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5 Stars Out Of 5
A Haunting Story of Love, Loss, and Two Brothers
October 23, 2015
Peter Hitchens is an eloquent, thoughtful writer who has seen firsthand the loss of Christian ethics in our Western culture. His portrayal of the former Soviet Union is chilling. His account of the rise to power of Marxism in the Russia, and its effect on Christian families, should be read by all Christian parents who are concerned about their children being led away from their parents' morals and ethics. There are many personal details about his early life, and even some illustrations included that played pivotal roles in bringing him to faith - the true, take-up-your-cross-and-follow-me faith.
Peter Hitchens presents himself humbly and eloquently, with great wisdom as an example of someone whose life has ridden a rollercoaster of faith. One learns about his heart for his atheist brother and provides his view of the counterpoint between the two divergent views of Christianity and God. I found it very helpful to enter the stories of these two people a little, especially in the second half of the book where his arguments and examples are clearly articulated. He draws on his experiences living in atheistic countries to persuasively argue that the cultural impact of Christianity on a country is a gracious gift of civility and freedom, now being widely rejected in his own country, England as well as America. In his view, the reason for this is that the voice of the church has so involved itself with a particular aspect of the surrounding culture, that when culture changed, Christianity lost a profound battle for credibility.
"Why do the nations rage" asks the Psalmist (2:1). Against whom are they so filled with fury? Mankind displays a fundamental hatred towards the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The nations rage because they seek to usurp him; drag him through the streets as though conquered; and leave him to a gruesome death.
Sometimes the militant become the adherent. Christopher Hitchens is well known as a militant atheist. He believes that there is no God. But, what makes him militant is his resolve to demonstrate the corruption of religion and the hope of atheism. You may have already known that. But, you may not be aware the Christopher has a brother, Peter. Peter is a Christian.
Peter Hitchens has written a book describing his proverbial prodigality - his rejection of Christianity and subsequent return. Hitchens is a professional journalist. He's a man who knows how to write well. His book The Rage against God is well written and easy to read. It may not be the kind of book you expect. He describes his journey but not in the typical, bear-all, American manner you might expect. He is thoroughly British and maintains his scruples. It was not the book I expected. The book I found was better than that.
The Rage against God is an exploration of history and ideas. It is a profound reminder of the power of ideas to shape history by shaping lives. He was a product of the pessimistic, post-WWII British childhood. It is the grace of God which delivers us from the age in which we find ourselves. It was God's grace which delivered Peter Hitchens from the desperate, hopeless world in which he lived and moved for so long. Through exploration of history (some personal, some not) and ideas he shows that he came to see Atheism as a hatred toward God - specifically Christianity.
Rage robs a man of his distinctive trait. A man so filled with fury loses his ability to think or reason. Rage-filled men are the werewolves of our day. So filled with bloodthirsty urges they lose a right view of themselves. Our therapeutic age is quick to diagnose "rage-a-holics" and even quicker to prescribe antidotes. Could it be that the rage destroying so many homes and lives is really just the manifestation of a deeper, more concealed, socially acceptable rage? The Rage against God.
Note: In keeping with the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I have received the aforementioned title as compensation for my review. I was not required to provide a positive review. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.