pat Robertsons or Joel Osteens.

    “Send me money, send me green and heaven you will meet. Make a contribution and you’ll get a better seat. Bow to Leper Messiah/Larry Taunton.”

  • dsmith

    There it is again….that damnable smugness of a Christian who thinks atheist will all convert when life is drifting away. They arrogantly believe all non believers will at last find what religious zealots have known all along. If the implication is that Hitchens would convert out of a burning hell…that is just laughable.

  • Shlarg

    Hitchens prophesized this would happen.
    He could see the future. Praise the Hitch !

  • Jonathan Garner

    It doesn’t matter the ‘treatment’ you give him when you lie to sell your book.

  • Ernest J. Windberg

    Similar to the Mormon practice of baptizing dead people.

  • haveagoodlife

    This is such a disgusting claim to make post mortem.
    As I am sure Hitchens would agree: this only adds to mountain of evidence that there is no boundary to human superstition and self delusion.

  • Philip Thomas

    Utter BS! Says it all about Christians like these – liars and totally deserving of contempt.

  • gusbovona

    I’d be more convinced if we could see quotes from the book that are not summary judgments or interpretations by the author, but are quotes of what Hitchens is claimed to have said. Without specifics, there’s too much wiggle room.

  • Kevin L

    We’re supposed to believe this book articulates Christopher Hitchens’ mind than he could himself? Hitchens was the most articulate and clear writer I’ve ever come across. This is without mentioning the fact Hitchens took the time in his last days to warn readers that vacuous claims like this would certainly surface after his death and not to believe them. This book is garbage if this article is accurate and even devout Christians should avoid giving the book’s author a dime if they have any self respect or sense of ethics imo.

  • Mark Jones

    Another masterfully even handed article, Kimberly! Thanks!

    It’s not really worth wasting breath about this guy’s unsubstantiatable claims. He said, she said.

    But what’s interesting is that deathbed conversions do happen often. This is one of the litany of evidence why I believe religion is a man-made construct.

  • William Graham

    His clear eyes and head saw this drivel-barrage coming, as did many of us. Religious fantasies are eternal and innumerable like the ineffable they attempt to describe.

  • SteveZgt

    Religion survives and continues on lies, myths and make believe. Nothing new to see here.

  • bubbles

    i guess we will have to take the authors claims on faith. what a surprise, an evangelical with an agenda is asking us to take his word with an enormous amount of real evidence to the contrary.

  • MIstwalker

    I like the fantastically dishonest claim that atheists are only not believing his claims because they want Hitchens to be “defined by his atheism”.

    In the real world, there’s a list of reasons why we wouldn’t believe this claim.

    1.) It’s unlikely. Hitchens never expressed anything similar to this view, and it would be entirely out of character.

    2.) This claim is made of every famous atheist when they die, by Christians, when the opportunity is presented. The only exception I can think of is Madalyn Murray O’Hair, as she was murdered under mysterious circumstances, and if you made this claim you’d have some explaining to do to the police.

    3.) In this case, as in every other case of claims of contemplations of faith and deathbed conversions of atheists, absolutely no evidence is put forth to support the claim. All we have is the absolutely unverifiable claim of a conversation. No one else heard it, no one recorded it, and we are expected to take this exceptionally unlikely claim as true at face value, when coming from a Christian apologist, in a book put out by a Christian publisher. We’re meant to do this even when Hitchens himself said people would lie about him in this manner after his death.

    I have no reason to believe this man, and many reasons not to. The most likely scenario is that he’s lying for profit.

  • Tim Harrison

    What a treacherous act from someone who was supposedly a friend, to write a book undermining everything that Hitchens stood for…

    Beggars belief, on the one hand, on the other so predictable. In the long term such opportunistic behaviour will, of course, undermine any trust one might have in religious “friends”.

  • EternalDamnation

    I very much doubt that Hitchens ever considered becoming Christian.

  • David Rice

    Everyone who knew Hitchens, including his family and friends and lawyers and accountants and book publisher, have stated the claim is false. Of course Hitchens can no longer defend himself by such defamation (being dead), so cultists feel free to libel and defame him.

