Religion is a Force for Good in the World

Be it resolved that religion is a force for good in the world. Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens debate.

Part 2 of 9 (Part 1 is an introduction you won’t be sorry you missed)-

If the YouTube links don’t work or you can’t access YouTube, here’s a full transcript of the debate:

Any thoughts?

I haven’t watched the video, but I don’t need to to say this:

What a stupid idea. That one single debate between two pretentious ass holes makes an issue “resolved”. Wtf. You’re not a stupid guy, fuse, I’ve seen your posts, and you have a pretty solid grasp of how logic works, but fuck this sure as hell is stupid.

The attempt to determine whether religion is a force of good in the world is undercut by the fact that the standard of “good” is provided by religion itself. It’s as Harry Neumann says:

[size=95]The death of god means the destruction of mankind, of any community, whether within one’s own self or country or mankind or the universe. It isolates the nihilist in the nothingness revealed by radical atheism. Horror of this isolation usually prevents more than half-hearted atheism, driving men to revere mere jackasses, shadows of the now dead god. The politically loudest form of contemporary jackass worship is the democratic-socialistic effort to embrace the christian morality while destroying the last vestiges of the traditional Christian faith responsible for that morality.
Contemporary democratic “liberation” movements [to which Mr. Hitchens evidently belongs] generally despise traditional Christian orthodoxy while asserting the supreme goodness of its compassion for suffering, impoverished humanity. They insist that men have a right to life, freedom and equality. Had they been tough enough to experience uncompromising atheism, they would see no compelling reason for these rights or for any morality.
[Neumann, Liberalism, page 155.][/size]
Hitchens depends on the same god as Blair, or rather on the same idea-of-the-good, to which that god is supposedly subject. Hitchens’ view is itself a religious view, namely in the sense of “religion” (re-ligion) as a Binding-back to that idea of the good. Both Hitchens and Blair depend on faith in revelation of the truth of that idea. True atheism is not the rejection of all gods, but the rejection of the ‘divinity’ of all gods, of the ‘goodness’ of all gods, and not only of all gods but of anything. It is the rejection of the truth of any and all ideas of ‘divinity’, of ‘goodness’. This is why Nietzsche, for example, was in the final analysis not an atheist; he only rejected some—most—ideas of the good, but be-lieved in his own idea of the good. Was it horror of nihilist isolation that drove him to that idea? I think he would agree with that claim in its positive form, where fear is merely the negative aspect of the will to power. Fear is the feeling of the (relative) absence of power, which drives one away from that absence.


“Be it resolved…” is a traditional format for stating a proposition which one party will deny and the other will affirm in a debate. It doesn’t imply that anything will necessarily be resolved. And pretentiousness does not preclude value. Give it a watch. Blair seemed to restate himself ad nauseum and is rather unenlightening in this debate, but I was thoroughly interested in a lot of what Hitchens pointed out, especially toward the end.

any sources apart from yourself to verify this? if you can provide one, I will immediately apologize for my misunderstanding.

i didn’t feel like watching the video, so i tried reading the debate…but god the text you linked is so bad. whoever - or whatever (might be a speech recognition program) - made that did a horrible job. there are loads of sentences that are completely incoherent, and that i’m certain the debaters didn’t say.


And, in turn, religion is provided a standard of good. Our standard of good did not originate with religion.

And at one point in time, there was presumably nothing resembling religion to give right and wrong, yet human beings were still moral creatures. Morality is not an original creation of religion.

Also there is Sartre’s argument, that morality and religion happen chronologically the opposite of the way Sauw suggested. He proposed this:

That a person cannot accept a religion unless it first is compatible with their sense of morality. The morality, according to Sartre, comes first, and the religion is only accepted on the condition that it doesn’t have a significantly different morality.

Not to be an ass, lol, but I google searched this phrase and have found nothing to support that it means that whatever follows the phrase has yet to be resolved. Every instance I encountered of it was followed by something that was factual, and not under contention.

nevermind, you are correct, “be it resolved” can be used in the way you used it. … 24472.html

I have seen the format used many times. You can find examples of the format upon a simple Google search and make your own inferences as to its meaning. If you want to assume it means something absurd you may do so.

lol look at my post above…

anyway, i wasn’t assuming anything absurd, what i was assuming was quite reasonable: that whatever follows the phrase has already been resolved, instead of having yet to be resolved.

A force that uses fabrications and suppresses Truth, cannot be a force for good. The fact that it teaches people to think irrationally is enough to condemn it/them

Right, but after I described its approximate intended meaning you wanted some kind of proof. It would have been absurd to ignore my description and stick to your original assumption. Ya, I didn’t see your edit when that post was made.

Because the consequences of such a force can never be good? (Why not?)

Also, does religion essentially fabricate and suppress the truth, in your view?

the force of religion has more mass based on fear,and little acceleration in of truth.religion is just a refuge camp for seekers of truth who have lost hope in discovering the truth.

im sorry guys i ommitted a word.i wanted to say religion has more mass based in fear and has little acceleration in favour of truth and progress. Religion developed men but its destroying masses.

I believe that religion can lead to good and bad.

I was really excited to see this debate, having known a lot about booth gentlemen. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but knew from the start that Hitchens would win, I’ve never seen him lose as much as a single argument! Another debate wheich is even better is one from a couple of years ago with the same title, with Anne Widdicombe (ergh), Hitchens and Stephen Fry. I’ll provide a link if anybody is interested.

Anyway, I think Hitchens won because he hammered the home this point:

Although Hitchens brought up a lot of the same old stuff, it is bloody convincing when he exhibits his disgust at the nature of things like circumcision, condemnation for condoms and stoning of individuals in Islamic societies. This sort of argument really appeals to the humanist in ALL of us.

That is not to mention the clever unwrapping of the psychology behind hellfire and eternal pain as a way of compelling individuals to act on behalf of the bible - not even ‘do good’ but just to abide by the bible.

There’s so many other arguments but these are the best in myy eyes.

I don’t like this winner/loser shit. Most of reality is not that way, but we like to make it black or white.

That’s sure to be problem for bad people.