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Lets Faith It

“Religion is a force for good in the world” was the title for a debate in Toronto yesterday between former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking for the motion and intellectual journalist Christopher Hitchens speaking against it.

Hitchens, currently undergoing chemotherapy for aggressive cancer was nonetheless in characteristic sparkling form and I simply could not agree more with the majority of the points he made.

For instance (paraphrased):

Religion is destructive, is based on superstitious hokum and, a bit like communism, might briefly seem noble until you see that it steals your every freedom away. Religions require that we are created sick and then ordered to be well, and over us to supervise this is a sort of celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea … Salvation is offered at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties.

The response from Mr Blair besides being weak saw him also spectacularly miss the point – “I do not consider the leader of North Korea a religious icon,”

An audience vote produced a victory for Hitchens, with 68 per cent opposing the resolution and 32 per cent supporting it.

I enjoyed the Hitchens book God is Not Great and found very little to disagree with. His journalistic critique of religion I’d suggest is much more user friendly than his fellow author scientist Richard Dawkins’s work.

When Hitchens broadens his scope to include international politics and war, like his nemesis George Galloway he can descend into complete craziness no matter how well he structures a point or argues a case.

On religion though he is usually just about spot on.

The Independent article reporting on the Hitchens – Blair debate is here

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9 Responses

  1. Faith in Futility

    Another sacred cow has just gone mad
    Another failed fanatic waits in line
    Another mother guards the tears she had
    Another river bleeds in triple time

    So long as the naïve are taught by fear
    traditions which turn fiction into fact
    How long before humanity appears
    to show, God and the Devil have a pact/

    A pact that only splits us, and divides
    Gives cause to kill, for glory be to….what?
    If dogmas sway, like fashions on man’s tides,
    while each believe, they’re something they are not.

    Perhaps the gods of war will one day tire
    When every bullet’s programmed to backfire?

  2. I’m afraid I wouldn’t have chosen Blair as an apologist for religion of any sort. Let the discussion begin, sure, but with someone a bit more credible please!

  3. A good point Kenny, the contest was reminiscent of Dennis Healey’s withering ‘dead sheep’ put down of Geoffrey Howe.

  4. Meaningless debate this. Blair a pretend Catholic, and a man full of himself who bases his beliefs on what?
    I suspect he would win an argument as the audience would be mostly his fans. They were collecting justification for their unbelief, Blair was collecting the cash so Cherie can visit another estate agent.

  5. Interesting points, Rab. Nice to see you mention George Galloway, albeit briefly.Especially as he is standing for the Scottish Parliament after being rejected by the people of East London.

    For me he is THE arch-hypocrite of our time. He claims to be a staunch defender of human rights in the world yet has frequently supported islamo-fascist regimes like Hezbollan and Hamas and hosts a programme on Iranian-backed channel, Press TV, which was recently comdemned for being biased against Israel while completely ignoring human rights abuses in Islamic/Arab states in tyrranies such as Syria and his beloved Iran

    • Galloway is very skilled as an orator. I thought his performance at the US senate was absolutely brilliant. He can structure a good argument from some very tight corners.

      On the whole though he has the demeanour of a narcissistic bigot. He is always too willing to criticise his former colleagues/comrades. There are some very telling clips in his various TV debates with Hitchens. He gives the impression of a man who can hardly contain his delight when discussing 9/11 for example.

      He’s carved a niche for himself as some kind of voice for the disenfranchised left and will no doubt get his seat in the Scottish parliament. With his debating skills he’ll run rings round quite a few there. He’ll also probably produce enough hot air to turn the central heating off.

      • Yes, he’s a bigot all right. His column in the Daily Reptile confirms that.

        His programme on Press TV is called, rather vaingloriously, the Real Deal. In the cesspit, human-rights violating countries he supports the real deal for women, Christians and liberal left-wingers is incarceration and death by execution.

        The time for exposing this imposter is long overdue.

        He failed as an MP in London as he was posted missing far too often and to call him a left-winger is absurd and an insult to those who genuinely believe, rightly or wrongly, in left-wing ideals. He is, rightly, detested by most on the Left who see him as a vain, pathetic little man who hates fascism, s long as it is home-grown in the UK and not of the Islamist variety.

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