  • Martel

    Does Jesus and God teach people like Taunton to lie, or do they do it on their own because they know Jesus and God would approve because they’re such good Christians?

    The moral corruption (not to mention logical/rational corruption) of such people is remarkable and speaks volumes both for them, personally, and for all religions, generally.

  • stevie68a

    Anyone who took the time and effort to research religion, knows that it’s mostly superstition and delusion. All religions were man-made to control people, and it’s a power grab, as Hitchens noted.
    Everything I know about Hitch, says this book is a fake.

  • theron

    Funny he didn’t mention it in his book about dying while he was very close to death, “Mortality.”

  • MiltonDValler

    Richard Dawkins will also be declared a Christian convert “after” he’s dead of course, by another book peddling evangelical.

    I’m waiting for the book by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stating Hitchens telephoned him on his last day on Earth, embracing Mohammed.

  • MiltonDValler

    So is the Bible, Koran and Hounds of the Baskerville.

  • TheSuitIsNOTBlack

    I’m eager to see the evidence that Hitchen’s was considering becoming a Christian. What an extraordinary claim.

  • No one, Hitch included, is (or should be) defined by a single issue or intellectual position. Moreover, as Aristotle observed, an educated mind – which certainly describes Hitch – is able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Thus, to claim Hitch “considered Christianity” seems a trivial assertion at best.

    As an atheist, I’ve had more than a few conversations with Christians during which I admitted wishing I could be reunited with loved ones in heaven/eternity, or to watch the world unfold after I’m gone. Other times, I took the claims of Christianity seriously, at least for the sake of argument, in order to discuss specific aspects of philosophy, faith, religion, and Christianity, provided those claims weren’t germane to the subject. None of this, however, meant I remained receptive to Christianity (as I once was).

    I suspect the author, assuming the alleged conversations actually took place, mistook (or disingenuously cast) Hitch’s intellectual honesty for receptivity. And it’s in fashion, of course, to try making mountains of bucks out of molehills of content. If it plays well with his target audience, he’ll laugh all the way to the bank.

  • Miss Percival

    I look forward to what Hitchens’ wife, Carol Blue, has to say about this disgraceful trash.

  • Miss Percival

    “Christian ethics”. There’s an oxymoron for you.

  • Adam King

    Absolutely disgusting to profit off of lying about someone you pretended to befriend. All to glorify the looord, no doubt.

  • Samuel Johnston

    I briefly corresponded with Mr. Taunton in 2010. I have no doubt that he liked Hitchens, but Taunton was dismissive of me and quite arrogant. Mr. Taunton confused ideas with objects, and facts with opinions.
    “Furthermore, we hope that every Christian left that place with their nostrils full of the stench of the hatred for God that Hitch expressed and his worshipful fans approved of. Christians need to be awakened and angered to act. God is blasphemed every day in our culture, though most refuse to see it. Perhaps those who were in attendance will now realize the battle in which we are engaged.”
    I am, therefore, quite disinclined to find his testimony unbiased.

  • EternalDamnation

    Maybe Hitchens had a death bed conversion and realized his eternal salvation was threatened………Nah! I take that back. Not Hitch!

  • MiltonDValler

    I’m waiting for the book by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stating Hitchens telephoned him on his last day on Earth, embracing Salafi Islam.

  • MiltonDValler

    evidence??? This is religion we’re talking about.

  • “‘[Christopher Hitchens’] tone was marked by a sincerity that wasn’t typical of the man,’ Taunton writes. ‘Not on this subject anyway. A lifetime of rebellion against God had brought him to a moment where he was staring into the depths of eternity, teetering on the edge of belief.'”

    “[Taunton] says, [he] had private, unrecorded conversations with him about Christianity.” Oh, how convenient.

