Saturday, August 27, 2011

A comment on the Blair - Hitchens Debate on Religion

Christopher Hitchens vs Tony Blair Debate:
Is Religion A Force For Good In The World?

Blair and Hitchens are remarkably articulate, with the ability to utilize rhetoric very well in the moment before a huge audience. I still found the positions unsatisfactory.
  • Hitchens fundamentally seems to be arguing that he prefers not to believe in a deity because he does not want to accept the authority of the spokespersons for the organized religions. One might offer an argument about organized religions without denying the existence of a deity.
  • Blair seems to argue for religion because he believes a lot of good people have done more good in implementing their religious convictions, while admitting that other people had done ill in implementing their religious convictions and that those convictions are supported not only by religious leaders but by their texts, and that there are people who have done good motivated by beliefs which we all now believe to be false, and indeed by no religious beliefs at all.
I think both would agree that the problems of the Middle East would be reduced if Christians, Jews and Muslims involved would act differently. Blair feels that the route to such improved behavior would be a shift from extremist, pro-violence religious positions to ones within the same faiths that honored more the Golden Rule. Hitchens advocates a more secular, less religious positions. I suspect that each would give value to the other's recommendation. I suspect that each is guessing, and doesn't really know.

It is a joy simply to listen to two men so fast on their verbal feet!

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