“This is a depiction of people I intellectually admire. I say admire because it is rather impossible for me to take someone as a hero, looking past their human flaws. But it is their flaws that makes them human, which makes their intelligence all that more admirable.
From left: John Cleese, Penn Jillette, Bill Nye, Stephen Hawking, (above) Frederick Nietzsche, (below) George Carlin, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Adam Savage, Michio Kaku.”
Intelligence Squared Debate - The Catholic Church Is A Force For Good In The World
Chair Zeinab Badawi introduces the motion ‘The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.
Arguing in favour of the motion are Archbishop John Onaiyekan and the Rt Hon. Ann Widdecombe MP.
Archbishop Onaiyekan points not only to the spiritual assistance that his Church provides, but also to the tangible aid that is given internationally through Catholic projects. He admits that Catholics are not infallible, but are by necessity sinners trying to improve themselves through their faith.
Ann Widdecombe suggests that in trawling all the way back to the Crusades to find something to blame the Catholic Church for, Christopher Hitchens merely demonstrates how flimsy his argument really is, and insists that the actions of the Catholic Church in the past be judged with a degree of historical relativism.
Arguing against the motion are Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry.
Christopher Hitchens asserts that any argument trying to identify the merits of the Catholic Church must begin with a long list of sincere apologies for its past crimes, including the Crusades, the Spanish inquisition, the persecution of the Jews, and the forced conversion of peoples to Catholicism, especially in South America.
Stephen Fry concedes that his opposition to the motion is a deeply personal and emotional one. With two words he refutes Anne Widdecombe’s suggestion that the Catholic Church does not have the powers of a nation state: “The Vatican”. He concludes by questioning whether Jesus, as a humble Jewish carpenter, would have approved of all the pomp and excess of the Catholic Church, and whether he would even have been accepted by such an arrogant organisation.
Christopher Hitchens dying is a consequence of unbelief, but when millions of Christians die, God works in mysterious ways?
What about the fact that the number of atheists is stricken by sickness and death not higher than the christian number? For instance, why did John Paul II suffer from Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and laryngitis and have to die such a painful death?