    “a sincerity that wasn’t typical of the man” – Ah, yes, a disingenuous anti-atheist evangelical pretending that it’s the atheist who wasn’t typically sincere. Of course, we know that Taunton is lying through his teeth precisely because of Hitchens’ own words, both written and spoken, published and recorded on audio and video. None of this matches what Taunton is pretending, and literally everything that Hitchens himself said in his last year of any relevance to what Taunton claims directly contradicts those claims. This is a perfect example of the corrupt, deceitful nature of the rhetoric of Christian apologists, where they take things out of context and engage in profuse misrepresentation, ignoring all the facts they don’t like and pretending they don’t exist, and building up false facades based on omission and misrepresentation, in trying to force reality to fit into the little box of their particular religious beliefs.

    Fundamentalist/evangelical Christians have been fabricating stories about atheists recanting on their deathbeds for a long time. Fabricating things is pretty integral to the mindset of their religious belief system, so with them it’s just the same old, same old.

    Christopher Hitchens: No Deathbed Conversion for Me, Thanks, But it was Good of You to Ask
    http://www.openculture.com/2011/11/christopher_hitchens_no_deathbed_conversion_for_me_thanks_but_it_was_good_of_you_to_ask_.html

  • “Like yourself?”

    You mean because only atheists are capable of telling the truth about what Christopher Hitchens himself actually stated openly, publicly, in writing and recorded on audio and video?

    Or do you mean something else?

    Don’t let your insinuation lie there implicit. Make it explicit. Let’s see if it can stand up in the light of clarity.

  • Yes, you nailed it. According to the mindset of fundamentalist/evangelical Christians – and many other religious believers – it isn’t lying as long as you are lying sincerely. But in my book, people who deliberately ignore the facts that contradict them and deliberately pretend they don’t exist and then keep right on promoting their falsehoods even after these contradictory facts have been pointed out and explained to them personally are just liars putting up a facade of “sincerity” as part of their acts of deception.

  • On my deathbed I will find belief in Aphrodite.

    The thing is – these fundamentalist/evangelical Christians totally agree that that sentiment I just stated isn’t just bogus, but utterly absurd – yet it’s exactly the same absurd stories they trot out, like Taunton’s fabrications discussed here.

  • You wrote, “even devout Christians should avoid giving the book’s author a dime if they have any self respect or sense of ethics…”

    You sure that’s not a self-contradictory statement?

  • PityConservatives

    Sure he considered Christianity. He considered it beneath contempt, despicable, immoral.

  • Spuddie

    He also joked that the only reason to convert to Christianity near his death was so there would be one more dead Christian and one less dead atheist.

  • John Jones

    It is highly improbable that Christopher Hitchens converted to Christianity on his death bed. His wife and family who were with him up to the end most emphatically deny it. Hitchens himself predicted that Christians would say this.

    For some reason Christians love to claim “death bed conversions” and have said this about many other people – Voltaire, David Hume, Thomas Paine, Robert Ingersoll, and Charles Darwin when it was not true.

    I fail why to see why “death bed conversions” matter so much to Christians. It proves nothing for or against what he said or wrote.

    It makes no difference if he became a Hindu, Scientologist, Satanist, or Christian. His writings and speeches still stand on their own merit.

    However, claiming that he considered converting to Christianity will certainly help the author sell more books!

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/brotherrichard/2015/09/rumors-of-christopher-hitchens-deathbed-conversion/#sthash.2W8w3l4X.dpuf

  • haveagoodlife

    I imagine that in Taunton’s mind this must be a ‘good’ lie … and therefore anything goes.

  • kevinod77
  • Curious Fella

    How convenient that these conversations were private and unrecorded.

    I call BS.

    Hitchens said that Christians would spread lies after his death. He called it.

  • Jeremy Willson

    This is an absolutely bastard act by the writer of this drivel. Hitchens would never have recanted his beliefs nor should his “friend” even vaguely suggest that he may even have had a passing thought about it.

  • Shadowy claims of death-bed conversions are immoral.
    Oscar Schindler was an Atheist also – but because he was buried in a catholic cemetary the Christians claim his heroism as their own.
    There is no bar too low or immoral in this chicanery. But what else can they do? There is no god and there is no good reason to believe in one.

