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Catholics Lose Debate to Hitchens and Fry

Here find five links to youtube to follow a brilliant debate on the proposition "The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world." The Intelligence Squared debaters include Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry against the proposition, and Archbishop Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe attempting to defend it. Hitchens and Fry utterly devastate the Catholics, and I was frankly cracking up.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 8th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)

A superb debate! My only real complaint with it was that it was too short. It really is impossible to present such a complex issue and question with the needed background and perspectives (for or against) in 40 minutes.

I still thought what little real debate they had was fairly balanced. What this debate taught me is that what sways audiences in this world is the sexuality debate. The word "condom" is the key. I LOVE Stephen Fry- love that man to death. He was so well-spoken and humorous. I especially loved his point about who was obsessed with food.

I don't think the church got a truly fair chance to present the full extent and justification for its social teachings on Homosexuality (among others) but in the end, what difference would it have made? Its stance there is, in my opinion, ridiculous. And the justification for it is ridiculous.

Nov. 8th, 2009 08:16 am (UTC)
I thought the church was outgunned. You would think they could come up with some speakers that are a little quicker on their feet, and able to quickly develop more rational arguments and explanations.....but no, the church was a sitting duck with those two at the defense.

Edited at 2009-11-08 08:17 am (UTC)
Nov. 8th, 2009 08:23 am (UTC)

It really was outgunned. I think I could have done better than the Archbishop and that woman, just based on my own extensive understanding of Catholic doctrines. The fact of me being able to do better would have nothing to do with my agreement with them; goodness knows I don't agree with them on many things, but I do have an understanding of their perspectives. And I think I could have presented those understandings in a way that others could have appreciated.

People often mistake understanding for agreement. As a therapist, I can assure them that nothing could be farther from the truth. I work hard to understand my clients, but never in my effort does my understanding lead me to embrace their views as "correct" above all other views. If I did that, I couldn't help them to see other perspectives, which is almost always where healing transformations are found.

The Archbishop did make one good point at the end- he said that the debate was no longer directed at the original question, and he was right. I assume that Fry and the other gentleman were saying (without really directly and simply stating) that because the church has these particular views on condom use and homosexuality, etc, that it was not a force for good in the world. That's... a bit thin, but the real problem is that the debate really can't proceed until we can agree on what "good for the world" really means.

That's the real debate- what's good for the world? What can we all agree is good for the world? Those questions were never discussed.
Nov. 8th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
True. What is good for the world was certainly not defined.... And I am quite certain that Hitchens/Fry and the Catholic Church will most likely never reach agreement on that question.
Nov. 8th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
I'm not a member of the community where those links were posted, but I wanted to say it was almost embarrassing to watch. Hitchens I already knew of. Stephen Fry was new to me and, I'm sorry, he beat them mercilessly to a pulp. It was a wonderful thing to behold.
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