As much as I appreciated Tom Piatak’s upbraiding of the pathetic Christopher Hitchens (“Hitchens’ Hubris,” Opinion, October), I take issue with his statement, “Jesus believed He was the Son of God . . . ” Such a statement is ambiguous and does a disservice to Christ and to Christianity.
The Catholic Church teaches that, by and through the hypostatic union, Christ’s soul possessed immediate knowledge of God from the very moment of His conception; and that, from this, He could not possess the theological virtues of faith and hope. In his book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Dr. Ludwig Ott explains, “Christ as the Originator and Completer of Faith (Hebr. 12, 2), could not Himself walk in the darkness of faith. The perfection of the self-consciousness of the man Jesus can be explained only on the understanding that He possessed immediate knowledge of the Godhead with which He was united.” In other words, our Lord Jesus Christ knew He was the Son of God.
—Jerry C. Meng
Imlay City, MI
Mr. Piatak Replies:
I am grateful to Mr. Meng for his lesson in abstruse theology. But the portion of my review that he objects to must not be quite the “disservice to Christ and Christianity” that he now claims it is, or else he would have pointed that “disservice” out in one of the four comments he posted on the earlier version of the review that appeared on Taki’s Top Drawer. And I think he misses the larger point. Christopher Hitchens and the other “new atheists” are engaged in a ferocious assault on the heart of our civilization, and this assault is generally being applauded by the establishment left and justified by the establishment right. Unfortunately, as Steve Sailer noted, my review was “one of the few impolite reviews Hitchens . . . received.” Indeed, Hitchens’ book was a best-seller, and it has been nominated for a National Book Award.
This prevailing response to the “new atheists” is distressing, because the West would not exist without Christianity and will not survive without it. In the face of the hateful assault by the “new atheists,” Christians and others who appreciate the legacy of Christianity in the West should not be obsessed over the finer points of theology or consumed in doctrinal disputes with one another. We should instead focus on defending the Christian heritage of the West from an enemy who hates all of us who treasure that heritage, whether Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Christophilic nonbeliever. As Ben Franklin observed in the face of a different threat, if we do not hang together, we will assuredly hang separately.