  • Andreas Müller

    It is so telling how christians behave the least christian. I guess Hitchens would have agreed: to get a really christian nation, as opposed to a nation of bigots, you first have to get rid of all the christians.

  • Christopher Michael Villadelga

    Ridiculous and money mongering author. Christopher would never.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4cPe_YS8i8

  • Thomas Davis

    Churlish! This author Taunton, this subject of secret conversion, everything surrounding this absurd claim is despicable.. No shame, what a shame.(Churlish: A word I learned from the late, great author) Thanks, Christopher for your contribution to humanity. I miss you greatly.

  • Luminya

    All praise the Hitch!

  • Jim

    The key to this sham article is onthe first paragraph “The author is Larry Alex Taunton, an evangelical Christian who knew Hitchens for three years and, he says, had private, unrecorded conversations with him about Christianity” in other words Larry can ‘make shut up’ [MSU], which Wasserman, a family friend of the Hitchens tells us. It’s getting tawdry & tiresome – can you stop this MSU BS, Hitchens was resolute in all of his public (& taped speeches, debates, discussions) that he did not believe there was s God.. Have you got that, or are you going to persist? You’re only doing damage to yourselves..your cred is out the window..

  • Jim

    Too Right (good answer), cheers to you Ramon; why do these FWs continue..(?)

  • Jim

    Go live life not wallow in BS & the religious, who are only MSU to make money – sorry Thunder people I agree with you.. It’s rubbish ..

  • monsoon23

    I met Hitchens in private and he told me that Larry admitted to being a child molester.

  • Rich Koski

    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” The fact that he went out his way to say that there wouldn’t be a deathbed conversion should have stopped the writer right there.

  • hotrats

    From an interview on CNN:
    Q: Even when you are alone and no-one is watching, there might be a moment when you want to hedge your bets?
    A: If that comes it will be when I am very ill, when I am half demented, either by drugs or by pain, and I won’t have control over what I’m saying. I mention this in case you ever hear a rumour later on, because these things happen and the faithful love to spread these rumours, on his deathbed he finally… I cant say that the entity, that by then wouldn’t be me, wouldn’t do such a pathetic thing, but I can tell you that not while I am lucid, no. I can be quite sure of that.
    Q: So if there is some story that, on your deathbed… don’t believe it?
    A: Don’t credit it. No.

    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBgaEYV2BaY

  • if6ws9

    “You must be speaking from your own experience..” What’s next, I know you are but what am I?

  • if6ws9

    Prescient? No, he just understood the Xtian mindset. What surprises me is that he befriended the author (if its true). With friends like that who needs enemies.

  • P.Brain

    Absolute nonsense,and a disgrace to his legacy that someone thinks they had the right to publish this. His wife was at his deathbed , she has also stated that that this claim is entirely untrue.

  • patrick

    @ David Rice

    As Beethoven, Newton, Rembrandt and Shakespeare live on – so does Hitch. I am profoundly honored to have lived during his time….

  • Øystein Espedal

    No, only Hitchens could openly state his true feelings about religion, and he very often did. In fact he spent a lifetime doing just that, both in writing and in candid interviews, right up until his untimely death.

    The notion that he would have seriously considered converting is as ludicrous as any other superstitious claim, and deserves no more serious consideration than does the existence of an anthropomorphic talking mouse with red pants.

  • patrick

    @ SecularHumanist199

    “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
    Carl Sagan, Cosmos

    Upon our deaths, we shall also become starstuff, which will provide the nitrogen, calcium, iron and carbon that will compose our far distant human descendants.
    As such, all living things are immortal….

  • gameplan

    Christopher Hitchens said:
    “We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”

    And, his words are proven absolutely true by the content of this book.

  • Simon Palmer

    Simply vile.

  • Gdich

    I only wish Christopher was here to lampoon this ridiculous assertion.

  • Jim the Hermit

    Complete nonsense. Before his death, Hitchens predicted christians will say he did a deathbed conversion and even if it were true, he said it would be the drugs talking not him.

