Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jesus-Followers Don't Deny the Reality of Death; They Deny Death's Finality

Richard Dawkins, in his eulogy to fellow atheist Christopher Hitchens, has written: "In the very way he [Hitchens] looked his illness in the eye, he embodied one part of the case against religion. Leave it to the religious to mewl and whimper at the feet of an imaginary deity in their fear of death; leave it to them to spend their lives in denial of its reality. Hitch looked it squarely in the eye: not denying it, not giving in to it, but facing up to it squarely and honestly and with a courage that inspires us all."

I think Hitchens did "look his illness in the eye." I also think his courage is inspirational. I've already written about my admiration of him and my sadness on hearing of his death.

However, contra Dawkins, this attitude of Hitchens does not form a premise in some argument against religion.

I presume Dawkins has never been at the bedside of a Jesus-follower as they are dying. I have been with many. I can't think of one who denied death's reality, or "mewled and whimpered at the feet of an imaginary deity." Here Dawkins is out of touch with reality in his obligation to defeat theism.

Followers of Jesus do not deny the reality of death. They do not embrace death's finality.