Browsing Archives for December 2010

Hitchens/Blair Debate

December 1st, 2010

Just finished watching the Hitchens/ Blair Debate for the second time.  I may have to put together a Barbie theater to depict the finer points of this debate because it really was somewhat ridiculous.  Hitchens was in his usual fine form while Blair, the ever affable politician, continually re-adjusted his position to attempt to accommodate Hitchens and his beautifully crafted, crowd pleasing, quick witted arguments.  Can anyone beat Hitchens in a religious debate?

My favorite quote from the debate is this one from Hitchens…

“Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects in a cruel experiment whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well.  Over us, to supervise us, there is installed a celestial dictatorship… a kind of divine North Korea… greedy for uncritical praise from dawn to dusk and swift to punish the original sins with which it so tenderly gifted us in the very first place.

However!

Let no one say there is no cure!

Salvation is offered!

Redemption is promised!

At the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties.”

My favorite quote of Tony Blair’s was something along this line….

“Yes, religions has created these problems and yes religion is also trying to solve these problems.”

In a nutshell this debate had Blair declaring over and over again that religion helps people to do good things while Hitchens insisted that religion creates most of the problems that it also attempts to solve.  Hitchens’ most eloquent example of this is how  the catholic church decrees that women may not use birth control and thereby must be enslaved to the animal cycle of continuous pregnancy throughout the prime of their lives creating more children than they can support, feed, or care for in the poorest parts of the world.  If instead the church empowered women in the poverty stricken parts of the world to control their reproductive capabilities and gave them the skills to earn a living, plant a crop, manufacture a product, or get an education, poverty would be largely and swiftly eliminated.

At the very end of the debate a woman from the audience asked both Hitchens and Blair which of each other’s arguments they found the most convincing.

Blair said that the literal interpretation of sacred texts is truly what seems to lead to religious fanaticism, oppression and violence.  He seemed to think that in order for religion to regularly function as a instrument for good in the world, the bible, the Koran, and all other ancient holy writ really should be distilled to an essence of love your neighbor and everything else in those gilded pages be utterly ignored.

Hitchens was willing to admit that Blair’s insistence that religion is not the root of all evil and that if religion was wiped off the face of the earth tomorrow, we would still have plenty of problems with which to deal, was largely true.

Off to find some nice blue Ken doll suits on Ebay so that I can turn my barbie cowboys into world class debaters.

Fountain with Poinsettia

December 1st, 2010

Played with this one quite a bit.  Quite possibly overkill.  Dammit!