  • Buckwheat3

    I am not a follower of Christopher Hitchens,but I believe what is said in private conversation would have nothing to do in what you say and how you act in public. All of us have questions about everything, but this does not mean we are going to act on our thoughts. It sounds like to me the person who wrote the book is more interested in evangelizing the world and making money, than remaining true to a “friend.”

  • Rico

    Larry Taunton is a despicable excuse for a human being and should be in prison. I hope most people understood Hitch well enough to see how ridiculous his claims are.

  • John Wilkins

    Sad, another death bed conversion claim by even more dishonest and immoral liars and thieves. But its ok, bearing false witness is on the list of forgivable sins. Write a completely untrue book making false claims and then ask jeebus for forgiveness. No need to be honest if forgiveness is only a prayer away nevermind the family and friends of the deceased. Makes me literally sick to my stomach.

  • Agni Ashwin

    Do you practice Hitchcraft?

  • John Wilkins

    Theres an interview with her from pierce morgan.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRE0FPflEC0

  • Agni Ashwin

    “As such, all living things are immortal….”

    …until the heat death of the cosmos, of course.

  • everybody knows

    What a load of rubbish.

    “Lady Hope” got famous for saying the same thing about Darwin, something his whole family denied.

    Here is the story from Wikipedia: Lady Hope claimed that Darwin said: “How I wish I had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done.” He went on to say that he would like her to gather a congregation since he “would like to speak to them of Christ Jesus and His salvation, being in a state where he was eagerly savoring the heavenly anticipation of bliss.” Lady Hope’s story was printed in the Boston Watchman Examiner. The story spread, and the claims were republished as late as October 1955 in the Reformation Review and in the Monthly Record of the Free Church of Scotland in February 1957.

    Lady Hope’s story is not supported by Darwin’s children. Darwin’s son Francis Darwin accused her of lying, saying that “Lady Hope’s account of my father’s views on religion is quite untrue. I have publicly accused her of falsehood, but have not seen any reply.” [14] Darwin’s daughter Henrietta Litchfield also called the story a fabrication, saying “I was present at his deathbed. Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness. I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought or belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier. We think the story of his conversion was fabricated in the U.S.A. The whole story has no foundation whatever.

  • everybody knows

    Usually the idiom “so much for X” implies that “X” actually once existed.

  • everybody knows

    You still have to talk to them. That is what Hitchens did… he debated ‘believers.’ Some he had polite relationships with. He expected what happened and accepted that it would.

  • LexCityGirl

    Hitch was very thoughtful and would have been unguarded and speaking softly while alone with a close friend. I have no doubt that he said things that could be interpreted as religious by someone who was listening from a religious point of view, someone who cared about him and his ‘soul’s’ fate. I’m often interpreted as expressing religious sentiment or agreeing with religious tenets when I engage in thoughtful conversations. I try to ask questions from the other person’s point of view. I repeat what they’ve said to make sure that I understand. And I posit questions from different perspectives, like ‘If x is true than what would that mean for y?’- and then go on about y. Religious people see this as agreement. They don’t entertain thoughts for their own sake and have to constantly work to maintain a unidirectional worldview which makes it hard for them to acknowledge the difference between understanding and accepting an idea.

  • BoredSlacker

    What a load of religulous BS.

  • Michael Goolsby

    A shameless attempt to profit from a man’s death.

  • Russell Houghton

    Seems like there’s a book about every famous athiest with unsubstantiated claims that they repented on their death bed. Hitchens saw this coming, I remember him talking about it in a couple interviews I saw on youtube. Darwin was said to have converted, there were even rumors about Voltaire, I think.

    The fact is, Hitchen’s conversion is like the existence of a deity…you can’t TOTALLY rule it out. But there’s absolutely no reason to believe in it, either.

    I suspect this author of lying in order to prop up his book sales, and give Christians validation of their religion. If this is the case, then this is a horrible betrayal of a friendship, and of the loving, honest, respectful morality Christians claim to possess.

