For Hitchens, those defenses stayed up till the end. His last word on the possibility of conversion was at once characteristically dismissive and characteristically protective of his hard-earned reputation as an Enemy of God: “Suppose I ditch the principles I have held for a lifetime, in the hope of gaining favor at the last minute? I hope and trust that no serious person would be at all impressed by such a hucksterish choice.”Let us be clear: CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS WOULD NEVER ABANDON PRINCIPLES. Especially if they would buy him a drink.
In his very brave and very public dying, though, one could see again why so many religious people felt a kinship with him. When stripped of Marxist fairy tales and techno-utopian happy talk, rigorous atheism casts a wasting shadow over every human hope and endeavor, and leads ineluctably to the terrible conclusion of Philip Larkin’s poem “Aubade” — that “death is no different whined at than withstood.”Oh for Christ— I mean oh for fuck's sake give it UP with the superstitious nonsense about the OH HOLY SHIT RUN RUN RUN!
Officially, Hitchens’s creed was one with Larkin’s. But everything else about his life suggests that he intuited that his fellow Englishman was completely wrong to give in to despair.
My hope — for Hitchens, and for all of us, the living and the dead — is that now he finally knows why.