Right on cue comes noted atheist Christopher Hitchens' "tribute" to Jerry Falwell. Hitchens, who seems to take a perverse delight in trashing notable figures upon their deaths, especially those who were publicly religious, predictably excoriates Falwell for his acknowledged sins but in the midst of the rant, goes off on a tangent about certain anti-Semites who call themselves Christians. At first that seemed odd in a Falwell obit, since the reverend was a great supporter of Israel.
But it isn't clergymen who are Hitchens' enemy, per se; they're merely useful tools for the venting of Hitchens' ire (some being more useful than others). It's religion itself, especially Christianity--whether interpreted properly or not--to which Hitchens sets himself up as adversary.
At the end of the piece, Hitchens says that "[i]t's a shame that there is no hell for Falwell to go to..." That statement is refreshingly unhypocritical, since all too many atheists pretend to believe in Hell only when someone they hate passes on. The rest of the sentence reads as follows:
and it's extraordinary that not even such a scandalous career is enough to shake our dumb addiction to the "faith-based."What Hitchens forgets about the only faith-based religion he could be talking about--assuming he ever knew it--is that if faith were not the sole criterion to get into Heaven, then no one could go since no one is capable of not doing wrong whether accidentally or willfully.
Perhaps Hitchens does take this into account but, as many do, finds it easier to believe that there's nothing else but the physical world. Understandable. However, judging from his many tirades against religious persons, especially faith-based Christians, I suspect that Hitchens does believe in the existence of God. And hates His guts.