Read the transcript for this, provided by Monica's tweet, just now, and have to say, just from reading the text, Hitchens pretty much took it.

Whenever debating a religious moderate, the moderate has to frame the debate in such a way so as to not seem absurd, that he or she retreats from what has been held to be dogma for millenia.

Have yet to finish the Q and A but in reading the original points and rebuttals, Tony Blair pissed me off a little bit. He brought up the Hitler not being religious point YET AGAIN, and you'd think that someone who was a prime minister of a country would be aware of such a blatant farcical argument and historical revision.

The other thing he said that perked my attention was this:

" There are plenty of examples of prejudice against women,
against gay people, against others that come from outside the world of

Name one. Name one secular institution that promotes inequality amongst women, homophobia, or general inequality amongst people that exists in the world today. If you can do it, you get a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies (I make really good ones). I wish Hitchens had pounced on such an obviously out of the butt comment made by Tony Blair.

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RE quote from Tony Blair in rebuttal to Christopher Hitchens in last night’s debate.

I have met many fanatics and bigots over the years in several different places that have been prejudiced against various minorities. When questioned more closely there nearly always is a misinterpretation of some religious tenet to validate their bias.

They are narrow-minded because their religion does not require them to think freely about things. In the words of Hitchens last night they get their teachings from “a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea”. (I really wanted to use that phrase). Atheists have a broader outlook on the world and because they ask questions they become more knowledgeable and therefore more tolerant of others. Prejudice comes from ignorance – i.e. lack of education or life experience.

I do not know nor have I met an Atheist in the last 25 years who had the time, energy or motivation to hold a prejudice against a particular group. (Evangelical nut jobs and cults are fair game). Other peoples color or sexual preferences are things I don’t think or even care about. So when I hear someone talking about “those types of people” I automatically assume they are religious and generally have other issues about whatever their prejudice is.

I know the above is a bit of a sweeping statement but does freedom from religion also imply freedom from prejudices? Do you know any Atheists that hold racist or homophobic views?

I too am bored of hearing Hitler was not religious. However it was fun reading. The divine North Korea quote is the best in a long time. I will get extreme mileage out of using it. Hitchens would have retorted but there were serious time constraints.
Agreed re: hitler thing. I just had higher expectations from a former head of state and part of the labour party movement not to buy into that stupid revisionist history.

Hitch has been using the celestial North Korea phrase for a while.

The whole point that I am making about the name one secular institution was that there are none, and it is the overall point of contention in the topic "is religion a force for good in the world?" I challenge anyone to name a secular institution that promotes the bigotry on even half the scale of any religious institution. There are NONE. I just wish Hitch had slammed that specific point home.


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