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Hitchens vs Blair debate - Essay Example

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Hitchens found it easy to make strong arguments concerning a wide range of bad things that humans have done in the name of religion, and he in fact did not find it difficult to explain how religion, which is considered to be good, has done more harm not only to individuals in the society, but also to the world as well. On stage, Hitchens raised very pertinent points many of which worked against Blair’s arguments. Among the most prominent statements that he made is that “religion forces nice people to do unkind things ... and to do stupid things." Hitchens made this statement in a bid to emphasize the fact that religion is among the most disastrous institutions in the world because it has often been the source of conflict. In addition to this statement, he also made a pass at circumcision, which he considers to be a violation of human rights, since it involves the mutilation of the human body. Hitchens sarcastically states, "Please pass me that sharp stone for its genitalia so that I might do the work of the Lord" (CSPANJUNKIEd0Torg) A major point of argument in the debate concerned the exclusivity of religion, on which Hitchens states that it had always struck him as strange that there should be a special church for English people. His argument implied that religion in itself was a divisive factor in the world, and that the world would probably function better without it. In response to Hitchens’ comparing religion to the North Korean regime where God is considered similar to the North Korean ruler, Blair stated that he did not consider the leader of North Korea to be a religious icon. Blair seems to have conceded some ground to Hitchens’ argument by stating that it was undoubtedly true that there were people who had throughout history committed horrendous acts in the name of religion. Blair goes on to quickly state that while this might be the case, it is also true that some religious people also do good things, providing the example of how Christians and progressive secularists worked hand in hand to ensure the abolition of slavery (CSPANJUNKIEd0Torg). Blair questions whether Hitchens is after a world that it without religions, going further to provide examples from the twentieth century who had no religion. He gives the example of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, who committed great atrocities against their people because of the fact that they did not have religion, hence lacked a conscience. Blair goes on to state that if religion is gotten rid of then “you're not going to get rid of fascism, and you're not going to get rid of wrong in the world." It is Blair’s belief that the lack of religion in the world would be disastrous because it would be a source of unspeakable evil that might lead to atrocities. Hitchens on the other hand, feels that religion is an oppressive force which should not be allowed to continue because to do so would be to destroy the freedoms which are the natural right of all human beings (CSPANJUNKIEd0Torg). Throughout the debate, one would state that Hitchens had the sympathy of most of the audience and this may have been as a result of his terminal condition. Blair, on the other hand, seems to have been less forceful with his argument, perhaps because of his sympathy for his rival’s condition. While this may have been ...Show more
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Summary

Name Instructor Course Date The debate between Hitchens and Blair was long anticipated and when it eventually took place in Toronto, it was in front of an audience that was full of great expectations. The expectations of this audience were not disappointed because these two men, known for their debating skills, gave some of their strongest points for or against religion…
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