Back to Navigation

Religion | Munk Debates

EPISODE #10

Religion

Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world

Guests
Tony Blair
Christopher Hitchens

About this episode

In a world of globalization and rapid social change, does religion provide the common values and ethical foundations that diverse societies need to thrive in the 21st century? Or, do deeply held religious beliefs promote intolerance, exacerbate ethnic divisions, and impede social progress in developing and developed nations alike?

Share:

Guests

Tony Blair

"When you look at the 20th century and you see the great scars of political ideology, fascism, the communism of Stalin. At their heart was the eradication of religion."

Tony Blair

"When you look at the 20th century and you see the great scars of political ideology, fascism, the communism of Stalin. At their heart was the eradication of religion."

Tony Blair served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007, the only Labour leader in the party’s 100 year history to win three consecutive elections. After his resignation, he was appointed Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, an office which he held until 2015. 

 In 2008, he formed the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, a nonprofit group that "promotes respect and understanding about the world’s religions through education and multi-faith action."

Since leaving office Tony Blair has spent most of his time working on three areas: supporting governments to deliver effectively for their people, working for peace in the Middle East, and countering extremism. He currently runs the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change where he focuses on addressing the difficult challenges in the world today, including how the centre ground of politics renews itself with practical policy solutions.

Christopher Hitchens

"Religion forces nice people to do unkind things, and it also makes intelligent people say stupid things."

Christopher Hitchens

"Religion forces nice people to do unkind things, and it also makes intelligent people say stupid things."

Christopher Hitchens was a British-American author, journalist and literary critic. He was a columnist at Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry, and a variety of other media outlets. Hitchens was also a political activist, whose best-selling books, flamboyance and erudition made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits.

An outspoken atheist and antitheist, Hitchens described himself as a believer in the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism and reason. His 2007 best-selling book God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything suggests that organized religion is "violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children."

Show Notes

Christopher Hitchens wrote about this debate in Vanity Fair. Read that article here.
 
This is an in-depth look at Christopher Hitchens’ feelings about religion and faith.
 
Tony Blair explaining why he converted to Catholicism is 2007
 
You can read more about the Tony Blair Faith Foundation here.
 

Comments