I’ve often thought of apologists for any religion as a bunch of people who study everything in an echo chamber. They only hear what’s been said before. They are nothing but bipedal voice recorders made of meat. They tend not to venture away from a very small list of books that grows only when someone feels the need to publish the same old shit in fresh, new language. Their virgin comfort zone goes unbreached like a schoolgirl turned nun and that’s the real reason they can’t seem to win a debate. It’s difficult to counter arguments that come from ideas never covered in the books on the Love-God-or-Burn list of approved texts. These apologists almost always get slaughtered in a debate. They simply do not have the ammo.
Of course… there’s slaughtered… and then there’s Hitch-slapped. Hitch-slapped is a less gory way of saying “blood bath” but that’s what it was, every time Hitch went up against a religious apologist.
You can only imagine what happened when Stephen Fry was added to the mix.
This is, in my opinion, the greatest debate to ever have been held on the topic of religion and whether or not it is actually a good thing. This wasn’t just a slaughter or a blood-bath or another Hitch-slap. This was epic. This debate alone may have shaved a century off the life of the Catholic Church.
The debate is preceded with a poll of the audience and what their opinions are on the debate topic: Is the Catholic Church a force for good?
What ensues is ultimately a bunch of priests and nuns and church-goers bringing butter knives to a gunfight. Hitch dismembers their arguments, piece by piece, methodically, clearly and with ease. Think Hannibal sensually sauteeing a frontal lobe… only with more style, class, wit and conviction.
At the end of the debate, polls were taken again. Three quarters of the 2000-head audience had changed their minds, leaving only 200 and some people who still believed the Catholic Church was a force for good in the world.
While Hitchens leaves the church wobbling, bloodied, propped up against the ropes with their eyes swollen shut, Stephen Fry delivers the KO:
In response to complaints he focused on the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandals and attitudes towards condoms, rather than what good it’s done, Stephen Fry responded : It’s a bit like a burglar in court saying “oh, you would bring up that burglary and that manslaughter, but you never mention the fact that I give my father A birthday present.”
If you can handle watching the slaughter, here’s the full two-hour debate. You won’t regret this time spent: