Chuck Colson committed crimes. I'm not aware of Christopher Hitchens' having committed any, other than being ill-tempered on occasions and imbibing too much.I don't think it's a good comparison. Hitchens was perhaps just as judgmental and moralistic as his religious counterparts: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2003/10/mommie_dearest.htmlHis moral framework was guided by modern Christian values, whether he'd admit or not.
Chuck Colson trusted in the blood of Christ.Christopher didn't.Huge difference when they both stand before a holy God, the Father of Jesus Christ.In this life Churck Colson was an inspiration to many with his humility and fine ministry for sinners in prison.Christopher Hitchens, whom I liked btw, denied Christ to the end, unless I missed something. Very sad indeed.
Christopher Hitchens was a man who made the most of his life, who inspired many people to think freely and to throw off the totalitarian shackles of monotheism. There is no such thing as a "sinner", unless you mean a person who goes against his or her inner nature and tries to be something he or she is NOT. That is the only sin, and it is punished by unhappiness in THIS life, not in any other one.Christians like to use this ridiculous concept of "free will" as a kind of freestanding end-user agreement that we cannot opt-out of. Which basically renders any rational human choice as potentially sinful if it goes against some hypothetical set of rules by some imaginary thing in the sky. Some of us, Christopher included, don't or won't fall for that nonsense.
"Unknown." An appropriate nickname for one making such a nihilistic comment. 'Unknown' and unknowing.
Unknown:Chuck Colson was a man who made the most of his life, who inspired many people to think truthfully and to throw off the nihilistic shackles of misotheism.There is no such thing as an "atheist", unless you mean a person who goes against his or her inner conscience and who by their unrighteousness suppresses the truth. That is sin, and it is punished by them claiming they are wise when in reality they are the biggest fools of all, in this life and forevermore.Misotheists like to use this ridiculous concept of "truth" as a kind of freestanding end-user agreement that we cannot opt-out of. But misotheism basically renders any onus to rationally pursue the truth as ultimately invaluable and meaningless since if what misotheists say is true then there could be just as much value and meaning pursuing falsehood and irrationality as truth and rationality.Some of us, Colson included, don't or won't fall for that nonsense.
Unknown said:"Which basically renders any rational human choice as potentially sinful if it goes against some hypothetical set of rules by some imaginary thing in the sky."On atheism, morality could be based on some hypothetical set of rules by some space and time-bound culture or society.On atheism, there is no obligation to act rationally since acting rationally may prove to be disadvantageous to one's survival.On atheism, there is no obligation to act morally since morality could simply be an illusory set of rules encoded in our genes by our evolutionary history.On atheism, there is no obligation to believe atheism is true.
God bless Colson. I admired his work.At least he lived a nice, long life and died with family around him.
Don writes: "Chuck Colson trusted in the blood of Christ. Christopher didn't."I think you missed my point.Christianity asserts certain things about the state of fallen man -- their characters and lack of moral compass. It's not merely about what they believe and trust in. The problem is that Hitchens, as I said, was always using some moral framework for his arguments. His targets for criticism were frequently those shared by Christians. He committed no crimes of which I am aware.So, I'm not sure what the Colson/Hitchens comparison is supposed to underscore. It certainly does not illustrate a "good man/bad man" distinction. If anything, the notion that a morally aware person is supposedly now suffering the terrors of Hell arouses sympathy for Hitchens.
We can compare one another here on Earth James, and we may look like half-way decent blokes.But God is going to compare us to His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, and how He lived.God's going to judge us according to His righteous standard.Actually the most righteous person on earth would be closer to a Hitler in the way they lived, then if we compared that same person to Christ.I know I'm saying this truth a bit awkward, but I hope you undertsand what I'm saying.Christ died on the Cross for our sins, and His blood cleanses us. And He also gives us, or imputes to us, His righteousness as we turn to Him, and from our self, and ask for His mercy in faith.This is the Gospel that is found in Jesus's death and His rising from the dead 3 days later!I pray you would come to believe as I did James, and as Churck Colson did. And as Steve hays did, and as the millions of souls who have and shall.
JAMES SAID:"Chuck Colson committed crimes."Which led him to found Prison Fellowship.
Unknown said..."Christopher Hitchens was a man who made the most of his life..."Made the most of his meaningless life."...who inspired many people to think freely..."To the contrary, Hitchens relied on his rhetorical powers of ridicule and scorn in lieu of reasoned argument. "...and to throw off the totalitarian shackles of monotheism."Unlike secular totalitarian regimes. "There is no such thing as a 'sinner', unless you mean a person who goes against his or her inner nature and tries to be something he or she is NOT. That is the only sin, and it is punished by unhappiness in THIS life, not in any other one."Banish the thought that Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy should go against his inner nature and try to be something he wasn't That might make them unhappy.
James,What people profess to believe is part of what we take into account when evaluating their moral status. If people ignore evidence they shouldn't be ignoring, are careless in handling the evidence they acknowledge, etc., we take such factors into account when judging the character of those individuals. What do Hitchens' views on abortion suggest about his character, such as his concern for unborn children? What's implied by his views on sexual issues? Or his view of human origins? Colson spent the second half of his life pointing people to the fountain of living waters, while Hitchens kept pointing people to a broken cistern. He also laid obstacles in the way of those who were going down the right path or were trying to decide which path to take. The most important relationship in life is our relationship with God. Not only is God more important than we are, but He's also at the foundation of our reasoning, our morality, our hopes for the future, etc. God is supremely important in Himself, and He's important to mankind. On the foundational issue of their relationship with God, Hitchens and Colson were worlds apart. Hitchens was right on some issues and did some good things, but the chasm between somebody like Hitchens and somebody like Colson is large.
Something I've found striking in reading people's comments about Colson's death is how focused his critics have been on political issues. Never mind Colson's moral character after the events surrounding Watergate. Never mind the millions of people Colson helped through Prison Fellowship, his work on behalf of unborn children, the books he wrote, etc. Never mind the causes Colson promoted that even many of his political opponents agreed with. Never mind all of that. Some people don't seem to take much or anything into account other than the events surrounding Watergate and/or their political disagreements with Colson in later decades. And that includes critics of Colson in politically conservative circles. I've been astonished by how little response Colson's death has gotten in some places and how critical of Colson many people have been upon hearing of his death. I've long had the impression that Watergate is too prominent in some people's thinking. Because Watergate received so much media attention, because it reinforced what some people want to believe about Republicans, because it occurred during a highly formative period of some people's lives, or for some other reason, a lot of people seem to have an exaggerated view of Watergate's significance. I've already seen a few news stories or commentaries that use the word "evil" in describing Colson or describing how his critics have viewed him. How often do they use that term to describe, say, an abortionist or a Democrat who's involved in some form of political corruption? But they'll use it to describe somebody like Colson. We're seeing a lot of false priorities on display.Evangelicals are often accused of being too political. They're also accused of being motivated by hatred. Take a look at the responses to Colson's death. Ask yourself who actually comes closer to being overly political and hateful.I was born in 1974. Maybe I err in not taking Watergate seriously enough, whereas other people err in the other direction. But my impressions of Chuck Colson have been formed mostly by what he did after the events surrounding Watergate. I've disagreed with him on some issues, like his overly ecumenical approach toward Roman Catholicism. But I mostly think of him as somebody who loved and honored God, somebody who cared for many prisoners and their families, a friend of unborn children, somebody who took the Christian's intellectual responsibilities more seriously than most professing Christians do, and somebody who was active in many other good causes. His life deserves a better response than it's gotten in some places.
Well said, Jason. Thanks. I agree with your analysis.Charles Colson was one of the few more thinking Christians with a wide-reaching platform, that spoke about morality and Christian worldview and relation to politics and culture in a compelling way.His "Breakpoint" Radio spots were very good; and work with Prison Fellowship helped many convicts start new lives.
A couple of the best news articles about Colson's passing are here.
@Jason: Well put. Would you say it's the same attitude/mindset that brings up the Crusades whenever religion or Christianity is mentioned?
Jacob,Yes, bringing up the Crusades is somewhat similar, but also different in some ways. For example, the behavior Colson is most criticized for wasn't done in the name of Christianity and was done before his conversion.
Jason Engwer: "Evangelicals are often accused of being too political. They're also accused of being motivated by hatred. Take a look at the responses to Colson's death. Ask yourself who actually comes closer to being overly political and hateful."Answer: Liberals and LibProts.LibProts = Politically Liberal Protestants.