    (I know, claim is a hurtful word. And I will say that the vast majority of Christians that I know try to embrace this set of values. But they’re not Christian values, they’re virtually universal among humans, and not unique to Christians. Or even believers.)

  • Richard Rush

    If Christians didn’t lie, people wouldn’t know anything about a guy named Jesus whose dad, who was an obsessively authoritarian God, decided to kill him because it was the only rational method He could devise to provide forgiveness to us for the intolerable actions and thoughts of our ancestors.

  • Russell Houghton

    Easy, guys….Most Christians are good people.

  • Shlarg

    Those fingers in my hair
    That sly come-hither stare
    That strips my conscience bare
    It’s Hitchcraft

  • Yeah, it’s pretty easy to be prescient where the Chrishuns are concerned. They’re so predictable.

  • Bernard Ingram

    Larry Alex Taunton. Are you not ashamed that you are making money of a dead man? But that IS religion after all.

  • David1290

    Did Hitchens consider conversion, or Is Taunton just cashing in? We, of course, will never know. But our pre-occupation with the question, while revealing little about Hitchens, reveals a lot about us.

  • ZappaSaid88

    Other articles I’ve read about this say the majority of the book is conversations they’ve had. And the author seems to give an accurate description of Hitchens as far as I can tell. Hitchens was a knowledge seeker, he loved deep, philosophical conversations with friends and adversaries alike, he was a free speech absolutist and always open to new ideas (and a prodigious scotch consumer :-). I think to say he explored conversion is a stretch. I think it’s more likely he reviewed his “source material” one more time in the light of his terminal prognosis and decided he was right all along. And he wasn’t necessarily a hater of religion per se. He liked devotional poetry, architecture, etc and in the Four Horsemen video he actually states that he hoped religion wouldn’t go extinct (to the shock of Dawkins). He had no problem with someone being religious personally (I think he said that in the Al Sharpton debate), he severely disliked religious people pushing their religion outward to declare jihad, teach garbage science in schools, enact legislation based on a specific viewpoint that we all have to follow whether we follow that religion or not, indoctrination of children, etc. The stuff that Poisons Everything.

  • Jon S

    “Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion.”
    Christopher Hitchens

    This book, the author, and your publicity of it are beneath contempt.

  • nosnurbd

    Well, it is interesting, this after death thing. It reminds me of the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead. If they can’t get them during this life they go for you after you die. Sneaky, yes? Actually the publicity might arouse a bit of curiosity in the deluded, and they might check out what Mr. Hitchens argues and presents in the videos on YouTube. The religious are always interesting because you never know what they will come up with next!

  • Steve Sherman

    Why not Christopher Hitchens, too? C.S. Lewis. Alasdair MacIntyre. Tony Flew. Just of few of many intellectual converts from atheism to theism or Christian theism. I’m not sure why the rush to deny such a plausibility (or at least, possibility) for Hitchens. Might there be some worldview commitments or vested interests at work here? Being more “agnostic” about it (at least) might serve to demonstrate benevolence and tolerance toward one’s fellow human being.

  • David Scott

    What an insult to Hitchen’s memory! The author is just another religion entrepreneur on the take for mammon. Can we assume this was published by Fox News Press?

  • Em Wilson

    Perhaps this should be called the Revisionist News Service.

  • gusbovona

    Many things are possible: for instance, I could be the Queen of England.

    However, who was it who said “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence?”

  • Her Leftness

    “report unverifiable conversations, which amazingly contradict everything Christopher Hitchens ever said or stood for.”

    I am not a Hitchens devotee, or even particularly atheist. But the tale told in that book must make Christianists everywhere very happy. It will probably make Taunton and his publishing house a lot of money.

    It may be that Taunton believes what he wrote. Perhaps he wanted very badly for his friend to believe what he believes. If Taunton is really terrified of hell, he may have been terrified that’s where Hitchens was going and desperately searching for any crumbs and scraps in Hitchens’ words, mannerisms or expression.

    I’m just trying to give the guy a break. If Taunton is deliberately lying and distorting this – I take it all back.