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Britain needs God1

by

Published: 6 September 2011(GMT+10)

The rage against God-Peter Hitchens

Many readers will know of renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens.2 Recently, I finished reading a book by Christopher’s brother, Peter Hitchens, in which he describes his journey to faith in God.3

As a teenager, Peter had rejected the Christian beliefs with which he had been raised as a child—even to the point of publically burning a Bible—and joined the generation who were ‘too clever to believe’. He embraced the faith of the faithless age, that science could explain everything we needed to know without reference to God. So vehemently had he turned away from God that he was almost physically disgusted by those who believed.4

As a teenager, Peter had rejected the Christian beliefs with which he had been raised as a child … He embraced the faith of the faithless age, that science could explain everything we needed to know without reference to God. … his views changed slowly, as he came to see the fruit of atheism.

Peter wrote that his views changed slowly, as he came to see the fruit of atheism. Part of this realisation came when he was working as a journalist in Moscow, during the final years of the Soviet Union. His depiction of this godless society was sobering.5 He wrote of the riots that broke out when the vodka ration was cancelled one week; the bribes required to obtain anaesthetics at the dentist or antibiotics at the hospital; the frightening levels of divorce and abortion; the mistrust and surveillance; the unending official lies, manipulation and oppression; the squalor, desperation and harsh incivility. Peter wrote of how traffic stops dead in Moscow when rain begins to fall, as every driver fetches wind-screen wipers from their hiding places and quickly fits them to their holders. Any wipers left in place when the car is parked are stolen as a matter of course.

The atheist, humanistic ideology of the state, he believed, had even affected the Russian language. Peter spoke to a descendant of an exile, whose grandparents had fled Moscow in the days of Lenin. Having been brought up to speak pure Russian in his American home—the elegant, literary language of his parents—he was shocked when he visited Russia to hear the coarse, ugly, slang-infested and bureaucratic tongue that was now spoken, even by educated professionals.

Peter also wrote of what he saw as the growing public discourtesy and incivility in Britain. When he returned to London, after a five-year absence, he was shocked by the decline in people’s behaviour. He commented, “The rapid vanishing of Christianity from public consciousness and life, as the last fully Christian generation ages and disappears, seems to me to be a major part of it. I do not think I would have been half so shocked by the squalor and rudeness of 1990 Moscow, if I had not come from a country where Christian forbearance was still well-established. If I had then been able to see the London of 2010, I would have been equally shocked.” In many respects, Peter’s book is a warning to people, as to the kind of society they can expect if they continue to reject Christian beliefs.

When [Peter] returned to London, after a five year absence, he was shocked by the decline in people’s behaviour. He commented, ‘The rapid vanishing of Christianity from public consciousness and life, as the last fully Christian generation ages and disappears, seems to me to be a major part of it.’

Why do an increasing number dismiss the Bible’s teaching? There are, of course, many reasons, chief of which is probably the love of sin. However, one reason is that people have been persuaded that the Bible is no more than a book of myths. In response to a recent web article by Melanie Phillips defending the biblical concept of marriage,6 a reader responded,

“The writings of the bible were put down on paper by (mostly) old men who acted out of complete ignorance (for example the world was created in 7 days and is about 6,000 years old). We now know that that is COMPLETE nonsense so why should anyone have to abide by this rubbish? As for marriage being the ‘institution by which humanity reproduces itself’ where have you been for the, at least, 50 years? Try telling that to all the happily unmarried couples with children!!”-FP

Such reasoning is typical. Science has proven the Bible to be wrong in its account of origins, it is claimed, so it cannot be trusted in what it has to say about anything else either.

Many in the church would have us believe that the matter of origins is a side issue. But FP’s statement above shows that this is not true: many non-believers know that the Bible is incompatible with a belief in an exceedingly ancient earth and molecules-to-man evolution. The right response to this is not to duck the issue, but face it head on. Unfortunately, many in the church do not realise how well armed we are to do this. They think that Bible-believing Christians are on the back foot, having accepted the secular scientific community’s testimony that the weight of evidence is against us. This, however, is a deception. As the years go by, more and more facts come to light which fit the evolutionary view of life very poorly, but fit the biblical view very well.

According to the apostle Paul, what may be known about God is plain because “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). If science has shown that life arose through natural processes and did not require a designer, as so many now claim, then the apostle Paul was wrong. My testimony is that the more I learn about science, the clearer it becomes to me that the great apostle was right. As Bible-believing Christians, we have truth on our side—and our nation desperately needs to hear this.

Related Articles

Further Reading

References

  1. This article first appeared in the CMI-UK/Europe Prayer News, April 2011. Return to text.
  2. See e.g. Christopher Hitchens—blind to salamander reality, 26 July 2008. Return to text.
  3. Hitchins, P., The rage against God, Continuum International Publishing, London, 2010. Return to text.
  4. Ref. 3, p. 74. Return to text.
  5. Ref. 3, ch. 6. Return to text.
  6. Phillips, M., Pinch yourself! A Tory prime minister is upholding the idea that traditional morality is bigotry, MailOnline, 14 February 2011; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1356699. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Sue B., United States, 6 September 2011

Excellent article, thank you for posting I am looking for the book.

Keiron A., United Kingdom, 6 September 2011

Peter Hitchens has been very honest about how he came to be an Anglican from Atheism. He has been on TV a lot lately with regards to his beliefs and speaks common sense contrary to his brother Christopher. They say you can’t have 2 brothers the same and these 2 are living proof but I would always side with Peter as he is a good example of how Atheists can turn to Christianity with common sense and solid evidence presented to them especially the bible.

Monte S., United States, 2 November 2011

Excellent article! You could add that America needs God too. There are these same signs of the turning from God and belief in the Bible and its principles taking place in our country.

Great insight to the fact that non-believers know that the origin of life is the foundation of the issue and Christians must recognize the importance of addressing this issue. As Jesus said, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” John 5:46–47

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