If there is one name that embodies everything there is about “New Atheism”, that name is Christopher Hitchens.
Hitchens was a prolific author, political journalist, and literary critic, who’s career of 40-plus years saw him writing articles for many publications like The New Statesman, The Atlantic, The Nation, and Vanity Fair. He also became notorious for writing scathing exposés about many public figures who were lauded and revered by the mainstream public – such as Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, and Henry Kissinger.
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania would see him turn most of his focus from politics to religion and its harmful effects on humanity. His 2007 book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poison’s Everything” has become an essential read for any atheist involved in the public discourse/debate about religion, and it also solidified his position as one of the “The Four Horseman of the Non-Apocalypse”, along side Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett.
He also coined a phrase regarding the epistemological rule concerning the burden of proof, which is commonly referred to as “Hitchen’s Razor“:
“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
An avid debater, he was known to have an open challenge to publicly debate any religious leader or figure, and engaged in such debates with notable figures like William Lane Craig, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Bill Donahue, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rabbi David Wolpe, just to name a few. He was also a staple on the talk show circuit, and being both a wordsmith and a polemicist, he would often rile the host and/or the other guest(s).
His ability to combine sharp critique with witty banter made him one of the most admired and respected public intellectuals in recent memory, and to say that Christopher Hitchens is now a legend among the atheistcommunity is a tremendous understatement.