I would like to recommend some really heartening thoughts from the UK, here and here. Having said this, I should probably explain why such blunt, discouraging analysis should be registered in the “heartening thoughts” column.
The answer is that in times of crisis, the truth is your first and best friend. If you have a deadly cancer in your liver, and you go to the doctor, you don’t want him to give you a neck rub, or tell you what a swell fellow you are (admired by all), or to give you a little placebo ointment to rub on your knuckles. You want someone to tell you the truth, and to tell you what must be done if there is to be any hope for a cure. In times of national peril, you don’t need someone from the Church of England to blow sunshine up your skirt.
In these posts, Peter Hitchens is taking on the sin of unbelief, which has Great Britain by the throat, and he is also going after the heart of that unbelief which is atheism. In short, he is speaking the truth. He is not, as we might say over here, messing around.
But there is more. Not only is Hitchens saying that atheism is destructive, corrosive of civilization, and a help and stay for all who might want to be thugs (not to mention those who want to wring their hands helplessly over the rise of so many thugs, oh dear), he is also employing a basic, presuppositional argument, one that lays the axe at the root of atheism’s fruitless tree.
The fact that atheists are blithely unaware of the implications of this form of argumentation, or that bright atheists like Peter’s brother Christopher pretend to be unaware of them, affects nothing whatever at all. The tree still comes down. The atheist cannot say, “Ho, we don’t believe in your axe!” We dare say. We don’t believe in your tree.