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Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens Debate the Importance of Religion. Atheism Wins!

Toronto, Canada (Nov 29) – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair took to the stage on Canadian TV to debate the role of religion in world affairs against atheist columnist Christopher Hitchens.  Catholic convert Blair argues that faith is a force for good and that trying to drive it out would be “futile.”  Hitchens, who has terminal cancer, argues that religion forces people into doing terrible things.

The debate took place in Toronto’s Roy Thompson hall in front of 2700 people.  At the end of the debate, the crowd voted 2-1 in favor of Mr. Hitchens argument.  In a 23-country poll taken by the organizers of the event it showed that, of the people polled, the world is almost evenly split on the subject.

Tony Blair did acknowledge that horrific acts had been committed in the name of religion, but claims that a “world without faith would be morally diminished.”  The former Prime Minister, and ardent warmonger claimed that his decision to invade Iraq was based on policy, and not religion. Which is true, we all know his reasons; find oil, steal oil, run.

Christopher Hitchens has long been outspoken about religion and faith. He once described Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as “the real axis of evil”, he said during the debate that religion “was a cruel experiment whereby we are created sick and ordered to be well”  His ability to make the audience laugh at how he saw faith and religion ensured the narrow victory.

In the 23 country poll by Ipsos in which 18,192 people were questioned, 48% of those people believe that the basic morals that religion teaches is integral to a balanced, and civilized society.  Whereas the remaining 52% believe that religious beliefs promote intolerance, exacerbate ethnic divisions and impede social progress in developed and developing countries alike.

If you read between the lines here, some of the 48% of people who said that religion teaches morals said so out of a common ailment amongst the religious, Catholics in particular.  It is called Catholic Guilt, and it exists.  Some people are terrified to acknowledge what they feel in their heart because of their religious upbringing.  I know this because I still suffer from it, from time to time.  Although I am starting to get a handle on it after 28 years.  Obviously, some people believe it.  I am simply pointing out that I doubt the effect of Catholic Guilt was factored into the findings.

In general it is the rich countries who care less about religion, with the exception of The USA, where 65% said it has a positive impact.  I would like to know how many of those 65% would admit intolerance towards other religions.  In Sweden, only 19% felt religion was a force for good.

Tony Blair said before the debate “the good that people of faith all over the world do every day, motivated by their religion, cannot be underestimated and should never be ignored.”  One glaring problem I see in that statement is that I do good things every day.  Just yesterday I picked up an old ladies walking stick and held the door open for some old guy (he didn’t say thank you, but that’s beside the point)  I didn’t do these things because of any religious beliefs, I did it because, most of the time, I am a good person.  It has nothing to do with religion.

If you share the view of Tony Blair that we should somehow give thanks to the great things he imagines religious people do every day, then you should really get a hold of yourself before your ego becomes too much to handle, moreover we should hold the criminals who hid behind faith, accountable for their actions. Start executing people it is only fair.  Statements such as the one Blair crapped out his mouth only go to show the aforementioned intolerance.  Faith should be a private thing and should have no place in world affairs.  I only wish they had worked that out sooner.

henryhunter Posted by on November 29, 2010. Filed under Headline News,Henry Hunter Politics - World News,International - Headline News,International News,Opinion Editorial,Religon,WorldNewsVine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

10 Responses to Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens Debate the Importance of Religion. Atheism Wins!

  1. aguynamedJOE

    November 29, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I think that one day, it will be decided that we can all still have religion, we just don’t need to take it to work with us. I don’t celebrate Christmas, or Thanksgiving. But you see how others just assume I do. how about you celebrate all you want. but at work maybe mention it. but don’t ask me what I am doing for Christmas, with the assumption I celebrate like you. And when I explain why don’t make me out to be the weird one. Maybe you are the weird one for thinking everyone has the same religious beliefs. It is ok to have a religion and teach it, and even preach it. but there is a time and place for everything. Understand that the work place and Government or TV, or Radio is not that place. To be honest it would make most of us less hypocritical. They wont be talking about Jesus one day, and the next how drunk they got on New years. its a win win. you can talk about drinking and we won’t think you are a total hypocrite. even though your still a loser.

    • henryhunter


      November 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks for the comment, I feel like I have missed something though. It reads a little like you are having a go at me for something I said to you. like one side of an argument.
      Seeing as that argument, to my knowledge, has never taken place, I will assume that the slightly insulting nature of the comment wasnt aimed at me, and revert to my gratitude for the comment, and the fact you read my article.

    • Scott W.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      @guynamedJOE — are you medicated by any chance? Who are you directing this comment to? I had to go back and read the article once again… where are you getting this xmas and thanksgiving thing out of this? When did thanksgiving become a religious holiday?

      IS that Thorazine or just some really good pot your are smoking?

  2. Rob W

    November 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    These guys are more agnostic than atheistic as Hitchens has often stated that he could never discount the existence of God, just its unlikelihood. He also quotes Einstein extensively on the subject and has basically said this is largely his own position ie. that if God exists, he is not a personal God. Hitchens argues principally against religion, it’s deleterious practices and major and minor fanaticisms, popular conceptions of God as divines master, intervener in all matters.

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  7. Dave

    November 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I would love to [censored – violence] and get away with it. I would love to not feel guilty about it either. I would love to steal from the elderly for personal gain and cheat on my with hookers paid for by the money I took from the elderly. Without God there is no consequence to dispicable behaviour unless you get caught or feel guilty about it. This ought to give hope to all Atheists. Just train your mind so you do not have a conscience and master the art deception and you can live the good life – without regret or consequesnce. Who cares what others think. There is no God so go right ahead. There is only you and you are more important than anything else. Any opposing argument against this logic is an argument FOR GOD. BTW, there can be no evolution without intelligence.

  8. Josh

    December 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    This is sort of a dumb colum. I am a fan of Hitchens but the author of this article makes a stupid point about how we attribute character to religion. If religious people do good things and they do it because they are not religious people but “good people” then the argument for against the negative moral effects of religion is frivolous. This simply means that there are good atheists, agnostics and religious folks, and then bad atheists, agnostics and religious folks. Anyone who pays attention to Hitchens arguments will know that he often argues about the effects that it has on people when they believe in religion, he does treat them as the enemy. In his belief, religion inhibits people from creating a consensus on humanistsic morals and ethics. Please, leave the debating to a professional sir and stop writing points that don’t make points.

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