Tony Blair And Christopher Hitchens Debate Religion
The former British prime minister is for it; Christopher Hitchens is against it. They debated before an audience in Toronto.
Mr Blair, 57, who became a practising Christian while studying at Oxford University, said: “It is undoubtedly true that people commit horrific acts of evil in the name of religion.
“It is also undoubtedly true that people do acts of extraordinary common good inspired by religion.”
He pointed to the good done by faith based organisations, including the millions of lives saved in Africa and care for the mentally ill, disabled and destitute.
He added: “The proposition that religion is unadulterated poison is unsustainable.
“It can be destructive, it can also create a deep well of compassion, and frequently does.”
Mr Hitchens, 61, said: “Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to be well.
“And over us, to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea.”
He said it was not necessary to have “divine permission to know right from wrong”.
And he said religion may promise salvation but the price was the “surrender of your critical faculties”.
He continued: “Religion forces nice people to do unkind things, and also makes intelligent people say stupid things.”
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