Hitchens (like Luther before him) forced everyone, including Christians, to be better people. Mess up and he called you on it. One couldn't afford to be an apologist hack around him. You either stepped up or got out of the way.
Hitchens made rockstars seem small, as well as politicians or celebrities -- because his power wasn't something that was easily quantifiable or electable, he didn't have to pander to anyone for respect.
Someone asked me this morning what I hoped for Christopher Hitchens, the fierce atheist who died after an agonizing bout with esophogeal cancer, and my first response was to say that I hope he's pleasantly surprised.
I have no doubt that Christopher Hitchens will have an afterlife. As one of the most original and provocative writers of his generation, his words will continue to mesmerize, incite, confound, and entertain.
What happens to an atheist when he dies? No one can answer that question with certainty. However, we can and should reflect on how this extraordinary author, intellectual and provocateur faced death before he died.
Many if not all of us disagreed with at least some of Hitchens' ideas, in at least some fundamental way. And yet there was always a sense that he spoke directly to us, that the conversation he was carrying out was one that involved us.