Blair 'to do God' in debate with Hitchens
Wednesday 13 October 2010
Since one of them is one of most self-publicised atheists in the Western world and the other is arguably the most famous living convert to the Roman Catholic Church, there may not be much of a meeting of minds. Yet Tony Blair has agreed to share a platform with the British-born journalist, Christopher Hitchens, to argue over whether religion is a good thing generally, or not.
Tickets to this unique event will be on sale tomorrow, but for anyone in Britain wanting to go, the bad news is that first they must book a seat on a plane or a liner. Mr Blair very rarely makes a public appearance in the land where he was prime minister. When he does, he usually attracts the sort of hostile demonstration that forced him to cancel last month's launch party for his new book, A Journey.
He and Mr Hitchens will go head-to- head in Toronto, where Mr Blair has fewer enemies, and the Iraq war is less of an issue. Iraq is also one of comparatively few issues on which he and Mr Hitchens agree. Mr Hitchens has consistently praised Mr Blair's willingness to send British troops to combat dictators, in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq.
On the question of religion, however, they are so far apart that the organisers revised the original idea of having them debate whether God exists. Instead, Mr Blair will speak in favour of the motion: "Be it resolved, religion is a force of good for the world."
When he was in office, Mr Blair was advised by Alastair Campbell that it was a bad idea for a practising politician to "do God". It is assumed that he decided years before leaving Downing Street that Rome was his true spiritual home, but he waited until he was out of Downing Street before switching.
Mr Hitchens, by contrast, is the author of a 2007 book much deplored by religious believers, called God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything – a polemic against religion generally, and Christianity in particular.
Religious believers extracted a very Christian revenge on Hitchens when the news broke that he was being treated for cancer. They launched an "Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day" on the net.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...