Hitchens vs. Blair – The Munk Debates
I’ve had in my to-read list Hitchens vs. Blair – The Munk Debates for a while and only recently I’ve borrowed it from the library. The Munk debates take place in Toronto and were established in 2008 by the late Peter Munk and his wife Melanie Munk as a charitable initiative. The subjects range from religion as this one to political correctness and climate change.
The Debates are open to the general public, starting at 7pm with a vote by the audience on the resolution being debated. At around 9pm, after the debate, is a final vote and the winning side is announced. Anybody can see the debates online, for free. This is what I plan to do in the next few weeks, to watch some debates.
The debate was: Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world.
Before the debate the stats were like this: 25% Pro, 55% Cons, 20% Undecided. After the debate: 32% Pro, 68% Cons. Blair was pro, while Hitchens was con.
I can’t say I’m surprised by the result after reading the transcript. Blair’s arguments were circular and not very well presented. Basically he was saying again and again that everybody (religious and atheist) can want to do good things, but it takes faith for them to act. That’s not only a puzzling argument is also obviously untrue.
Hitchens gave some pretty good arguments, like empowering of women or lack of when it comes to religion. He mentioned birth control, a thorny issue with Catholics at least.
Hitchens vs. Blair (The Munk Debates)
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My rating: 4/5 Stars.
Would I recommend it: Yes and No. I think the debate was interesting, but it can be better to watch the debate online, instead of reading a transcript.
Published by: Black Swan
Year it was published: 2011
Genre(s): Non-fiction. Philosophical debate
Christopher Hitchens was born in 1949, in Portsmouth, England. He read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford. Hitchens got married twice. He died in 2011 of pneumonia brought on by esophageal cancer.
One of the concepts he is known for is Hitchens’s razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
Other books by him I reviewed: God is not great and the masterpiece The Missionary Position. Mother Theresa in theory and in practice.
Tony Blair became the leader of the Labour Party in 1994. He served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. He converted to Catholicism after leaving Downing Street. In 2008 he launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which promotes respect and understanding between the major religions and makes the case for faith as a force for good in the modern world.
Website & Social Media Links: munkdebates