Christopher Hitchens was baptized in his infancy, and his name means "Christ-bearer." This created an enormous burden that he tried to shake off his entire life. No creature can ever succeed in doing this. But sometimes, in the kindness of God, such failures can have a gracious twist at the end. We therefore commend Christopher to the Judge of the whole earth, who will certainly do right.He neglects to mention that, according to his theology, most likely "doing right" in Hitchens' case involves Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT). Of course, I can't blame him. Who wants to face those ugly implications? Russell Moore offered a similar obfuscation:
Hell is real and judgment is certain. The gospel comes with a warning that it will one day be too late. But, as long as there is breath, it is not yet too late. Perhaps Christopher Hitchens, like so many before him, persisted in his rebellion to the horror of the very end. But maybe not. Maybe he stopped his polemics and cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”Again, I understand the reasons why these Evangelicals would respond this way to Hitchens' death. As I've said before, how could anybody (but sociopaths) stand to apply consistently the beliefs of fundamentalists (and conservative evangelicals) about the afterlife? However, I also believe that it is this very "deathbed decisionism"/"fundy universalism" that allows for the perpetuation of the doctrine of Eternal Conscious Torment within Evangelicalism. If the doctrine is only ever applied in the abstract, it loses much of its emotional impact. Those of us who reject ECT refuse to only evaluate the doctrine in an abstract, theological context. It seems to me that, if we want this doctrine to be rejected for the loathsome thing it is, we need to eliminate the "deathbed decisionism" card. Those adhering to belief in ECT need to face the concrete implications of this doctrine.