Paul G. has written in to me with these comments. I thought they were a fair reflection, and the links may be interesting to readers.
did you hear the debate on ABC radio this morning between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair? [No, I didn’t, so thanks for this!] CH is making his exit from this earthly stage a very well discussed and analysed process.
The only place on the internet I have found so far for the debate is
where you seem to have to pay a few dollars for it. [Does any one have a “free” link?]
There are some post-debate comments by Christopher Hitchens at
I thought there were some interesting paths Christopher Hitchens went down. He criticised religious people who reject some Christian beliefs like angels, an afterlife etc. He said “you are halfway out the door already, you don’t need my help”. Frankly, I agree with him completely.
He also mused that you can’t really follow Jesus just by reading the reports of his life, you need some guidance by people here, who call themselves Christ’s Vicar on Earth. Again, hear, hear.
He has a hangup on being subservient to God, which he sees as eternal servility. Blair’s comment was that it is not servility, it is obligation.
Hitchens also calls it a spurious argument for religion when you say religious people do good works. He says this is avoiding the issue, and even very misguided people do good things. I think he is missing the point here. Even though non religious people can of course do good, the argument is that a religious faith helps people to do good.
Anyway, I thought it was an interesting debate, I don’t know if it will be repeated again on the ABC.
Thanks, Paul! I did find this comment by Hitchens in the link you gave us above telling:
Tony Blair…did exemplify, to an unusually high degree, the tendency of modern believers to eclecticism and to the public presentation of what often turns out to be a virtually private or personal definition of religion. (I find this doubly odd in the case of a man who went to a lot of trouble to convert to one of history’s more disciplined and rule-bound churches, at a time when its latest pope is striving to reinvigorate a highly traditionalist interpretation, but let that pass for now.)
Mmm. Good question.