How I Found God and Peace With My Atheist Brother

“How I found God and peace with my atheist brother” is an eloquent and poignant piece by Peter Hitchens regarding his eventual return to Christianity and the healing of his relationship with his brother — and noted atheist — Christopher Hitchens.

My brother and I agree on this: that independence of mind is immensely precious, and that we should try to tell the truth in clear English even if we are disliked for doing so. Oddly enough this leads us, in many things, to be far closer than most people think we are on some questions; closer, sometimes, than we would particularly wish to be.

The same paradox sometimes also makes us arrive at different conclusions from very similar arguments, which is easier than it might appear. This will not make us close friends at this stage. We are two utterly different men approaching the ends of two intensely separate lives.

Let us not be sentimental here, nor rashly over-optimistic. But I was astonished, on that spring evening by the Grand River, to find that the longest quarrel of my life seemed unexpectedly to be over, so many years and so many thousands of miles after it had started, in our quiet homes and our first beginnings in an England now impossibly remote from us.

It may actually be true, as I have long hoped that it would be, in the words of T. S. Eliot, that the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’.

Peter Hitchens doesn’t hold back when it comes to criticizing his brother’s skepticism — ..”.Christopher is astonishingly unable to grasp that these assumptions are problems for his argument. This inability closes his mind to a great part of the debate, and so makes his atheist faith insuperable for as long as he himself chooses to accept it.” — but at the same time, the account of their slow reconciliation as brothers is moving without ever becoming sappy or sentimental (as you might have gathered from the above excerpt).

Reading through the stories from the Hitchens’ youth brought to mind the relationship I’ve had with my younger brother, which has had it’s fair share of ups and downs, but moreso, the relationship between my two sons. The thought of them ever experiencing a rift hurts my heart.

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