“Larry Taunton vs. Christopher Hitchens”

The story has come full circle.

Last night at the Babcock Theater in Billings, Montana, I returned to the stage where, in 2010, I debated Christopher Hitchens. I recounted that event and told stories about my relationship with the late atheist and journalist from my soon-to-be-released book The Faith of Christopher Hitchens (in bookstores everywhere April 12). There was a nice crowd and they were very enthusiastic. I was especially delighted that the event drew not only Christians, but a sizable contingent of atheists. After the presentation, I signed a lot of advance copies of the book for them and had the opportunity to engage people individually.

It is hard to describe how it felt being there again. Many in the audience had attended the debate in 2010 and had fond memories of that occasion. Waiting backstage to speak to this audience, I was filled with fond memories of my own. In truth, that debate was fun, but my objective was anything but lighthearted. Believing, as I do, that God is real, that each of us is moving irresistibly toward a meeting with Him in eternity, and that this meeting will either be one of extraordinary joy or one inexpressible horror, I felt that I had to pursue Christopher’s soul relentlessly as a hound sent from heaven. And, curiously, Christopher was determined that I should do that, too.

Tomorrow we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. One day, at a time unknown to us all, He will summon men to His throne. Both the living and the dead will come and He will judge them. I can’t help but wonder if, on that occasion, Christopher Hitchens will, much to the surprise of everyone (even himself), join the Saints in paradise?