A couple links to toss out. One to Andrew Brown’s article describing a recent Intelligence Squared debate teaming Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens against MP Ann Widdecombe and Nigerian Archbishop Onaiyekan. I’m going to quote Peter Brietbart’s rundown of said debate, first:
the masterstroke, the coup de grace, came from Christopher Hitchens, whose breadth and depth of knowledge meant that the debate was no longer a mere discussion, but a devastating prosecution of the Catholic Church for crimes against humanity.
Within minutes of Hitchens’ opening, the full realisation of the evils of the Church became apparent to all but the most obstinate of believers. The institutionalised rape and torture of children; the teaching that condoms can cause AIDS; the historical atrocities; the endorsement of dictators; the justification of slavery; the subjugation of women; the suppression of enlightenment thinking; the torture and murder of heretic scientists and the bullying and hatred of homosexuals, were but a few of the issues covered. Hitchens suggested that the Archbishop should not have come here to debate, but to beg for forgiveness on behalf of his wicked organisation.
Awesome. Even more awesome than that is what happened because of all that.
According to the Telegraph, prior to everyone getting their say, the audience was given this sentence, “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world” and asked to vote on its truth factor:
678 agreed with this statement,
1102 were against it (Hitchens and Fry have a lot of fans)
and 346 couldn’t decide either way.
After the debate the audience was grilled again:
Don’t know: 34.
Whether minds are changed for good, or they were just overwhelmed by the moment, it was still a remarkable result.