I admit with some regret that I had never heard of Christopher Hitchens until he wrote his great book god is not Great. I have always felt, since he thought it important enough to put it on the cover of the book, that the small ‘g’ is an essential part of the title, though others have thrown this consideration to the wind and have insisted on giving the word ‘god’ a capital, as though it actually were a name. Hitchens knew better. It is not a name for anything, and it was that first, quiet joke that remains with me, my first impression of the man, who dared to write the word ‘god’ with a small ‘g’, not only pronouns which claim to be referring expressions to this non-existent being about which so much is written, and towards which so much love is pointlessly directed.
Of course, I have since read much else that Hitch wrote, including his memoir, Hitch-22, and many of his essays, in Love, Poverty and War, Unacknowledged Legislation, and some, as well, in his last collection, entitled, simply, and appropriately, Arguably. But now the tongue is still, the computer silent, the man, but not his words are gone. We will miss him, because he gave an edge to the movement of unbelief. And now that this voice of protest is silent, it is up to us to carry on the struggle against faith and foolish empty beliefs, against corruption and inhumanity in high or low places, and for the community of humans and their well-being for which he cared so much, and about which he spoke with such eloquence.
There is no need to wish him peace at the last. There is neither peace nor disquiet where he has gone, and where we all will one day follow. It is enough that he made an important contribution to our lives while he was with us.