Hitchens … said that if information emerged that he had, at some late stage, made a statement of faith, or a religious confession, including but not limited to, "I accept Jesus as my lord and savior," or, "Muhammad, peace be unto him, is the messenger of God," or, "the Lubavitcher rebbe is the true messiah and currently living in Brooklyn," that his friends were to make it known that it was not the true Hitchens doing the confessing. This is what he told me once, during a video conversation we posted on this website: "The entity making such a remark might be a raving, terrified person whose cancer has spread to the brain," he said. "I can't guarantee that such an entity wouldn't make such a ridiculous remark. But no one recognizable as myself would ever make such a ridiculous remark."
In response, Rod Dreher argues that physical suffering can genuinely lead one to God:
In Hitchens’s view, the mind perceives truth (of the spiritual and metaphysical sort) when the body is healthy, and unencumbered by pain, either physical or emotional. Only then, when not under duress, is the mind capable of sorting out truth from falsehood. In the Christian view, a mind embodied in a healthy body is one that finds it all too easy to deceive itself, especially about its own finitude and frailty. Suffering has a way of forcing the mind to understand that the body will die, and to recognize how much it depends on others — especially God. On this view, suffering, when properly embraced, is a mode of understanding that brings us to the truth — a truth that it’s easier to ignore or to deny when one is in good health.