I'm seeing several atheists on Twitter who are (understandably) upset about the Christians who have been mocking Stephen Hawking since he died, insisting that he is burning in hell, pretending that he found Jesus on his deathbed, and other nonsense. It is not a good look for them, is it? It is almost as if these Christians fail to realize that this is precisely the sort of thing that makes Christianity seem less appealing.
Still, I find myself wondering whether some small percentage of the Christians who have been saying these things about Hawking remember how some atheists behaved when Billy Graham died. I'm guessing that this isn't true of most of them, but I suspect that some may be saying some of the things they are saying because of this.
It is obvious to you and I that Billy Graham was no Stephen Hawking. I suspect that the majority of Christians would even agree with us on that point. I also suspect that some Christians might actually place Graham ahead of Hawking in terms of who they most valued. Yep, I'd bet there are some who would prefer to have Graham back than Hawking if they could bring one of them back. And it would not surprise me to learn that some of them were upset when they saw atheists mocking Graham shortly after he died.
Relatively few atheists seem to have much trouble criticizing people they do not like simply because they died. While some aren't crazy about looking like they are celebrating someone's death, few seem to refrain from criticism so as not to speak ill of the dead. I think that's okay too. Of course, if it is okay for us then it probably needs to be okay for them too.