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Atheist Christopher Hitchens Discredits Liberal Minister

In 2009, Marilyn Sewell, the retired minister of the First Unitarian Church of Portland Oregon, interviewed Christopher Hitchens, one of the most famous atheists of the time. Unitarians do not believe in the Trinity or hell or a literal resurrection. Hitchens was an atheist and didn’t believe in God or an afterlife. Hitchens died of cancer in December 2011 but at the time of the interview he was riding a wave of popularity from his best-selling book God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

This interview is especially interesting because it’s between a very popular atheist and a liberal minister. At one point in the interview the liberal minister asked Hitchens if her Christianity was any different in his opinion:

Marilyn Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

Christopher Hitchens: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.

Preaching Angles: Although an atheist, Christopher Hitchens recognized that the resurrection, atonement, and other theological beliefs are necessary to conservative Christianity. Hitchens and Sewell also demonstrate a postmodern disbelief or denial of the resurrection.

Source: “The Hitchens Transcript,” Monthly Portland (January, 2010)

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