Christopher Hitchens and the Hound of Heaven

Brian Mattson | April 4, 2016


One difficulty reviewing Larry Alex Taunton’s new book—The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist—is deciding on a genre. While the back of the book categorizes it as “Biography/Autobiography/Religious,” I’ve decided it primarily belongs to a time-honored American storytelling tradition: the road trip.

Of course, it’s so much more. Equal parts intellectual biography, psychological examination, sociology, philosophy and theology, argument and debate, Taunton masterfully weaves it all into a story of an incredibly unlikely friendship that culminates in two memorable road trips.

Christopher Hitchens was a towering public intellectual, renowned for his virulent hatred of religion. He was, as Taunton puts it, “Public Enemy Number One” in the minds of many Christians. That’s easy to understand, given his public persona as a rapier-tongued debater who relished humiliating all comers. What’s far less known is that Hitchens developed deep personal relationships with a number of evangelical Christians, including Taunton. And this was not by accident. Hitchens actively cultivated them.

Unlikely Friendship

Readers may be initially skeptical of The Faith of Christopher Hitchens. There’s something unseemly about “tell all” books that reveal confidences and appear to attempt to profit by association with celebrity. Taunton—who is founder and executive director of…


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